"Big team, little me” is a sports slogan that means the team comes before the individual players. Erik Russell (1926-2006), the football defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, came up with the T-shirt slogan for what would become a 1980 national championship-winning team. “TEAM” was printed in large lettering and “me” in small lettering.
“Big team, little me” is still most popular throughout the state of Georgia, but the slogan has also less frequently been used by other sports teams.
Wikipedia: Erik Russell
Erskine “Erk” Russell (July 23, 1926 – September 8, 2006) was an American football, basketball, and baseball player and coach in the United States. He was also the defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia Bulldogs for seventeen years (1964–1981) and head football coach (seasons 1981–1989) of the Georgia Southern Eagles.
He also came up with all sorts of folksy sayings that somehow seemed to work on the younger generation. Russell was the one who coined the phrase “Junkyard Dawgs” for Georgia’s undersized defense. He came up with T-shirts that had “TEAM” printed in large letters and “me” in small letters.
Wikipedia: Vince Dooley
Vincent Joseph Dooley (born September 4, 1932) was the head football coach (seasons 1964 through 1988) and athletic director (1979 to 2004) at the University of Georgia. During his 25 year coaching career at UGA, Dooley compiled a 201–77–10 record. His teams won six Southeastern Conference titles and the 1980 national championship. After the 1980 season, Dooley was recognized as college football’s “Coach of the Year” by several organizations, including the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, whose annual award has since been renamed as the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award. Dooley’s teams were known for their hard nosed defense and conservative yet fundamentally sound offenses. From 1964 to 1980, Dooley was notably assisted by his defensive coordinator, Erskine “Erk” Russell.
28 December 1985, Morning Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), “Ground game important to Hurricanes, too” by Fred Lankard, pg. 7C, col. 3:
“Everyone is happy. We have a philosophy of ‘big team, little me” and sometimes you have to wait your turn.”
(Alonzo Highsmith on the University of Miami football team, coached by Jimmy Johnson—ed.)
13 December 1988, St. Albans (VT) Messenger, “Habs lead B’s by 12 points,” pg. 10, col. 5:
“We’re going with the big-team, little-me attitude.”
(Larry Robinson of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team—ed.)
4 October 1989, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, “Dooley’s Dawgs at the University of Georgia” by Vince Dooley, pg. 1, col. 6:
Even though Herschel (Walker—ed.) was the star, he did not look on himself as a star. He proudly wore the big TEAM, little ME tee-shirt and sincerely believed that slogan was important to our success.
23 April 1991, Rockford (IL) Register Star, “Hitting in the No. 6 spot doesn’t bother Thomas” by Matt Trowbridge, pg. 3D, col. 2:
CHICAGO—Frank Thomas, who hit cleanup in the White Sox’ first nine games, hit sixth yesterday for the second game in a row.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Thomas said. I’ll bat wherever the team needs me to win. There is no big me and little team. It’s big team and little me.”
19 August 1994, Marietta (GA) Daily Journal, pg. D1, col. 2:
“BIG TEAM, LITTLE ME”
Clements in team spirit for ‘94 Georgia Tech campaign
By Ben Thomas
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald
Vince Dooley’s Diary
Team effort helped produce special moment in history
Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2000
The start of the road to the National Football Championship in 1980 could well have been paved by a discipline crisis that took place after spring practice in 1980
We implemented an award that year called ‘’The big TEAM, Little me’’ award, and we wore T-shirts designed by Coach Erk Russell with that slogan printed on them. In large 10-12 inch letter, we had the word ‘’TEAM,’’ and in small one inch letters was the word ‘’me’’ which symbolized the relative importance of each of us as individuals to the team effort. We preached that all year, and while we had several players win the award, Bob Kelly was the first winner of the ‘’The Big TEAM, Little me’’ award.
The Games Do Count:
America’s Best and Brightest on the Power of Sports
By Brian Kilmeade
New York, NY: HarperCOllins Publishers Inc.
Pg. 79 (J. C. Watts):
“TEAM SPORTS TEACH YOU THE CONCEPT OF ‘BIG TEAM, LITTLE ME.’”
Athens (GA) Banner-Herald
Smith: Dooley’s words still hold true
Posted: Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Coaches say things, outsiders and cynics smirk and laugh. Players remember.
Each year with every team, football teachers are serving up slogans, authoring homilies and issuing dictums that are designed to mentally prepare players for a game or a season. “Big TEAM, little ME,” was an Erk Russell creation that the Bulldogs identified with in 1980. Mark Richt taught his players to “Finish the Drill” in 2002, breaking a championship drought at Georgia.
Albert Haynesworth rips into ‘haters’
Updated: December 7, 2010, 11:24 AM ET
He called Haynesworth a “great person” who “tries for the most part to fit in,” but Daniels also cited a slogan from college—“Big team, little me”—and said that’s the part Haynesworth doesn’t get.
Word Mark BIG TEAM LITTLE ME
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