MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – He came to Montgomery to get some good experience and likely move on in a few years. Funny how things work out.
“My wife and I were newlyweds,” said former WSFA Sports Director Jeff Shearer. “I told her we’d be there a few years and go somewhere else. We stayed 25 years.”
With the main sports anchor, Phil Snow, spending a lot of time covering Auburn football, the new guy, Jeff Shearer, had Friday night football to himself.
“In 1992, we officially launched Friday Night Football Fever.”
He said it started off small. But each year, the Fever Team got bigger, and the show got better.
“We knew we had launched something good, when we got to the stadium, people would recognize our yellow shirts and yell, ‘I’ve got the Feva.’”
Soon the “Feva” spread from the fans to the players.
“We rolled out to Carver one day, and we saw Shaun Dion Hamilton. He’s an NFL player now and had a great career in the Southeastern Conference. He was there singing the Fever song, so we knew we really hit on something. He’s singing, ‘I got that Feva baby, that football Feva’.”
What you, the viewer, never got to see is what went on behind the scenes.
“The perfect word was chaos. I don’t even know if it was controlled chaos, but that was the great part about it. We were racing against the clock. We’ve all had those jobs where you look at the clock and wonder when it will be 5 p.m., so I can go home. This was just the opposite. How’s it already 9:15?”
Sometimes the whole Shearer family chipped in.
“My daughters would answer the Fever hotline. I’d say hey, call 1-800-264-9732. I’ve got straight A second grader ready to take your call.”
Jeff left us about 7 years ago and now works as the senior communications director for Auburn Athletics. He’s still doing sports, writing sports stories, and doing what he loves. So we had to ask if he’s the head coach, and what’s his pre-game speech to Rosie and Jahmal as they get ready for their first season of the Fever.
“Serve the viewers. It’s all about the kids who are playing. They will appreciate it if you show up.”
Jeff showed up 24 straight years after he started the Fever, people still see him around town and say, “I’ve got the Feva.”
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