An Interview With the Parents of Tebow Sanford Crumley

You remember how there was this story last week about Auburn fans in Chattanooga, Tennessee naming their son Tebow after that Heisman-winning University of Florida quarterback?

Well, you may know it from big blogs, but I know it as a tip I shot to Deadspin last Thursday.

And while the story was blowing up on Friday, I was in the process of sending emails back and forth to Tebow’s parents, Alli and Damon Crumley, hoping they would be awake and willing to do some sort of interview.

They generously consented to an email interview. Jump with me for that.

I should note that it’s dad Damon who typed the answers to my questions, but his is the important perspective on the name. Alli explained in an email: “Since he picked the name, he has been shouldering the responsibility for explaining it. I just stand by and remind people the deal is, Damon names the boys and I name the girls. And no, I don’t have veto power.”

Let’s just hope that if there’s another child in the future, it’s a girl, so Alli can name her after Kirsty Coventry or something.

Tebow, as captured by his brother.

Tebow, as captured by his brother.


Q. Why Tebow? 

A. We felt “Tebow” was a unique, yet pleasant, first name. Obviously, we took a last name and made it into a first name, but that’s pretty common. Also, we liked that most folks would instantly know who we named him after. Think about how many “Timothy’s” there are in the world. There’s got to be at least 50. Maybe more.

Q. What, specifically, drew you to Tebow as a role model and namesake?

A. While I was running cross-country in college, the athlete I most admired was Eric Liddell (the Scotsman in “Chariots of Fire”). I’ve always been inspired by his story and how he considered his athletic ability an expression of his Christian faith; a faith which my wife and I also share. Tim Tebow seems to approach sports in a similar way. In fact, I think it’s fair to call Tim Tebow a modern version of Eric Liddell.

Q. Why not Wuerffel or Danny?

A. Those would make excellent names for Tim Tebow’s future sons, since (as I understand it) Wuerffel is one of Tim’s heroes. But I wanted something a little more timely.

Q. You point out (read the update) that the only SEC team Tim Tebow will not have beaten, barring an SEC Championship matchup this year, is Auburn. Have you considered the repercussions of your Tebow choosing to go to Alabama, as his namesake almost did?

A. I will have failed as a father if that happens.

Q. What if Tim Tebow had gone to Alabama? Would he still be a suitable role model?

A. I’ve tried to consider what life would be like in that horrible, horrible scenario. Fortunately, I’ll never have to answer that question.

Q. What initial reactions did family and friends have to the name?

A. They were a little surprised. Some of them have asked if they could just call him “Bo.” And while, as an Auburn fan, that’s tempting, I’d prefer him to be known as “Tebow.”


Eight pounds, eleven ounces of the cutest "concrete cyanide" known to man.

Q. Did you decide before or after Tebow was born?

A. I had one other name picked out, ready to use. I told myself that I’d know which name to go with once he arrived. When he was born, he was a whopper (8 lbs, 11oz)! At that moment, I knew his name would be “Tebow.”

Q. Tebow’s middle name is Sanford, which, besides being a family name, is the name of Georgia’s stadium. How did a couple of SEC West fans get so much East-related baggage?

A. “Sanford” is my father-in-law’s middle name. He’s an Air Force Chaplin, a great guy, and a fine role model in his own right. The coincidental “Between the Hedges” connection just adds to the quirkiness of the whole story.

Q. Did you have any idea the media would take an interest in your son? And to what extent have they?

A. Naively, we expected only our family and friends would care. But we now know that in the age of Google Alerts, naming your son after a Heisman-winning touchstone of college football controversy will draw some attention. Mostly, it’s been mentioned on sports blogs and forums, with fans adding some “colorful” critiques of my intelligence quotient (or lack thereof) in the various comments sections.

Q. How do you plan to explain Tebow’s name to him?

A. I’ll tell him that he’s named after a great quarterback who was an even greater witness for the Lord. And that we picked Tim Tebow as a role model of how he (our Tebow) should recognize the source of his achievements and bear witness of it.

Q. Tebow’s got an older brother, Buckminster Fuller. Does he go by a nickname?

A. We call our first son “Fuller.” A few of our friends call him “Buckminster” or “Bucky”, but he seems to really like “Fuller” (as much as a 4-year-old can, anyway).

Q. Do you foresee any nicknames for Tebow?

A. I don’t think so. A small part of me hopes we’re on the leading edge of a growing new trend (although that would negate the uniqueness of the name, so maybe that’s not what I really want after all). As I mentioned, some relatives have asked about “Bo” (we are, after all, Auburn fans), and I suppose “Tee” or “Sanford” could work. But after the novelty wears off, I suspect most everyone will be fine calling him “Tebow.”

Q. Do you think there will be any playground teasing of Tebow for his name?

A. I fully expect there will be. But then, who wasn’t teased as a child? There’s an SNL skit called “Baby Names” (1992, Host: Nicolas Cage) that I’ve recalled during each of my wife’s pregnancies. It does a great job of poking fun at parents who worry too much about name-teasing and also at those who should worry more. I haven’t found a clip of it online, but the transcript’s out there – you should read it; it’s hilarious.

Q. Is there anything specific you hope Tebow will pick up from his namesake?

A. Obviously, I’d love it if he had at least a fraction of Tim Tebow’s athletic ability. But more realistically, I hope he grows up completely unafraid to share his relationship with Jesus. Heck, I wish I were more that way myself.

Q. Will you encourage Tebow to play football for the novelty factor?

A. Yes I will, but not for novelty. College football is the greatest sport ever conceived by man. Ever. I wouldn’t be a good dad if I didn’t give them an opportunity to experience it. Should they show some ability and/ or interest, who knows what the future holds? As their dad, I can’t wait to find out.

Q. What happens if your Tebow meets Tim Tebow? Does the SEC explode?

A. I’m a fan of superheroes and science fiction. In those kinds of stories, when an event like you describe occurs, it usually results in some new utopian future being created. In my mind, that future has an NCAA with no 4-year eligibility restrictions, and my boys lead Auburn to a decades-long string of victories over Alabama. Also, college presidents are imprisoned for even mentioning the letters “BCS.” War Eagle!

Thanks, again, to Alli and Damon Crumley for their willingness to share. You can follow their family at the Crumley Family Blog, and you can see a glimpse into their life in this Today Show segment.


Filed under College Football, Interviews

7 responses to “An Interview With the Parents of Tebow Sanford Crumley

  1. David

    great story – thanks for getting and sharing this.

  2. S-G

    Tebow’s auntie loves him and his name. If you know Damon this name makes perfect sense.

  3. K

    The SNL script was great; and I think Tebow is a cute name!

  4. Pingback: Crumley Family Blog » Media attention

  5. Sounds like a fantastic family!

  6. Pingback: Chattanooga Couple Names Son Tebow Sanford | Nooga Sports Talk

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