On this very day 18 years ago, November 14, 2002, Mickey Harte walked into Eddie Mallon's newsagents in Ballygawley to pick up the local paper, and the Ulster Herald screamed back at him; 'Mickey Harte - new Tyrone manager.'
And today, Harte walks away from not just that job but 30 years continuous involvement with Tyrone teams since he became minor manager in 1991. He leaves as one of the most decorated managers in the game and in the conversation for greatest of all time.
It's Friday morning outside his house in Glencull. And it's remarkable. Amazing. Mickey Harte, a man who has been on a war footing for the benefit of Tyrone football for 30 years looks relaxed and serene. There is none of the residual nervous energy that can infect people around a football match. There's only a mild regret that his final year was taken away from him by Coronavirus.
"You know you are going to have challenges, but in the best months of the year you aren't able to build or improve the team the way we would have liked to have done," he explains.
"This was a very condensed, fast-forwarded, squeezed sort of a season, so I did feel since that year was lost and it was my final year…"
Not many would have known that Harte had intended 2020 as his final spin on the carousel. As a Manchester United fan, he had already seen what it did to their fortunes when Alex Ferguson had set a retirement date and certain players took advantage.
"You can learn from that situation. I was never going to be shouting about last year or anything else, but ultimately it was going to be my last year and therefore I made the request (for another year) - I didn't get to fulfil my last year properly," he said.
The response from the county management committee when they met last Tuesday was lukewarm. A bye-law passed at convention over the length of management terms was cited. Clubs would have to vote on the rule. In the end, Harte has made it easy for them.
And he made life a riot for all those involved in following the fortunes of the county team for many years.
At the height of the Celtic Tiger, Tyrone cars bombed southward through Aughnacloy, over the Moy Bridge and onwards to Croke Park where they took on every team without fear and provided the GAA's bonanza years with a splash of white and red.
Decades before that, Harte would head off with any combination of his six brothers and watch all the big games in Croke Park throughout the '70s. As soon as the game was over, it was off to his sister Mary and her husband Lee Mallaghan's - later proprietors of Carton House - home in Castleknock. There, a meal would be prepared as they sat down and watched the whole game on VHS tape.
"The one thing about that, was there was something inside me that said… I am watching Cork and I am watching Meath, Dublin, Kerry, maybe Down in their time as well. And I am watching these teams and we are in awe of these players.
"And somehow, you were always thinking, 'why is this not Tyrone?' Something inside me asking that, insistently. And maybe it wasn't something that I paid a lot of attention to but we were loving watching these games. Admiring the quality of these players. And we are not even thinking of it could be Tyrone or should be Tyrone. It's just not in our psyche."
And then, he delivered just that to his people.
After the champagne, came 12 seasons without a Sam Maguire. The criticism grew loud. Harte remained undeterred.
"Is success only winning trophies?" he asks.
"Well then I wouldn't be in sport. Because for me it's not only about that. There is a desire to win trophies, but the secret to me of sport is to bring players as near as possible to the best of which they are capable. And to me, that's success.
"Yes, I would dearly have loved to win more All-Irelands and so would the people of Tyrone and I would be loving to be part of the process that would give them that. But I do think it is important to take a step back and ask if the players at any given time were giving the best of themselves? And I can honestly say they always did and always are."
He puts it in motion, how he felt about those giddy, early days when Sam Maguire was being brought back over the border and they could be among their own.
"I just enjoyed the fact that this gave so much joy to so many. That to me was better than me having anything to do with it.
"What a way to make people feel good! Us doing something we like doing. Everyone in Tyrone now feels, 'we are All-Ireland winners.' And I think that is a good thing."
"The children in Tyrone have had the chance to put their hands on the cup and say 'we have this, this year.'
"All those people, from five to 95 who took so much joy out of this. People used to say to me at the time, 'I will die happy now having seen this.' And I used to say, 'Why do you want to die happy? Why not live happy?'
"Live happy because you have seen this day."
In Harte's signing off, he wants to make sure to put on record those that have been on the journey, but their time was cut short.
"From the start, Arthur Mallon is really forgotten in all this. He was in our minor panel in 1993 and got injured the week before we played the semi-final.
"He would have been in our squad for that match but because he was injured, he went out and, unfortunately. was killed in a car crash.
"Right through Paul McGirr, Kevin Hughes' brother and sister, Cormac (McAnallen) obviously and right up to the present time with Jim Curran and Jonny Curran, Frank Campbell, all people who had been with us. And of course Michaela in the middle of all that.
"There's been a lot of living has happened in that time. A lot of life experiences connected with my 30 years managing in Tyrone football and I want to acknowledge all those people for the impact on our lives.
"And maybe that is the lesson for life in general. Nobody is put on this world for no purpose. They are put on it for the single purpose they are made for."
When his daughter Michaela wrote down her wishes for her father on a napkin, she predicted All-Ireland minor, under-21 and senior success. But would she have wanted her father to be still in the senior job for 18 years? 11 years after her tragic murder while on honeymoon?
"Well, her words to me after that time we were beaten by Down in Newry (2008), that's the words that always sit with me. 'Look, Daddy, it's all part of God's bigger plan.'
"And I still believe that is still the case. It's all part of God's bigger plan."
At 68, he will show up again soon. But for now, he's a contented man. The future will be kinder than recent years.
"I'm happy that I did my best for Tyrone over those 30 years and I did want Tyrone to be successful and still do. I am very proud of Tyrone and where I come from."