Ask the AD
January 20, 2011
Dear Auburn Family,
Thank you, and War Eagle! Since our plane touched down in Montgomery the day after the Auburn Tigers won the 2010 National Championship, I've been eager to share those words with you.
Thank you for the unbelievable support that you gave our players and coaches throughout a perfect season. Thank you for making Jordan-Hare Stadium the best gameday atmosphere in America. Thank you to the thousands of Auburn fans who made the costly trip to Arizona to cheer on the Tigers. Thank you to the many fans who endured cancelled or delayed flights to get to and from the Valley of the Sun.
Last but not least, thank you for the class and sportsmanship you showed while in Arizona. Every time we host a football game, we receive e-mails and letters from visiting fans who say they've never been treated better than when in Auburn. It was especially gratifying to read reports from Oregon writers and e-mails from Oregon fans who were impressed with the class shown by all of you before, during and after the Tostitos BCS National Championship game. So thank you once again for being the best fans in the country.
Now, the time has come for the Auburn Family to show our thanks to the 2010 National Champions. We are expecting a large crowd for the National Championship Celebration at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. The celebration will begin at 1:00 p.m. CT, but we encourage fans who want to show their support to arrive early. Gates will open at 11:00 a.m. for the free event.
For your convenience, Tiger Transit shuttles will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations: the hayfields at the corner of South Donahue Drive and Lem Morrison Drive, Auburn Village Mall, Sam's Club, Tiger Town and at the University Facilities Division. RV parking will be available in the small hayfield at Donahue Drive and Lem Morrison Drive beginning at 2 p.m. Friday through noon Sunday.
Saturday promises to be a special day for our players, coaches and fans. We do not expect it to last more than an hour, and it will be followed by a "reverse Tiger Walk" from the stadium to the Athletics Complex. Fans inside Jordan-Hare will have plenty of time to exit the stadium after the program and find a spot along Tiger Walk, so we encourage you to take your time.
The Tiger Walk on Donahue Drive will stretch from the stadium to the Athletics Complex, so let's spread out along the route to give our players a chance to see as many of you as possible. Please proceed to Tiger Walk patiently and carefully after the celebration event, and let's make this final Tiger Walk a memorable one for a team and especially a senior class that has done so much for Auburn.
Building the foundation
As strange as it may sound in the afterglow of a National Championship, we still have much work to do to build a lasting foundation for Auburn football. Coach Chizik and his staff literally worked their plan to perfection this season, despite a lack of depth in some areas. Just as I said before the season, we are still at least one or two more strong signing classes away from having the breadth and depth of talent needed to consistently compete for championships in the best conference in the country.
No one knows the challenges better than Coach Chizik. Even as he won the Paul Bear Bryant National Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday, Coach Chizik said he has had little time to reflect on this season. That's because he knows we have work to do in replacing 24 seniors and in rebuilding a team for the 2011 season that will have only a handful of seniors in key roles on the roster.
I can assure you that Coach Chizik and his staff, which will remain intact for a third straight year, are doing their part to continue to build the foundation. My challenge to the Athletics Department and the entire Auburn Family is to make sure that we continue to do our part.
TUF membership benefits
While many of you reading this message are already long-standing members of Tigers Unlimited who purchase season tickets, others may not be. The importance of joining Tigers Unlimited and contributing through season ticket purchases and seat contributions became more evident than ever before with the SEC Championship Game and the Tostitos 2011 BCS National Championship Game. Only those Tigers Unlimited members with the required minimum Ticket Priority, or cumulative giving to the TUF football program, were assured they had tickets to both games in what proved to be two of the toughest tickets in sports.
As our long-time season ticket holders know, joining TUF and making annual per-seat contributions is the only way to be assured that you will be able to purchase season tickets in any given year. Continuing to support TUF is also the only way to ensure that you get the same seats at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and only TUF members can request seat upgrades.
Fans and supporters often ask what they can do to help the program. The answer is simple: If you are already a member of Tigers Unlimited, support TUF at your present level, or increase your level of giving. Those who buy season tickets from friends can help the program by joining TUF and beginning to accumulate Priority points. The same holds true for those who may have only purchased General Public season tickets or single-game tickets the past few years.
If you would like more information on joining Tigers Unlimited, visit www.tigersunlimited.com or call 1 (800) AUB-1957. As a reminder, the deadline for 2011 Football Priority Ticket Renewals is March 1, 2011.
Every single member of Tigers Unlimited, every supporter who has ever purchased single-game tickets, and all of our fans who went "All In" to support Auburn helped make this special season possible. While we will celebrate on Saturday afternoon, this is no time for complacency. We must continue to press ahead. We must continue to support all of our athletic teams at the highest level.
Thank you again for your support. We are counting on you to continue to support us so that we will have more championships to celebrate in the years to come.
As I said last spring and summer, the Auburn spirit is as strong and the Auburn Family is as united as it has ever been. Let's keep the momentum going as we continue to pursue our vision of becoming the preeminent athletics department in the nation.
I look forward to seeing you Saturday.
God Bless and War Eagle!
Director of Athletics