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Ask the AD

April 14, 2011

Dear Auburn Family,

Every weekend is a great time to be in Auburn, but this upcoming weekend will be an especially exciting one. The annual A-Day spring football game for the defending National Champions is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. CT at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

It will be a great time for a family reunion, so we hope you can join us. A sneak preview of Coach Chizik's 2011 team is just part of the weekend's activities.

You can view the BCS National Championship Trophy at Auburn Arena, sign your children up for the annual Punt, Pass & Kick Contest on Saturday morning at the intramural fields, and even watch the replay of the BCS National Championship Game on the stadium videoboard when the gates open at 12:00 p.m. More information on these and other events surrounding A-Day can be found HERE.

A-Day tickets are only $5 and can be purchased the day of the game at the Auburn Ticket Office at Auburn Arena, at Jordan-Hare Stadium and at Plainsman Park. Tickets may also be purchased in advance at Auburn University Bookstore, Anders, J&M, Big Blue Bookstore, the Auburn and Opelika branches of Regions Bank and the Auburn Team Shop inside Auburn Arena.

There will be plenty of other action in Auburn this weekend. Our women's golf team will host the SEC Championship April 15-17 at the Auburn University Club. The No. 22-ranked softball team will host Florida for a three-game series Friday through Sunday, the War Eagle Invitational Track meet is set for Friday and Saturday at Hutsell-Rosen Track, and our men's tennis team will take on Alabama at 5 p.m. Saturday at the City of Auburn/Auburn University Yarbrough Tennis Center.

Heisman statues in production

Honoring our former greats is an important part of our tradition at Auburn, and I am excited to announce that statues of all three of our Heisman Trophy winners are currently in production. The iconic statues will be placed on the east side of Jordan-Hare Stadium during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Noted sculptor Ken Bjorge of Big Fork, Montana, began planning and producing Heisman statues for Auburn legends Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson last spring. Little did we know that we would need to add a third statue so soon. Bjorge is now in the production stages of a third statue in honor of 2010 Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton. We have also commissioned a bust of John Heisman to be displayed near the statues to celebrate a history and tradition that is uniquely Auburn. Auburn University is the only school where Heisman coached that also boasts a Heisman winner.

The three bronze Heisman statues, which will be one and one-half life size and weigh about 1,900 pounds each, will further enhance the gameday experience we all enjoy at Jordan-Hare Stadium. We look forward to sharing more information on the statues' dedication at a later date.

Tiger Trail to honor former greats

Speaking of honoring former Auburn greats, a new class of honorees will be inducted into the Tiger Trail on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Each inductee will be honored with an engraved granite plaque to be placed in the sidewalk of downtown Auburn. Nearly 100 of Auburn's athletic elite have now been inducted into the Tiger Trail. This year's class includes Herbert (Hub) Waldrop, John Powell, Larry Nichols, Sarah Wentworth, Terry Henley and Jackie Bushman. Thanks to the Tiger Trail, taking a stroll down College Street and Magnolia Avenue is a walk through Auburn history. It's another great Auburn tradition.

Auburn sweeps top SEC academic honors

Since you too often don't get to hear enough about the good things going on at Auburn, I wanted to share some of the remarkable achievements of our student-athletes in recent weeks. Auburn recently became the first school in Southeastern Conference history to sweep the top academic awards for the conference when diver Dan Mazzaferro and swimmer Erica Meissner both won the 2010-2011 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards. It is the highest honor an SEC student-athlete can receive.

Both Dan and Erica will be presented a $15,000 post-graduate scholarship provided by AT&T and the All-State Sugar Bowl. Dan, who was captain of our SEC champion swimming and diving team this season, earned a degree in chemistry in 2010. He is completing work on his MBA at Auburn and plans to attend medical school. The good news kept coming for Dan this week as he was also announced as one of six NCAA Walter Byers Postgraduate Scholar Award finalists.

Erica is an equally outstanding scholar-athlete. A 2010 Rhodes Scholar finalist, Erica has a 4.0 GPA and will earn her B.A. in anthropology this summer. In addition to their incredible success in the pool and in the classroom, we are proud of Erica and Dan because they embody the values of the Auburn Creed, demonstrating through service to their fellow man that they believe in the human touch. Dan participated in a 10-day mission to Ghana with Unite for Sight, while Erica has been heavily involved in community service during her time at Auburn, mentoring foster children and volunteering for the local humane society.

I wanted to share that with you personally because it's not the kind of news you hear enough about. While Dan and Erica are obviously the best of the best in the SEC, they are not the only Auburn student-athletes succeeding in the classroom. This spring, we will honor a record 235 Auburn student-athletes as academic "Top Tigers" for posting a 3.0 or higher GPA. That is up from a record 207 a year ago.

I hope that you and your family will be able to join us for A-Day this weekend, which promises to be an exciting time. I would also encourage you to come back to Auburn for a baseball game this spring as Coach John Pawlowski's team competes for a chance to make the postseason. Auburn's next home SEC series is April 21-23 when we host Ole Miss at Plainsman Park.

Thanks to Tigers Unlimited supporters

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your support of Auburn Athletics, especially the loyal members of Tigers Unlimited who recently renewed their TUF memberships. I also want to thank those who joined TUF for the first time. The excitement over our football program is evident as TUF sales have been strong. Gray Zone seating is still available for new Tigers Unlimited members, but I would encourage you to join TUF soon if you are interested. For more information, visit www.tigersunlimited.com.

We still have work to do in building the foundation we need to consistently compete for championships in football, but Coach Chizik will get us there with your help and support.

Thanks again for all that you have done and continue to do for Auburn.

God Bless and War Eagle!

Jay Jacobs
Director of Athletics