March 4, 2009
For the first time in 20 years, the Auburn Tigers are Southeastern Conference champions in women's basketball.
Coach Nell Fortner's team cruised past Arkansas and won the SEC regular season title outright on a special Sunday at Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum.
Congratulations to Coach Fortner, her staff and team on their unbelievable run. They finished the regular season at 27-2 and have a lot to celebrate but even more to work toward in the days ahead.
The women will be the number-one seed in the SEC Tournament, which gets under way in North Little Rock on Thursday. Auburn earned a bye in the first round and will play at Noon on Friday against the winner of the Ole Miss-Arkansas game.
I know you join me in congratulating Coach Fortner and a super class of seniors who were the foundation for Auburn's return to the elite in women's college basketball.
Basketball is on rise on the men's side as well. Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers defeated Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday to clinch a No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. The team has now won seven of its last eight games and has a 20-10 record.
Let's show our support for the team and another great group of seniors in their home finale Saturday, March 7, at 3 p.m. as they host LSU for Senior Day. The Tigers can break a 41-year-old record for the most home wins in a single season in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum with a victory over LSU.
LSU is a tremendous team, and we need a big home-court advantage in this pivotal game.
It is worth noting that just as our women's and men's basketball teams are on the rise, the new basketball arena is moving along in terms of construction. We will have an outstanding venue when the arena is completed prior to the 2010-2011 season that will allow both programs to recruit and compete at the highest level while giving the fans a great game-day experience.
SEC Champions Again
Swimming and diving championships have become so common at Auburn we almost expect them, but we should never take them for granted. The Auburn men's swimming and diving team won their 13th straight SEC championship in their home pool as Auburn hosted the championships last month. Our women fought back from a big deficit and finished second.
Our swimmers and divers competed with Head Coach Richard Quick, who is battling brain cancer, on their hearts and minds.
Coach Quick has been an inspiration to all of us with the faith and fortitude he has shown, and he and his family feel your thoughts and prayers.
A-Day activities Announced
Mark your calendar for A-Day on Saturday, April 18. It will be a great way to show your support for Coach Gene Chizik, his staff and the 2009 Tigers. It will also be a great time to bring your family to Auburn.
New events to enhance the A-Day experience have been added this year, including a Punt Pass & Kick competition for kids at the practice fields behind the Athletics Complex on the morning of A-Day. The Punt, Pass & Kick finals for each age division will be held at halftime of the A-Day Game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Central Time in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Kids will also enjoy the Tiger Team Village, which will also be set up behind the Athletics Complex.
Fans of all ages will be glad to know an old A-Day tradition is being brought back this year. The team and coaches will host an autograph session on Jordan-Hare's Pat Dye Field immediately after the game.
Let's show our support for the team and set a new A-Day attendance record this year. More details on the A-Day activities will be released in the coming weeks.
The Auburn baseball team was looking to split a four-game series with highly ranked Florida State after beating the Seminoles on Saturday, but the final game was cancelled due to snow. The game will not be made up.
Coach John Pawloski's team hosts Brown in a four-game series that starts Friday at 6 p.m. at Plainsman Park.
While you're here for baseball, check out Coach Tina Deese's softball team this weekend. The Tigers, now 17-6, begin conference play against Ole Miss at home on Saturday, March 7, with a double-header at Jane B. Moore Field, which is a fantastic venue to take in a game if you've never done so.
This is the busiest time of year for Auburn Athletics, as our tennis and golf schedules are also under way and our track and field teams prepare for the transition from the indoor to the outdoor season. The War Eagle Invitational will be another event Auburn fans who come for A-Day can enjoy.
Finally, I want to thank each and every one of you who renewed your Tigers Unlimited contributions.
I know that for many, renewing during a difficult economy required a willingness to make sacrifices.
Know that reserving your seats for what will be another exciting season of football is not only an expense. It is also an investment in the future of the young men and women who compete for Auburn and who also come here to receive an excellent education. None of it would be possible without your support.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do to support Auburn Athletics.
God bless and War Eagle!