October 16, 2009
It's great to be an Auburn Tiger, and it's a great weekend to be in Auburn.
Coach Gene Chizik's Auburn Tigers will play for a chance to become bowl eligible against Kentucky at Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
The Auburn baseball team will host its annual Celebrity Home Run Derby at Plainsman Park at 6 p.m. CT Friday. The all-star lineup includes Bo Jackson, Frank Sanders, Hal Baird, Gabe Gross and Tim Hudson. Coach John Pawlowski's baseball team will hold a nine-inning scrimmage following the Home Run Derby. Gates will open an hour prior to the Home Run Derby, and fans are asked to donate at least $1 for admission. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County.
Other Tiger teams in action here in Auburn on Friday include the Auburn soccer team against Vanderbilt at 7:30 p.m. CT, the Auburn Equestrian team hosting Texas A&M at 3 p.m. CT and Auburn volleyball hosting Florida at 6 p.m. CT at the Student Activities Center.
Our fans and our game-day atmosphere are second to none, and each of you plays an important role in keeping that tradition alive. Providing a positive game-day experience is one of our five strategic goals for the department, and we can't do that without your help.
I want to share some comments from visiting fans and writers that have come to my attention this football season. These comments are just a few of many that have been said or written about Saturdays in the fall on the Plains, but they are a testament to the class of the Auburn Family and to the quality of our game-day experience.
A member of the Mississippi State pep band writes the following:
"I just wanted the chance to tell you how surprisingly pleasant every member of the pep band found your game-day atmosphere…The students and fans at Auburn University were more than welcoming of our group. We were greeted with smiles and waves, and one elderly fan even boarded our bus when we arrived simply to welcome us to Auburn and wish us luck in the game….In short, my band had a surprisingly wonderful time at your university, and you should be proud of the welcoming atmosphere that you present on game days."
A reporter from the Charleston (W.V.) Daily Mail newspaper wrote this about his experience in Auburn:
"It's dangerous to make generalizations, but I think there is something to the concept of 'Southern hospitality.' Everyone I encountered on the trip to Auburn was friendly and hospitable….One veteran WVU staff member said he considered Auburn one of the most accommodating places he'd ever been on the college sports circuit." A Ball State blogger said this after following his team to the Loveliest Village on the Plains: "I had been told all week leading up to this trip that an Auburn weekend was about far more than a 60-minute football game in an impressive stadium. I had been told it was about the atmosphere fostered by an unbelievable student section. I had been told it was about the eagle that flies throughout the stadium before kickoff. I had been told it was about one of the greatest marching bands in the country. I had been told it was about the food, the pride, the tradition, the tailgating, the southern belles, the hospitality. I had been told it was all of those things combined… and then some. And frankly, after the weekend there, in person, I can tell you that despite how unbelievable it seems, it is 1,000% true."
While we are all proud of our traditions and the reputation Auburn has developed, I assure you that the Auburn Athletic Department will never be complacent when it comes to continually improving the game-day experience. As fans, I would encourage you to continue to "do what we do," as Coach Chizik might say, by treating our opponents with respect while at the same time giving our team a competitive advantage by showing up early and making noise this and every Saturday.
Finally, during this challenging economic time, I want to thank you for your support of Auburn Athletics. We simply could not compete at the highest level or graduate our student-athletes without your support of Tigers Unlimited.
Until next time, I hope to see you in Auburn.
God Bless and War Eagle!