Aug. 18, 2016
Early in 2016, we announced our "16 for '16" strategic plan to ensure a collective emphasis on our goals of winning, academic excellence, facility upgrades, and being the best school for the best athletes.
I'm pleased to report we're making great strides toward accomplishing our goals, as a number of the action items on our list have been completed.
Here's a quick progress report:
Our "16 for '16" goals raised the bar for academic performance, and I'm pleased to report that our student-athletes are exceeding expectations across the board. Several of our goals are based on the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR), the metric used to ensure collegiate teams meet graduation and retention goals. All of our teams meet or exceed this standard.
APR is also a way for the NCAA to honor teams for outstanding performance in the classroom. For example, NCAA Public Recognition Awards go to teams scoring in the Top 10 percent of their sport. You should know Auburn was ranked #1 in the SEC for the most teams receiving NCAA Public Recognition Awards.
It is also noteworthy that Auburn ranks #3 in the SEC in the number of student-athletes named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll. This level of accomplishment is a testament to the hard work of our student-athletes, academic mentors and coaches.
Another academic-related action item was to hire a replacement for Sr. Associate A.D. Dr. Gary Waters, who will retire in the spring with nearly 27 years of service to Auburn University. Dr. Waters will be replaced by Dr. Kathryn Flynn. Dr. Flynn came to us as a widely respected administrator on the campus of Auburn University. Kathryn previously served as Director of Interdisciplinary Studies as well as Director of the Academic Counseling and Advising Center. She is also an Auburn University graduate.
Facility improvements for our National Championship Equestrian team, our SEC Championship Softball team and a volleyball program on the rise were all part of the "16 for '16" plan.
Volleyball has a brand new home inside Auburn Arena. The facility renovation includes a new locker room, coaches' offices, meeting room, players' lounge and training room for our volleyball program.
At Equestrian, a new videoboard will be installed this fall, while a team locker room and fan amenities will be completed this spring.
Improvements at Jane B. Moore Field including new chair backs and additional temporary seats were completed prior to the historic 2016 softball season.
Diversity and Inclusion
Another vitally important action item in the "16 for '16" plan was to further advance the athletic department's ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
I'm pleased to announce that three-time Auburn graduate and longtime Auburn Athletics senior administrator, Dr. David Mines, will fill this role as our new Sr. Associate A.D. for Internal Operations & Inclusion. Dr. Mines embodies all that Auburn is about. He has earned a reputation for integrity and trust that will help us create and sustain an environment where every student-athlete feels valued and knows their ideas are always welcomed.
If you haven't heard, Coach Bruce Pearl and his outstanding staff are making some serious noise on the basketball recruiting trail.
That's right. Auburn's 2017 recruiting class is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation.
As we recently reported on auburntigers.com a widely respected ESPN analyst says Auburn basketball "has become a national player."
Coach Pearl has long been known for his recruiting prowess. The tremendous energy he and his staff have put into our program will make Auburn basketball one of the top-tier SEC programs for years to come.
We look forward to continued success and seeing you in Auburn for the kick-off of our fall sports season.
God bless and War Eagle,
You can also follow me on Twitter at @jayjacobsauad.