Jan. 17, 2014
Coach Hal Baird, who led the Tigers to two College World Series appearances, will be honored at the Auburn Diamond Club banquet on Jan. 25.
AUBURN, Ala. - Former Auburn baseball head coaches Hal Baird and the late Paul Nix, along with former Tiger pitcher Tim Hudson will be honored at this year's Auburn Diamond Club Team Recognition Banquet, set for Jan. 25.
First-year head coach Sunny Golloway plans to turn the annual ADC banquet into an event in which former players, coaches and contributors to the Auburn baseball program will be the guests of honor and receive special recognition, beginning with this year's event.
"It is important as a program to recognize those who have come before and helped make Auburn baseball into what it is today," Golloway said. "Coach Baird and Coach Nix each took two teams to Omaha, and Tim Hudson was part of one of those teams and has been a tremendous supporter of Auburn baseball and a pillar in the local community. We are extremely grateful for everything these men have done for our program, and we want to honor them for their commitment to Auburn baseball."
Baird was the Tigers' head coach from 1985-2000 and led the team to a 634-328 (.659) record during his tenure. He led Auburn to a pair of 50-win seasons - the most in school history - in 1995 and 1997, and he took the Tigers to the College World Series in 1994 and 1997. In his final seven seasons alone, he guided Auburn to three NCAA Regional titles, an SEC Western Division title and an SEC Tournament championship. In 10 of his 16 seasons, the Tigers finished ranked in the top 25. He saw a total of 51 players drafted into the professional ranks during his tenure, including Hudson, Gregg Olson, and recently elected Hall-of-Famer Frank Thomas.
Nix was Auburn's longest-tenured head baseball coach, leading the Tigers for 22 seasons from 1963-84. He had an overall record of 515-376 (.578) and took the program to two College World Series appearances, three SEC regular-season titles, an SEC Tournament championship and six SEC divisional titles. A five-time SEC Coach of the Year, he took Auburn's 1967 and 1976 teams to Omaha, earning a third-place national finish in '67. Upon his retirement after the 1984 season, Nix had won more games than any other active SEC baseball coach, and his 217 SEC wins were the most by any league coach. Nix passed away in 2009.
Hudson is gearing up for his 16th season in Major League Baseball, having played six seasons with the Oakland Athletics (1999-2004) and nine years with the Atlanta Braves (2005-13); he will play his first season for the San Francisco Giants in 2014. In his 15-year career, "Huddy" has amassed a 205-111 record in 426 career starts, putting together a career 3.44 ERA. The three-time All-Star has also recorded 1,896 career strikeouts. He played two seasons at Auburn (1996-97) and was named the 1997 Rotary Smith Award Winner as the top player in college baseball. He was 15-2 with a 2.97 ERA on the mound that season while also hitting .396, earning SEC Player of the Year honors as well. Hudson and his family recently donated $1 million to the Auburn baseball program for the renovation of the team's clubhouse.