Nov. 10, 2011
AUBURN - Head basketball coach Tony Barbee hosted over 700 students at his Barbee-Q event in the Auburn Arena on Thursday. The students were treated to a barbecue dinner and a patented coach Barbee pep talk on the upcoming season.
"What a difference a year makes," Barbee said. "It seems like yesterday that I had the introductory press conference here at the Auburn Arena. I've been all over the state recruiting and this program is getting better by the day. These guys have been working their tails off and they will never give up on our team or for you, the fans."
Barbee first met for roughly 30 minutes with 20 student leaders that consisted of members of SGA, fraternities, sororities and non-Greek organizations prior to the start of the event. It included an informative session in which Barbee asked the group ways that he could improve the Auburn students' experience at games and in turn, the enthusiastic leaders inquired about what they can do to help both the team and the program as well.
"It is going to take everyone to be invested and committed to the growth of this program," Barbee said. "We all want a top 10 team in the country and we're almost there. I'm excited to be here and I'm excited about the direction this program is heading. We have improved immensely and the talent level has increased, but we all have to do this together."
With the Auburn cheerleaders and Tiger Paws in attendance, the students lined up and entered the arena through their own entrance and helped themselves to a free barbecue dinner.
Barbee reminded students who attend SEC games that they will have a chance to win a giftcard for textbooks from Anders Bookstore. He also informed the crowd that at every home game, one lucky student will have a chance to capitalize on making a series of shots for a prize of $5,000 presented by Golden Flake.
"You all are a part of my team," Barbee said. "You need to realize the impact you all have on our program. There is no other sport like college basketball where the students create an atmosphere like they do at some of the top programs in the nation."
In a change from prior seasons, Barbee announced to the students that the team will now be entering through the student-side entrance to start a new "Tiger Walk"-type tradition for basketball. He also announced that the students will get a chance to vote on a nickname for the student section in hopes that the Auburn student body will develop its own traditions as well.
Auburn men's basketball opens the season Friday against McNeese State at the Auburn Arena.