By Greg Ostendorf
AUBURN, Ala. -- At his introductory press conference, Allen Greene -- Auburn's new Director of Athletics -- spoke about the traditions such as Tiger Walk, the eagle flight before every football game, and of course, rolling Toomer's Corner after a win.
Greene will have to wait until the fall to take part in those traditions, and the next Auburn football game he attends will be his first. But he knows how important the sport is to the fans.
"Football, certainly, is the driving engine of it all," Greene said. "This is an enterprise, and it's really, really important that football be successful.
"Something that I appreciate with this opportunity is having the chance to sit down with Coach [Gus] Malzahn. I think the world of him - incredibly humble, wants to win, wants to win the right way. And Gus, I'm looking forward to working with you and supporting you to the best of my ability."
That's good news for Malzahn, who was in the audience along with his wife, Kristi, at Friday's press conference. The Auburn football coach met with Greene shortly after the Tigers played in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, and after only being around him a short period of time, he could tell that Greene, the AD at Buffalo at the time, had that "it" factor.
"I'm real excited to have Allen here," Malzahn said Friday. "He's going to do a super job. He's got a dynamic personality. He's got a dynamic vision for not just football but Auburn athletics. I really feel like our students are going to be excited, our student-athletes are going to be excited. It's a great fit right now."
The two spoke again Friday morning when Greene, who had stepped foot on Auburn's campus for the first time the day before, asked some of the school's head coaches, why Auburn? Why was Auburn the right choice for you?
Malzahn told Greene the story of the first time he ever visited Auburn. It was 2006, and he was in his first year as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas.
"He came to play against Auburn, and he left here feeling just incredibly warm and (with) a unique feeling of Auburn that it may be hard to put your finger on," Greene said. "But you and Kristi both said `You know what, I could see myself there.'
"After less than 24 hours, not only can we see ourselves here, but we are here."
The next home football game is 232 days away. Greene will have his hands full between now and then, and while the football season never really slows down, Malzahn wants to do everything he can to make it as smooth a transition as possible for the school's new AD.
"I just think it's more about developing a relationship and getting to know each other and helping him get started off on the right foot here," Malzahn said. "I'm just excited about that, developing that relationship. We'll do this thing together. I think he's a great leader for Auburn athletics right now. I think he's ready to take us to that next level."
But Greene can't wait to throw his first roll of toilet paper after an Auburn victory.
"Am I allowed to roll at Toomer's Corner? I want to."
-- Greg Ostendorf (@greg_ostendorf) January 19, 2018
Greg Ostendorf is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: