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'It meant so much' - Auburn honors football captains at A-Day
April 10, 2016

<em> More than 100 former Auburn football captains returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday.</em>
More than 100 former Auburn football captains returned to Jordan-Hare Stadium Saturday.

By Jeff Shearer

AUBURN, Ala - Once more, they gathered at Jordan-Hare Stadium, singing Auburn's fight song. Just like they have done so many times down through the years.

By the time 1982 captain Dennis Collier reached the "Power of Dixieland," his feet were no longer on the ground.

Names instantly recognizable to generations of Auburn fans.

Nix, Lorino and Burkett, heroes from Auburn's first national championship team in 1957.

Bynes, Ziemba and Burns, captains from Auburn's 2010 title team.

In all, 104 Auburn football captains attended a ceremony in their honor Saturday before Auburn's A-Day game. That's nearly half of the men who have served in that role since Auburn first fielded a team in 1892.

Bob Scarbrough (1955) was the most seasoned representative.

Dr. Lloyd Nix captained the Tigers in 1958, one year after playing quarterback on Auburn's first national championship team.

"I get back with my teammates pretty often," Nix said. "Jackie (Burkett) and Tommy (Lorino) and Ken Rice. We get together a pretty good bit. But to be around 100 or so of our past captains is just so meaningful. I've been in the Auburn family for 60 something years. And it's just always good to get back and see more of them. And I hope they're enjoying it as much as I am."

Quentin Riggins (1989) was one of five former captains who spoke at the ceremony, along with Liston Eddins (1975), Nix, and 2015 captains Justin Garrett and Jonathan Wallace.

"To me, it's just special, because I get to celebrate this with my daughter, who's going to be an incoming freshman, as well as my teammates. Guys I haven't seen in years. Auburn taking time to celebrate our time here is just special," Riggins said.

"We talk about family, but these are the little things that matter. And it demonstrates to everybody here how much Auburn, Jay Jacobs and Gus Malzahn care about former players, because they don't have to do it, but they did," he said.

Each captain's name and year of service are displayed on a brick in the Tigers' Den next to the locker room.

<em> Travis Williams, Auburn  Linebackers  Coach and 2005 Captain, poses on the bricks in the Tigers' Den</em>
Travis Williams, Auburn Linebackers Coach and 2005 Captain, poses on the bricks in the Tigers' Den.

Joe Frazier (1994) came to Auburn a quarter-century ago and never left. He still lives less than a mile from Jordan-Hare.

"Today was one of those special occasions where you just get to sit back, reminisce, and think about what being a captain of the team meant," Frazier said. "The dedication, the sacrifice, the intensity that you had to bring to the team to lead somebody. And it meant so much to be recognized for that, and to be recognized along with some of these greats, some of these people I've idolized. Some of these people I've watched since I've been here and after I've been gone. Just wonderful."

<em> Aundray Bruce (1987) at Auburn's Captains' Ceremony.</em>
Aundray Bruce (1987) at Auburn's Captains' Ceremony.

Several of the captains, including Gabe Wright (2014), are still playing professional football.

"It's just such a blast. Each conversation is a laugh. Blast from the past. There's nothing like it. I know this is an Auburn thing. I hope everyone in the country can experience something like this, a reunion with your teammates," Wright said.

"We've got everlasting memories. Before I was getting serious with my now wife, I talked to Nosa (Eguae). He gave me a different perspective. Then I went to Dee Ford, he gave me a totally different perspective. Now, I'm married to her, and we can reflect back about how both of those guys helped me mature and make right decisions to get to where I am now. That's everlasting."

Ben Obomanu (2005) played eight seasons in the NFL. He's finishing his first year of law school.

"It means a lot, just to be able to see each other in one spot," Obomanu said. "I think we all cross each other's paths at weddings and birthday parties, thinks like that. But to be able to come back and to share all of these memories, not with our generation, but with past guys, and some of these guys who just came off a national championship a few years ago, it feels great to be back."

Ben Obomanu, 2005 Captain, at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The captains were introduced at halftime of Auburn's A-Day game, with the loudest and longest ovation given to a member of the Auburn Family who was not there.

Mike Lutzenkirchen represented his son, Philip (2012), who died in 2014.

Several other captains, some deceased, some unable to attend, were also represented by family members.

Present or not, it's clear that all 220 captains have made an indelible impact, one that will be remembered as long as football is played at Auburn.

<em> Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs speaks to football Captains</em>
Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs speaks to football Captains.

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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