Dec. 18, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. – Stan White has played in football games of great importance before roaring crowds. He has led last-minute touchdown drives when it seemed all was surely lost.
But never before had White, Auburn’s starting quarterback from 1990-1993, faced anything like he did last Saturday at Auburn Arena. White, the play-by-play man on Auburn’s football broadcasts since 2001 and a successful business owner in Birmingham, was the featured speaker at graduation ceremonies.
“It was a huge, humbling experience,” said White, who spoke twice before full houses. “It was one of those things you really can’t turn down. It was humbling, and it was an honor.”
White, Auburn’s all-time leading passer with 8,016 yards, joined Thomas Gossom and Bo Jackson as former athletes who have spoken at graduation ceremonies in recent years.
“When I asked them to send me a list of previous speakers, it was really an eye-opener,” White said. “It was a great experience. I enjoyed it. It was a fun time for my brief little moment. I told them they’ll remember this day for the rest of their lives, but they probably won’t remember keynote speaker.”
It’s been quite the year for everyone involved in the Auburn Network’s radio operation. They’ve shared Auburn’s journey to the BCS National Championship Game with millions of listeners. White managed to stay quiet as Rod Bramblett called the tipped pass that beat Georgia. He couldn’t stay quiet when Chris Davis ran 109 yards with a missed field goal to beat Alabama.
Davis was among the graduates listening to White’s remarks. The crowd roared when he walked across the stage and received his degree from Auburn president Jay Gogue.
“It’s been amazing,” White said. “We kind of expected the 2010 season because we were up there with four or five weeks left. This season, we weren’t even up there with two weeks left. It’s just been a phenomenal run.
“I wish we were playing next weekend. I think most people thought we are just playing with house money, then you get a win over Georgia. Then you get a win over Alabama. I wish we were playing next weekend. There is something about this team. They don’t seem to get flustered, don’t seem to care who they are playing. They just keep on playing and finding a way to win.”
When he talked to the graduates, White pointed to the one second that was left on the Jordan-Hare clock when Alabama snapped the ball for the field goal try that would lead to Davis’ touchdown.
“We all know that Auburn is much bigger than football,” White told them. “But it’s hard to deny the parallels between football and life. What’s your one second? Will you be prepared for it when it comes?”
That came from one who has always been prepared. He’s the only four-year starting quarterback in Auburn history. He’s a popular commentator and speaker, a successful businessman and a good and caring man.
That’s why he was honored by being asked to help send another class of Auburn graduates out into the real world.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: