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Business, fun: Auburn wings it to College World Series
May 25, 2015

Fans send off Clint Myers and Auburn on their way to the College World Series

By Charles Goldberg

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Auburn big-timed it away from its softball headquarters Monday, cheered by fans, having a police escort lead the way with sirens blaring, an airplane waiting to take them to where the college softball national championship will be crowned next week.

Auburn arrived here ready for a new expereince.

Fun? Auburn plans to have some. Already has. Coach Clint Myers happily took out his cell phone to take photos of players snoozing away on the plane. He didn't quite make it the stowaway, that stuffed bear that made the trip. Work? Myers knows the routine better than most, having taken seven Arizona State teams to this mecca of softball, having two national titles to his credit.

Auburn arrived at the home of the College World Series for the first time in school history with players delighted to see Todd Borland, a favorite bus driver, waiting on them on the tarmac to take them to the hotel and off to practice, all the while looking to balance work with the reward of a good season that produced the SEC Tournament title and a sweep of an NCAA Regional and Super Regional that paved the way to OKC.

"We have to look at it as another business trip, another place on the road where we're trying to win," said Kasey Cooper. "We look at it as playing the regionals and Super Regionals all over."

Myers knows the mix.

"We want the girls to enjoy the moment," he said. "We've got some things planned for them to have some fun, but at the same time, they have a real good understanding of why we're going."

Auburn swept through both of those and now awaits a game against familiar-foe LSU at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on the eight-team bracket.

The Tigers are rookies at this. It is their first trip while players on six of the other seven teams have played in the World Series. Only UCLA, now five years out, joins Auburn without a World Series veteran. But Cooper says Auburn has been preparing for the trip, the crowds, the everything all season.

She said the Tigers received an assist.

"Really, the fans have helped out so much, we've never seen crowds like this on our field, and that's just going to prepare us even more for Oklahoma City," she said.

The plan now is to "relax, have fun and enjoy the moment."

Myers said his World Series experience should be a benefit, and winning the fans over will be an order of the day.

"There are going to 10s of thousands of people watching the game, and 10s of thousands cheering," he said. "Oklahoma is not in, so there is no hometown favorite. It will be our job to interact and we're going to do the same kinds of things with autographs after every game and we're going to throw t-shirts out there for the folks."

Myers hopes the fans will remember Auburn when it returns.

"Next year when we're in the College World Series," he said, "we'll have that opportunity to say 'remember, this is how we do it.'"

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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