Auburn great, Doc Robinson with Auburn Media Relations Director Chuck Gallina, and former Auburn AD David Housel at 2014 Tiger Trail Induction Ceremony. (photo:Anthony Hall/Auburn media relations)
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend Auburn’s walk of fame (the Tiger Trails) induction ceremony by a tailgate friend from Texas. Holly Byrd usually attends the event to represent the Greater Houston Auburn Club. However, this year Holly was recuperating from a back injury and ask that I do her a favor and attend in her place.
Holly needed help getting items autographed to be auctioned for the Houston Auburn Club scholarship fund. Since I had never attended one of these events and this gave me the opportunity to help a member of the family as well as future students, I was glad to help out. However, while I thought I was doing Holly a favor, turns out she did me one.
You see I was not prepared for the type of night that lay ahead. I just thought there would be a handful of people there to witness some presentations. But there were close to 200 people that gathered for the festivities in the Auburn Arena. And folks I was wowed by what I experienced. It was honestly a blessing to be in attendance.
The event was MC’ed by former Auburn AD David Housel with legends and former inductees like Lloyd Nix, Buddy McClinton, and Terry Henley among the attendees.
Unquestionably a family event, it reminded me of my wife’s family reunions. I say that because while I didn’t personally know most of those gathered, there was a spirit which was truly ‘all in the family.’ Auburn people share that special bond and it is the basis of what makes Auburn University so unique. It didn’t matter if you were an Auburn All-American, a coach, or just a fan; everyone mingled and talked like they were at a family reunion.
It was great fun talking with Coach Malzahn, Coach Pearl, Coach Person, and Coach Tuberville as well as with this year’s inductees. A big highlight for this writer was to meet and talk with one of my childhood heroes … All-American and First Round NFL Draft pick Ken Rice; who was there on behalf of his friend Cleve Webster.
Yet the best came not during the social hour but during the program and the nominees acceptance speeches. For a sentimental guy like me it was a moving experience. As the stories flowed from those like Tommy Tuberville who spoke of his two great running backs Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams to David Marsh, who talked about cancer victim and former Auburn swimming coach Richard Quick‘s love for Auburn… the entire evening was an inspirational affair – one which just reinforced my love for Auburn.
I’m not ashamed to admit that tears welled up in my eyes more than once as each recipient spoke of their love for their alma mater and the impact being a Tiger had on their lives. Four time All-American soccer player, Megan Rivera said, “I came away from Auburn not only with an education but with life experiences that made me what I am today.”
Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams along with Ronnie Brown were First Round NFL Draft picks. “Coming back to get inducted,” Williams said was, “An awesome feeling. It just goes to show you what kind of place Auburn is.”
David Housel who said, “The Tiger Trail symbolizes the past that we celebrate today as well as our hope for the future,” asked Brown to hold up his one year old son, Rhys, from the podium. Housel added, “One day Rhys will be a young man and will walk the streets of Auburn and look down and say that plaque is for my daddy, Ronnie Brown.”
Perhaps the best moment though came from former NBA star and Auburn All-American point guard Doc Robinson, who summed up the feelings of Auburn people everywhere when he ended his acceptance speech with:
“I want to thank my Auburn Family, my teammates and the coaches who were here then. Without them, none of this would be possible. – My heart will forever bleed Orange and Blue and my soul will forever yell War Eagle.”
Me too Doc, me too!
If your an Auburn person, you owe it to yourself to attend next year’s induction. You can bet I’ll be there.
Teammates congratulate Auburn player Jade Rhodes (8) after jer sixth inning home run against Miss State March 22, 2014, at the Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn. (photo:Julie Bennett/al.com)
“When we began our search for a new softball coach, the goal was to find a proven winner.” Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs on the hiring of Clint Meyers as Auburn’s Head softball Coach. That was June 14th, 2013. Fast forward a few months and it’s easy to see, Meyers is already delivering.
With 34 games in the book, Auburn (28-5-1) is off to the best start in program history. And after last weekend’s series win over Mississippi State the Tigers are ranked No.21 for the third consecutive week.
Auburn Head Softball Coach Clint Meyers has won nine national titles in his career. (photo:Julie Bennett/al.com)
Coach Meyers modestly attributes the Tigers’ success to his team playing sound softball. “It kind of goes back to our formula,” Myers said. “It’s not so much about how many hits you get, it’s about when you get them. Good defense, good pitching and timely hitting.”
While playing fundamentally sound ball has to be the key to success for any sport, the Tigers remarkable streak is really more about a new direction, a new philosophy, in deed a “New Day” as it were for Auburn Softball.
Like his colleague Gus Mallzahn has done for football, Meyers has reinvigorated the softball program, almost willing them to be winners.
This team is much different from last year’s version. Like AU’s 2013 football season many of the Softball Team’s wins have come as a result of big innings late in the game. And like the 2013 Football Team, the Softball Team has a “Never to Yield” attitude and believes it can win even when things look bleak late in the game.
That confidence, that belief that your going to win the game is an intangible that often marks the difference in a mediocre team and a perennial winning program. I know a lot of coaches with consistent winners say their teams just have some kind of ‘it’ factor. It’s easy to understand what a coach means when he says that; however, the real reason teams have that attitude is because of coaching. It’s the coaches who instill that confidence in their players. That’s why a team with less talent can often beat a more talented group.
In the formula for winning, there’s nothing like self belief. And Auburn Softball has one of the masters for instilling winning confidence. Much like that popular figure of speech, “the proof is in the pudding” meaning the truth of something can only be judged by putting it into action.” Meyers can be judged by his resume as a winner. In 28 seasons, his all time college record as a college softball and baseball coach is 1342 wins, 342 losses, and one tie for a .796 average.
He took his previous team to eight straight Super Regionals and seven appearances in the College World Series, winning two National Championships in 2008 and 2011. His Sun Devil teams averaged 53 wins per season and he has never coached a team with a losing record.
From 1996-2005, he was the head baseball coach at Central Arizona College where he took CAC to the Junior College World Series twice, winning the National Championship in 2002. As the head softball coach from 1987-1995, he won six national championships and was named National Coach of the Year six times.
Whether coaching college softball or baseball, Meyers has taught his teams how to win. And after just 34 games at Auburn, it’s easy to see he’s at it again. It may be too early to crown his Tigers as champions just yet but, make no mistake about it, they will be champions – the proof is in the pudding.
Auburn begins a three week – seven game road trip today starting in Atlanta with a 4 p.m. CT game against Georgia State. The game can be heard locally on WEGL 91.1 or online at AuburnTigers.com.
Marcy Harper throws a strike during the Plainsman Invite , Feb.9th. (photo:auburntigers.com)
The Auburn Softball team was ranked in the top 25 teams in the country today when the Tigers broke into the poll at No. 24. It is the first national raking for the Tigers since 2012.
The national recognition comes as a result of the Tigers’ fast start and the respect shown for the job Coach Clint Meyers is doing at Auburn. When Athletic Director Jay Jacobs announced the hiring of Meyers last summer he said his goal was to “find a proven winner.”
Meyers certainly has brought that winning attitude to The Plains. His Tigers are presently 13-1-1 and could easily be 15-0 but for a one run loss to No. 23 Notre Dame and a declared tie in a rain/sleet shortened opener against Troy on Feb. 6. The poll comes on the heals of the Softball team’s 4-0 game sweep at the Wilson-DeMarini Classic over the weekend.
Although Auburn is averaging 9 runs per game, it’s been pitching that has led the way so far. Tiger hurlers have struck out 61 batters during a 10 game win streak while allowing only 18 walks. The Tigers will be taking that winning streak into tomorrow’s game against No. 9 Florida State.
It should be an entertaining evening at Jane B. Moore Field with the first pitch coming at 5 p.m. Admission is charged this year but fans that show their Men’s Basketball ticket for Wednesday night’s game against South Carolina will be admitted free. And those that purchase a softball ticket will also be admitted free to the Auburn basketball game. You really can’t beat that deal – two games for one ticket.
So if your in the area come out and support the nationally ranked Auburn Tigers’ Softball Team. War Eagle Ladies and …
Beat the Noles!
Jason in true AU fashion is staging dramtic late comebacks and is going through the field in the Accenture Match Play Championship. In the first round he was 3 down with 3 holes to play. He birdied 16 and 17 and won 18 with a par. On the first whole of overtime…sudden death, he made a solid par to win the match against Scott Stallings.
In the second match he was again 2 down late in the match. He won 15 after his opponent Manteo Manassero drove into the desert then reeled off two birdies on 16 and 17.
He then forced a 3 rd down and Manteo tried a long field goal and Jason ran it back for a TD….oh wait wrong sport. Anyway, he pulled out a big win at the end once again.
In the round of 16 he faces Ernie Els and I think he will handle the Big Easy quite easily. The winner of this event wins a cool 1.3 mil. That should be enough to keep him in Skoal for a while.
I will update this post after the round of 16.
Update: Jason is going to have to come back once again. He is 2 down to Els with 6 holse to play. For those of you not familiar with match play, you score by winning a hole not total strokes.
Although Auburn University just went through several days of snow and ice that caused classes to be cancelled, the baseball open house postponed, and the calling of the Softball Team’s opener in the seventh inning – the official start of spring is just around the corner.
Warmer, sunny days are approaching and people will begin to be involved in more outside activities. For those who love sports, spring is a time to get out of the house, play some tennis or some golf, or maybe head to the ball park. And at Auburn, Spring Sports are already underway.
Auburn’s No.3 ranked Equestrian Team has compiled an 8-2 record including Saturday’s 10-8 defeat of No. 10 Texas A&M in their spring opener. The team goes on the road this Saturday to meet Rival (No. 6) Georgia and South Carolina next Saturday before returning to face New Mexico State at the AU Horse Center on March 8th. If you find yourself looking for something to do that weekend come on out, admission is free.
Auburn Track and Field began the 2014 indoor season by winning six event titles, when the Tigers hosted the Auburn Indoor Invitational in Birmingham’s CrossPlex on Jan. 18th. Presently the teams are preparing to compete in the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas on Feb. 27. The Tigers will be on the road for most of their meets until April 14-19 when they will host the Tiger Tracks and War Eagle Invitational’s.
The No. 24 Auburn Men’s Tennis team had its five-match winning streak snapped on Sunday, in a Top 25 match with No. 23 Clemson. The Tigers return to action on Friday completing their non-conference schedule at the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery. Auburn capped off a successful road weekend with two more wins on Saturday, defeating Northwestern State, 4-0, and Nicholls State, 4-1.
The No. 20 Women’s Team posted four wins over the weekend at the City Park Pepsi Center in New Orleans. The Tigers off to an 8-1 start for the second consecutive year, will join the men at the Blue Gray Classic.
No.12 Auburn Gymnastics posted their second best score (197.100) in school history last Thursday against No. 5 Alabama. It looked like the Tigers may have been on their way to an upset when Bri Guy was injured after landing hard at the end of the final event. There was an enthusiastic crowd of more than seven thousand on hand for the match. The Tigers need that same type of support this Friday when old rival Georgia comes to town.
Auburn Men’s Golf Team opened the 2014 spring season at the 24th annual Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa, Hawai’I on Feb. 6th while the No.29 Women’s Team began the spring season in Athens, Ga., at the Lady Bulldog Individual Playing Championship Feb. 8th where sophomore Alex Harrell tied for first place. The Men shot a 2-under, 286, yesterday to win the 2014 Mobile Bay Intercollegiate by six strokes over runner-up No. 36 Kentucky.
Up next for the women is the All-State Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans. The men’s next match will be the USF Invitational March, 2 at Lake Jovita Country Club in Dade City, Fla.
Swimming & Diving Teams have been competing in meets all year. This week the Diving and relays have given Auburn the lead going into the second day of the five-day SEC Championships taking place at the Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga. The Tigers are hoping to bring yet another championship back to The Plains.
The Auburn Softball Team has got off to a solid start under the direction of new coach Clint Myers. The Tigers have only one loss after playing 11 games of a 55 game schedule. Even though the pitching has been fantastic, Meyers says every player has given great performances.
Why not come out and support the Tigers this weekend as they host the Wilson/DeMarini Classic. Auburn plays Jacksonville State Friday with the first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CT.
The Baseball Team opened the 2014 season this past weekend narrowly missing a sweep at the Snow Bird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. After handing new skipper Sunny Golloway a (4-0) debut shutout over Indiana State, the Tigers dropped a 1-0 contest to Ohio State before trouncing UConn 7-3 to win the series. The Tigers start an eleven game home stand today by hosting Alabama State in the home opener at 3 p.m. CT.
While I try to follow all spring sports, I’m a particular fan of baseball. For me there’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting in the stands on a spring night in Plainsman Park.
If you haven’t been to a spring game (match or meet) lately – you owe it to yourself to visit the Loveliest Village of the Plains, pull for the Tigers, and enjoy one of Auburn’s Spring Sports. Besides it doesn’t look like any chance of snow this week, so come on out and support the Tigers.
Hope to see you there.
Sunny Golloway won his debut game at Auburn. (photo:Julie Bennett, al.com)
Just days after schools and businesses were closed in Auburn, Ala. for snow and ice, the Auburn Tigers opened their 2014 baseball season Friday in the Snow Bird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla. The Tigers made new Coach Sunny Golloway‘s debut a happy one with a 4-0 shutout of Indiana State.
The victory came behind the pitching of Senior starter Dillon Ortman and closer RS Sophomore Justin Camp. The two combined to throw nine scoreless innings.
The Tigers have a new look for 2014. The new coach started five freshman in the opener. And Golloway has brought in the west coast style of ball of the hit and run, bunting, and putting a lot of pressure on the defense.
It has been a successful formula for the former Sooner coach, who in nine seasons in Norman, took his team to 8 NCAA Regionals, 4 Super Regionals (hosting 3) and one College World Series.
The freshman Tigers provided five of Auburn’s seven hits with Damon Haecker getting it started by driving in Jordan Ebert on a two-out single in the second inning. Then Blake Austin hit a two out single in the sixth to drive home Keegan Thompson and Damek Tomscha. Finally J.J. Shaffer scored an insurance run in the seventh on a sacrifice bunt by Thompson.
“I thought we played the way we needed to play,” said Golloway “We pitched and we played defense, and that’s what we’ve been preaching to our guys.”
Golloway said he told his team before the game, “The most important game we’re going to play is this first game. We’ve got to get some confidence and learn how to win.”
Well the Tigers have won that most important game. Now it’s one down and 56 to go.
Auburn continues in the Snowbird Classic today as they face Ohio State at 11 a.m. CT in Port Charlotte. Senior Michael O’Neal will take the mound for Auburn.
Go Tigers beat the Buckeyes!
Bill Sewell aka. MyAuburn in the field at Crooked Oaks. (photo by AubTigerman)
Everyone needs a pastime, a hobby if you will. And the more avid you are about that hobby, the more enjoyment it will bring. Webster defines pastime as something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably. After college football season is over, nothing is more amusing to me than the pursuit of that great southern game bird, the Bobwhite Quail.
Nearly all my life I have had two passions. One is Auburn Football and the other is quail hunting. Recently I was able to combine both near the east Alabama town of Notasulga.
I met my friend Bill Sewell on a Friday afternoon at Coach Pat Dye’s Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve. After getting checked into the lodge, Bill and I were treated to lunch with Coach Dye and a group of other hunters from across the state.
Hunting Preserve Manager Chico Canady with the author.
We then were introduced to Chico Canady, Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve Manager who put us with two of the best guides I have ever hunted with – Trey Trussell and Conni Sikes. Trey and Conni took us on an afternoon hunt; showing us a good time as the dogs were energetic and the birds were fast.
That evening, back at the lodge, we were joined by Track ‘em Tigers Founder and Publisher, Jay Coulter for another great meal with the coach. It didn’t matter that there was only the three of us; Coach Dye always serves as the host whether his guest are composed of a large corporate crowd or just a small group of friends. We had a great time talking Auburn Football and reminiscing with Coach about those great teams he had on The Plains.
The next morning started with a southern breakfast of grits, eggs, bacon, country jam and biscuits. After which the Coach, who is an expert on Japanese Maples, took Jay on a tour of his Quail Hollow Gardens Tree Farm while we went out on another day’s hunt.
Quail hunting has been called the gentleman’s sport but for me it’s more about being in the woods with friends and family. It’s about riding on a trailer through the woods on a crisp cool morning while the dogs yelp in anticipation in the box behind you.
It’s watching the dogs work in cooperation with the guides as they run with nose in the air searching for a scent and then suddenly freezing in a mili-second to point the place of the quarry. It’s the rush of excitement at the explosion of a covey of quail as they are flushed and burst into the air, flying in different directions. There’s just nothing else like it on God’s green earth.
But perhaps the best part of the quail hunt is the camaraderie of family and friends. And of course at Crooked Oaks, there is the added benefit of sharing your meals and stories of the day’s hunt with Coach Dye.
The rest of the guys had to leave early after Saturday’s hunt yet the coach still graciously took time from his work day on the tree farm to fellowship and share my last meal of the weekend.
I have hunted different places through out the south and I can say that if you’ve ever thought about taking in a quail hunt – there is no better place to enjoy a day or two of fellowship, great food , and the great outdoors than Coach Dye’s Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve. However, if you want to go this year, you better call Chico today … there’s only about seven weeks left for this season.
Reservations can be made by calling Chico at 334 524-1593.
The Clint Meyers debut as Auburn’s Head Softball Coach ended last night in a tie after leading the Troy Trojans 6-5 in the sixth inning. The Tigers down at one point 5-1, rallied back to take the lead when rain and sleet caused the game to be called. Under the rules, the score reverts to the last completed inning. That means the game will go down as a 5-5 tie. So the only real winner was the weather.
Eventhough it was disappointing for the Tigers to not win Meyer’s debut game of his first season, his Softball Team did win the first game he coached on the Plains, when back in fall ball Auburn swept Wallace State Community College in a doubleheader 13-1 and 10-3.
One of the Winn-ingest coaches in the sport could not beat the weather though, on a cold and wet night in east Alabama. “They showed some great character in bouncing back,” Myers said. “The most impressive thing was there were zero errors … and if we can have 55 more games of error-less games, I’m going to be a happy camper.”
Auburn scored four runs in the top of the sixth to tie it; and had two hits before the seventh inning that by rule was wiped out. McKenzie Kilpatrick hit a 3-run homer and Emily Carosone drove in what would have been the go ahead run in the seventh inning. When starting pitcher Mary Harper was pulled after the first inning, Lexi Davis came on and allowed only two hits and no runs in the final 4 2/3.
Although Coach Meyers didn’t get that first win of the season, make no mistake, there will be plenty to come. Considered one of the best coaches in the country (if not the best), Meyers has a .678 winning record having taken his previous team to eight straight Super-Regionals, made seven appearances in the College World Series, and won nine National Championships.
Auburn will now play five games in three days. The Tigers will play North Dakota State tonight, Morehead State and Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday and then play Texas Tech and Notre Dame on Sunday. It will be a full slate but hopefully this time, the weather doesn’t come away with another win.
Go Tigers beat all five!
Auburn’s softball team won the Plainsman Invite Championship Sunday after finishing the tournament 4-1-1. The Tigers will play again at Jane B. Moore field this coming Friday when they face Marshall and Loyola. The first pitch against Marshall is set for 5:30 p.m. The game with Loyola is schedule for a 7:30 p.m. start.