A Look at Young Gus
Summer is a great time to catch up on reading. There’s not any real football news out there, so writers tend to dig deeper for stories than during the season. That often means uncovering old photos of coaches and looking deeper into the lives of former Auburn players. Below are some great stories trending on the web…
Former Auburn blogger and now CBS Sports writer Jerry Hinnen writes a great piece on the college days of Gus Malzahn. The first year Auburn coach walked on for two seasons at Arkansas before finally earning two letters at Division II Henderson State in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
As Jerry points out, the hurry up offense is not the only thing that Malzahn moves quickly on. While at Henderson, he was the only married player on the team.
T.J. Jackson. That’s a name from the past. The former All-SEC nose guard who helped anchor the 2004 Undefeated Team has not rested on his past success. The former Atlanta Falcons player gave up the NFL on his own terms and chose to pursue a career in education.
Today, he’s known as Dr. T.J. Jackson. During graduation ceremonies on May 4th, Jackson walked across Auburn Arena and added a doctorate of adult education to his resume.
“That was the greatest thing at graduation, having my mom and my wife and my son and my mom and my two sisters,” Jackson says. “Being hooded was the coolest thing. You hear `Dr. Tommy Jackson is hooded by Dr. James Witte.’ It was just so cool.”
What you remember about Jackson is that big smile. He was a fan favorite and a class act. It’s good to see him having success years later.
To learn more about Jackson, click here to read Phillip Marshall’s profile on the former star…
For years, Rodney Garner was remembered as the one who got away. The former Auburn great made a name for himself as an assistant coach on the Plains from 1990-1995. Then he was gone.
Rumors have persisted for years that Garner and former Auburn coach Terry Bowden didn’t see eye-to-eye and that’s what led him to leave for Tennessee. Garner refuses to discuss the departure, but that’s all water under the bridge now.
After a 17 year absence, he’s back on campus and Auburn people couldn’t be happier. He’s widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in the country. Working alongside former Tiger quarterback Dameyune Craig, the two have been making a lot of noise on the recruiting front this off-season.
After nearly six months on the job, Garner still can’t believe he’s home.
“Sometimes I have to pinch myself over the fact I’m back. I’ve been gone so long,” Garner said. “It took 17 years to get back here. I’ve kind of gone full circle. I share with the guys on the staff all the time that this is special, just to have this opportunity.”
Be sure to check out the complete story on Garner by Charles Goldberg at auburntigers.com.