Midweek Ramblings From The Plains
Former Auburn Athletic Director, Jay Jacobs has been hired at Florida. (photo: Auburn media file)
Like a fired coach who feels like he’s still got some years left to contribute, former Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs is staying in administration of college athletics. Jacobs, who was allowed to retire this spring after scandal rocked the men’s basketball and women’s softball programs, has accepted the executive associate athletic director position at Florida.
A former offensive lineman who blocked for Bo Jackson, Jacobs worked almost his entire career for his alma mater, culminating with a 13-year tenure as Auburn’s Athletics Director. His accomplishments were many and varied. Auburn won 24 SEC Titles and 11 national titles, including a football National Championship in 2010, during his tenure on the Plains. He was responsible for record fundraising campaigns and upgrades to facilities, including the new Auburn basketball arena. And he was named the NACDA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year in 2017. Despite his success, he never seemed to have the full support of alumni and the fan base.
Speaking of SEC athletics directors, Allen Greene, Auburn’s new AD, apparently brought a big broom with him to the athletics department as he has fired several administrators this past week, and sources say the house cleaning is not over yet. The most notable fired exec was senior women’s administrator Meredith Jenkins, whose future had been on slippery ice since her handling of the 2017 softball scandal that resulted in the early retirement of head coach Clint Myers.
Gus Malzahn and company have completed what they feel like may be the best Big Cat recruiting extravaganza ever over the weekend. There were more than 30 big time recruits on campus including three 5-star studs. Although none committed on the spot, the coaches felt like the weekend filled with activities designed for building relationships will bring big dividends down the stretch.
A highlight this year for the high school players was being able to meet and talk with former Tigers Ronnie Brown, Montravius Adams, Chris Davis, Carlos Rodgers and, especially, Cam Newton.
Basketball’s future and Baseball’s chances in Super Regional after the jump.
Football wasn’t the only team with a big recruiting weekend. Auburn basketball hosted 20 recruits Saturday as Bruce Pearl is looking to add to a team that won an SEC championship and finished with the second-best record in school history (26–8).
Pearl should have been the national coach of the year in 2018 for the job he did with a depleted roster. And, with his being awarded this week with a five-year contract extension and the return of stars Bryce Brown , Austin Wiley, and Danjel Purifoy, many prognosticators are expecting Auburn basketball to be a contender for an elite eight or final four spot in 2019.
And what a miracle Butch Thompson has wrought in three years on the job. He took over a train wreck left by his predecessor and turned it into a national contender. In just two seasons, Thompson made Auburn baseball fun again, and in his third season he’s returned the team to the national prominence it enjoyed under Hal Baird and Steve Renfroe.
Auburn has gone to back-to-back regionals for the first time since Renfroe’s team did it in 2002–2003. And now the Tigers are in a super regional for the first time since 1999.
They dominated the Raleigh Regional, going undefeated with 50 hits and scoring 40 runs. Casey Mize struck out 11 batters in game two, a performance that solidified him as the No. 1 over all pick by the Detroit Tigers in Monday’s major league draft.
Auburn (42–21) came within an eyelash of hosting the super regional as Florida Atlantic pushed SEC Champion Florida to a second game before the Gators escaped and secured the host site. Florida (45–18) is the defending national champion, but the Gators have lost six of their last seven games.
Still, many expect the No. 1 Gators to return to the College World series, but given the way the two teams have been playing lately, my money is on Butch Thompson and the Tigers.
Until next time,
Auburn’s super regional at Florida will be begin Saturday and go through Monday if necessary. All games will be carried by ESPN with Saturday and Sunday games starting at 11:00 a.m. CDT and Monday’s game beginning at 7:30 p.m CDT.