The temperature was pushing 100 degrees when the bus carrying Auburn’s baseball team pulled up to Plainsman Park.
When the doors swung open, you could hear Auburn cheerleaders shouting, “It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!”
Dozens of fans joined in, welcoming Coach butch thompson and the Tigers home from the College World Series two days after Auburn earned the program’s first Omaha victory in 25 years.
The next night, Auburn men’s basketball took over Times Square, with billboards celebrating the program’s return to prominence under Coach Bruce Pearl, and the history-making achievement of Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler, the first Auburn teammates to be picked in the first round of the same NBA draft. Our men’s basketball program continues to make history, winning an SEC Championship for the third time in five seasons while earning the program’s first No. 1 ranking and going undefeated in Neville Arena.
From the Heartland of Nebraska to midtown Manhattan, the Auburn brand shines brightly on the big stages.
In March, Coach Greg Williams led Auburn equestrian to the Tigers’ fourth straight SEC championship and in April, Coach Jeff Records‘s Auburn gymnastics team reached the Final Four at the NCAA Championship, the best finish in program history.
In May, Coach Melissa Luellen led Auburn’s women’s golf team to the semifinals at the NCAA Championship, one of only three programs in the country to reach the Final Four twice in the past three seasons.
Other spring superlatives included men’s golf finishing in the top 10, women’s tennis advancing to an NCAA super regional for the first time and finishing a program-best second in the SEC, men’s tennis achieving its first 20-win season in 20 years, our young Auburn softball team, featuring slugging SEC Freshman of the Year Bri Ellis, reaching the 40-win mark for the first time since 2018, and high jumper Dontavious Hill winning the bronze medal at the NCAA outdoor championships.
With three top five national finishes in three months, we look to build on that momentum when the 2022-23 campaign kicks off with Auburn soccer on Aug. 18, Coach Karen Hoppa’s 24th season on the Plains.
Auburn student-athletes continue to achieve at a high level academically, with nine programs posting perfect 1,000 Academic Progress Rate scores in 2020-21, a testament to their commitment and perseverance given the challenges and disruptions of the pandemic.
In the spring 2022 semester, Auburn student-athletes earned a 3.21 grade-point average for the term while posting a cumulative GPA of 3.25.
We welcomed 57 student-athletes into the ranks of Auburn University alumni when they graduated this spring, a proud moment for all of us who strive to create Auburn women and men from the moment they arrive on campus as freshmen.
June marked the end of an era as Coach Ralph Spry hung up his spikes after 25 seasons leading Auburn track and field. We celebrated Coach Spry for his excellence on the track and his integrity off it.
Coach Leroy Burrell, an Olympic gold-medalist who guided the University of Houston to consistent, high-level success for 23 years, takes over, becoming only the fifth head coach in more than a century of Auburn track and field.
On June 23, we marked a historic occasion, the 50th anniversary of the signing of Title IX, the federal law that has created countless opportunities for women’s athletics to thrive at Auburn and across the country.
If you’ve been on campus this summer, you’ve noticed the energetic mix of ongoing construction projects, camps of all types, and student-athletes paying the price so they can compete at the highest level.
If you’re here early enough, you might see Coach Bryan Harsin and the Tigers running the decks of Jordan-Hare Stadium, or members of our women’s and men’s basketball teams working on their 3-pointers.
In the SEC – as the saying goes – if you’re not building, you’re falling behind. We thank the Auburn Family members who have invested in facilities projects over the years. You are helping Auburn compete in the nation’s elite conference. We will continue to aggressively upgrade facilities, knowing the return on that investment yields an elevated experience for student-athletes and fans.
At the conferences and national levels, discussions continue regarding what intercollegiate athletics will look like in the coming months and years.
To that end, Auburn Athletics is partnering with Altius Sports, the Brandr Group and INFCLR through the SPIRIT Exchange to ensure that our student-athletes maximally benefit from the new landscape of Name, Image and Likeness.
NIL has quickly become an important consideration for current and prospective student-athletes. To remain competitive in the SEC, it’s imperative that Auburn’s NIL opportunities rival those of our peers. I encourage you to get involved – whether that’s through collectives led by student-athletes or donors – or by partnering directly with a student-athlete through the SPIRIT Exchange. It’s going to take all of us, working together, to make it happen. After all, that’s the Auburn way.
When you support student-athletes, you’re also helping Auburn’s award-winning coaches. This spring, Coach Pearl and Coach Williams earned SEC coach of the year honors, while Steven Pearl has been named one of college basketball’s most impactful assistant coaches. Auburn’s tennis coaches: men’s head coach Bobby Reynoldsassistant Chris Hoohyarwomen’s head coach Caroline Lilley and assistant Megan Falconswept the Southern Region coach of the year awards from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
The same dedication that compelled fans to wait in triple-digit temperatures to welcome home Auburn’s baseball team is the same dedication our student-athletes, coaches and staff demonstrate year round.
May we count on you again this fall to do your part to give Auburn the best home-field advantage in the country? With five straight home games to kick off the season, starting with Mercer on Sept. 3, you will have ample opportunities to make memories that last a lifetime along with 87,000 fellow members of the Auburn Family.
Enjoy your summer. We look forward to seeing you soon. Today and every day, it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!