You may have noticed from The Villager’s front page today that my wife, Nikki, and I have bought out our partners, Charles and Ernest Whatley, and are now 100 percent owners of The Auburn Villager newspaper and website, auburnvillager.com.
These are exciting times for us, because The Villager is almost like a child to us. We have nourished it and put our heart and soul into it.
Nikki and I made a decision to start The Villager 13 years ago in 2006, largely because I did not feel like Auburn local news was being covered properly. I asked Charles Whatley to join us because I felt he knew more local business people than me. He brought Ernest on board and we had a pretty strong team.
Now it is up to just Nikki and me and our very competent staff and wonderful columnists and contributors.
It also is a bit stressful, but we can handle it.
If you, as a reader, ever have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to call or email. I promise your input will be given due consideration.
What to do about our football program?
To say that the 2019 Auburn football season has not turned out as we hoped would be a gross understatement.
The wolves are beginning to howl for coach Gus Malzahn’s job. And who could blame them? In his seventh year, Malzahn has a less than stellar record — about 40 percent, I believe — against SEC heavyweights and Auburn rivals LSU, Georgia and Alabama.
Unless he works a miracle in a couple of weeks, this will be another 8-win, 4-loss season without a win against any of those rivals. That is just not good enough for Auburn fans.
What has saved Malzahn, so far is a massive buyout in his 7-year, $49-million contract he signed after Auburn won the SEC West in 2017. The buyout — the amount Auburn would have to pay him not to coach — is said to be $27 million at the end of the current season. One source reported that the buyout will not reach $10 million until after the 2023 season.
I do not know the level of dissatisfaction powerful alumni have with the Auburn coach or if that kind of money can be raised to get rid of him. But if Alabama beats Auburn this Nov. 30, I am afraid we might find out.
Retired Auburn Attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Before going into law, he was state Capitol reporter for The Huntsville Times and state editor for The Columbus Ledger. In college, he was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman. Email him your comments about the newspaper to firstname.lastname@example.org.