In case you’ve been locked up in quarantine and haven’t had a chance to notice, the city of Auburn is now a mass of construction cranes, temporary trailers, and more construction-based signs than you could easily count. And not to be outdone, the AU Board of Trustees is moving ahead with its own — unanimously approved — project to add three new statues over at the stadium.
Just by the location, you can guess the men being honored have played a significant role in Auburn football history.
On February 7, 2020 the board approved the erection of statues memorializing Cliff Hare, Ralph “Shug” Jordan and Pat Dye.
Talk about a history in Auburn football — Cliff Hare wrote the book on it. He was on he school’s very first team back in 1892 ... back when the school was known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute.
In his career, he served as the first president of the Southern Athletic Conference. Not only did he excel in athletics, he also served as chairman of the Faculty Athletic Committee as well as the dean of the School of Chemistry and Pharmacy.
Coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan won the hearts of the Auburn faithful and is Auburn’s all-time wins leader with 176 in his 25 years as head coach.
And he brought the Tigers their first national championship ... that was in 1957. He was the first Auburn head coach to utilize TV to broadcast highlights of each week’s game, both home and away match ups.
The Auburn Football Review originated on WSFA-TV and was originally hosted by Leroy Paul ... and later by Carl Stephens and finally by Channel 12 Sports Director, and my contemporary, Phil Snow.
It was Coach Jordan who came up with the famous phrase, “You’re so right, Carl!” which he said frequently during the show. It really caught on. Years after he turned the reigns over to Phil, people would see Carl and enthusiastically remind him of his time with Coach Jordan by reciting “You’re so right, Carl.”
Coach Pat Dye was Auburn’s head coach from 1981-92. He’s probably remembered best by true Auburn fans for the work he put in as athletic director to permanently move Auburn’s home games with Alabama to Jordan-Hare stadium. I’ll never forget watching that game, which was played on December 2,1989. Auburn won 30-20!
Under Pat Dye, the country learned about the talents of Bo Jackson as the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner and Tracy Rocker, who won both the 1988 Outland and Lombardi Trophies. That went along with Coach Dye’s winning four SEC Championships in 1983, 1987, 1988, and 1989. In 2005, Coach Dye was inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.
I hope everyone gets a chance to be in Jordan-Hare Stadium and Pat Dye Field for the official unveiling of three of Auburn’s best later this fall.
A brief possum update: Patsy Possum was at the glass back door of our house just the other night. When my wife Paula walked by the door she stopped and took a long look at the possum who stared back.
Patsy showed no signs of being afraid of Paula ... in fact she looked as if she were saying, “where’s the food, lady?” After a few moments, the possum moved closer to the glass, silently asking for a bite or two of leftover cat food.
Naturally, Paula couldn’t let the possum’s request go unheeded. She returned to the waiting possum, which made short order of the kibbles as Paula looked on from inside the back door.
About this time, Carl, the communal cat showed up. The possum cut short her late night snack, exiting so quickly that she banged her head into the baker’s rack that serves as a set of shelves for a grouping of plants. After coming to her senses, Patsy headed to wherever possums go in the middle of the night.
In the meantime, Carl wanted nothing to do with the food the possum left behind — asking for a bit of fresh food on a clean paper plate. Once all the snacking was over, Carl went to sleep on the hood of Paula’s SUV and Patsy possum stayed away ... until the next late night’s visit.