What a day! I never suspected anything like that would happen. I think in the 32 years that I have been at Auburn, Saturday’s A-Day crowd is the greatest show of loyalty and Auburn spirit that I have seen.
The only other one that I would compare with it would be the ’89 Auburn-Alabama football game, and they had a real big reason to be here that day. Saturday was just the spring football game.
I realize that the rolling of Toomer’s Corner and the oak trees played a part in it, but I don’t think that was the major reason more than 83,000 fans showed up at Jordan-Hare Stadium. I think they wanted to come and display their loyalty and love of Auburn University and it’s a compliment to Gus Malzahn, his coaching staff and the players with what has taken place at Auburn over the past four months or so.
I was in awe watching the crowd fill the stadium on Saturday. I was down on the field before the game and the sides were filling up. I left about 15 minutes before kickoff and by the time I got to my seat the bottom part of the stadium was full. By the end of the first quarter the whole stadium was full.
I am sure there have probably been similar displays of support by fans at sporting events, but it would be hard to beat what we witnessed at Jordan-Hare Stadium, and that is exciting for the Auburn football program.
A crowd of 83,401 attended Auburn's A-Day contest on Saturday.
There has been a lot of support for Gus since he was hired in December to lead the Tigers. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about that because that is the way it was for me when I arrived in Auburn as head coach prior to the 1981 season.
I came in under different circumstances following a much longer coaching search than the one that Gus was a part of, but the Auburn Family embraced me from the first day and I am sure a lot of the fans had no idea who I was.
After waiting a month for a decision to be made, I am sure they were hungry to get their new coach on board and see him and his assistants get to work building the type of football program that is expected at Auburn.
I would say the turnout for this year’s A-Day Game shows that Auburn fans are as hungry as ever to see their Tigers have success.
(If you have a question or a subject you would like me to write about in future columns, you can email it to PatDye@autigers.com.)
Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of columns that College Football Hall of Fame member Pat Dye is writing for AUTigers.com about the game he played and coached. An All-American player at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn, he also served as a head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye writes three columns for AUTigers.com--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat’s Picks.
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