Your Auburn Dads (2013) – Part 2

Part two of this year’s edition of Your Auburn Dads (much longer than part one because of a few stragglers), is just as good as its predecessor. We’ve got the guy who turned the hoses on the Dawgs, a guy you may have noticed in a video of a pretty old Auburn highlight, and many other just plain and awesome Auburn dads. Let’s get to it.

Auburn dad 2“The man didn’t start out an Auburn dad. He didn’t graduate from Auburn. He never took a class on the Plains. He married a girl from North Alabama, an Auburn fan, but a graduate of UNA, and they settled down.

The man was an East Tennessee native. He graduated from the University of Tennessee. He loved sports; ate, drank, and breathed them. He wrote about sports and talked about sports and reported on sports. The man made a living out of sports.

The man had visited Auburn many times. He had visited that other place in West Alabama, too, but always thought there was something quaint about the Loveliest Village.

The man met Shug Jordan. He knew Pat Dye. He knew that other guy that wore houndstooth hats and respected him as a coach, but the man’s view through his orange-colored glasses wouldn’t allow him to be a fan of that other school.

The man’s wife loved Auburn. She regretted that she never attended school there, but cheered for the Tigers every year, so the man liked Auburn, too. He figured any shade of orange was always better than any shade of red.

The man and his wife started a family. Their first child, a daughter, was born in the thick of the 1989 football season. That was a good year for Auburn, and for the man and his wife, too.

The man probably wished he could have watched a little boy take to the gridiron, but he taught his daughter to play anyway. He taught her about football and helped her play basketball. He watched her play soccer, and together, they had baseball. Lots and lots of baseball.

Sometimes the daughter listened to the man. Sometimes she didn’t. There were skinned knees and battered elbows. There were wins and there were losses. There were smiles and there were tears. There were always hugs. There were always pats on the backs. There were always “I’m proud of you, baby”s.

The daughter got older, but she never stopped loving sports. Even when she didn’t play anymore, she watched. She worked. She did the PA for high school baseball games, and she knew how to score a game better than the boys. This made the man happy.

Auburn dadWhen the daughter was ready for college, she almost went to a school that didn’t have football. The man got scared. Eventually, the daughter decided to go to Auburn instead, and the man breathed a sigh of relief. The daughter just loved sports too much.

The daughter started working in sports, like her father once had. She wrote about sports and talked about sports and reported on sports.
She thought she might make a living out of sports.

Five years later, the daughter graduated, and with that, her first job in sports was ending. The daughter knew she would miss that part of sports. It was in her DNA.

As the daughter closed the door on one chapter and began to open a new one, she breathed a sigh of relief because she knew what she would do when she missed sports too much.

After all, the man was always just a phone call away.” –Mae Margaret Davis

“There are lots of memories. Vague recollection of the magnitude of the ’89 Iron Bowl, family trips to bowl games: Shreveport, La vs. Army in ’96(?),Peach Bowl vs. Clemson in ’97. Seeing Tubbs’ first game in the very upper deck for ’99 Appalachian State game (think we sat two rows from top, but on side of Ronney Daniels’ late TD catch).

I remember the whole family tension in the living room during the ’01 Florida game, think I was picking at the carpet. When work permitted I would rush to my parents’ house to watch games with the family huddled around the TV (creating insane superstitions like lucky shirts, hats and where to sit).

Dad was a football official for many years so he was familiar with the plays, rules, penalties and interworkings of the game. I always felt like I was more informed than others about what was going on during games like we were in the coaches box or something. People would always ask if I was going to the bar to watch the game and then were surprised when I was going home, but it was where was I wanted to be. Not only because you tend to get weird looks at a public place when you jump around with jubilation or throw things in disgust but I wanted to be with and watch the game with Dad. We went to the West Virginia game in ’09, my brother was student then.

I will never forget going into stadium and Dad commenting on the storm clouds on the horizon, “Those don’t look good”. This was coming from man who had seen many hurricanes living in Florida years before. Then moments later, a torrential downpour of an almost painful rain came, we evacuated to the concourse thru the rain flooding down the steps of Jordan Hare and waited till the all clear and the game began. Then perhaps the funniest game I ever seen live. Everybody was soaking wet and seemed to cheer little bit louder. Big shout out to Dan and the rest of the students who didn’t leave their seats and sang along to the Creedence (even the shakers had rain water pouring out of them).

Fast forward to 2010 and Auburn clinches the west. I knew we had to go to get tickets. I was able to find some online and the 3 Moss men went to Atlanta. Many memories stem from this game but most vivid is the dome crowd revving up for the start of the 3rd quarter and Auburn to kick off when Dad predicted “If we can come out and stop them, get the ball and score a touchdown, we win the ballgame”. I smiled and knew this was true, not because of Cam or Nick or the magic that was that year but because Dad said.

Just like clockwork we stopped them, got the ball back and scored a touchdown. From that point on was the least nervous I have ever been for football game. We won and I knew I already had plans for the evening of the BSC Champ game. I won’t go into the snow covered January 9th night leaving work sliding around north Alabama roads trying to get to my parents’ house knowing there is no place else I would rather be the next day.
War Eagle, and Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, Rod Moss.”-Ben Moss

“My Auburn dad? Where to begin? Paul Conner and his wife, Dixie, came to Auburn in 1955 and never left. My dad began working for university research almost immediately. He and my mom and my two older sisters first lived in a little house across from the War Eagle Supper Club where he bussed tables.He was an older graduate in the famed class of 1957, already a two time father and Air Force veteran who was able to attend college on the GI bill.

When I was a little girl, he would buy one extra football ticket outside the stadium at home games and he and my younger sister and me would squeeze into the two staff tickets he received as a assistant professor, while my mom worked Saturdays managing a local ladies clothing store.

photoWhen Pat Dye came to Auburn my mom was already a full time “secretary” at the athletic department. He soon named her business manager and shortly thereafter hired my father as assistant athletic director for facilities. Dad had made a name for himself as a turf grass expert and he took a sabbatical from teaching in Industrial Arts to redo the turf at Jordan Hare. He never went back to teaching. The ten years he worked under Coach Dye were his heaven.

In addition to taking the field down to the original track, he planted the hedges, the flower beds in the corners, he was all over that stadium every game day doing grunt work no one can imagine, all the while eating, sleeping and breathing every down and snap. He himself turned the sprinklers on Georgia in ’84 (nothing stinks worse than a wet Dawg)!

My dad retired from the AU Athletic Department in 1990. He is 83 now and in a chair, unable to walk. He attended Auburn games until he could no longer make it down the steps to his seat. He still listens to every down of every game, win or lose.

My dad epitomizes every word of the Auburn creed, especially the part about hard work. Coach Dye always said that was one of the reasons he always related to daddy, because they grew up on farms and knew about hard work. My dad has worn his body out doing what he loved, for a school and a town and a family he loves.

Other than his faith and family, my dad loves Auburn most of all. Being an Auburn man defines him. He has given to and served and loved Auburn and all it means for almost 60 years now. He has earned two Auburn degrees and paid for, or assisted in paying for, 11 others. We are an Auburn family, led by a true Auburn man. Our Auburn dad, Paul Conner.”–Susan Hawkins

“My dad ventured out of North Carolina in the early 80s to attend vet school at Auburn. Being a native of NC, he was looking for a great school to pursue his passion so once he finished his degree at NC State, he headed south to the plains. Thank goodness he did, because there he met my mother, an education major at Auburn. The rest is history but along with my mother, he raised a beautiful orange and blue, Auburn lovin’, family (in NC).

I am one of four children and we were raised from day 1 (actually, in the womb) in Jordan-Hare stadium. My older sister and I only applied to Auburn (paid little attention to NC schools) and both proudly graduated from AU. There was never a question in my mind where I would pursue my college degree. My younger sister just graduated this spring from Auburn and starts vet school at Auburn in the fall (to carry on the family business) and my younger brother just graduated from high school and will be a freshman at Auburn in the fall. 6/6 is pretty impressive, I’d say!

IMG_3662We were all together in Glendale when we won the National Championship, all felt heartbreak over the Toomer’s tragedy and we all embody and live the Auburn Creed. I’m 24 years young but can proudly say with sincere confidence that choosing Auburn as my college is the first best decision I ever made. I am so thankful that my dad chose to attend Auburn for vet school and I am so blessed for all the ways he is in Auburn man and how he raised us to be true Auburn men and women. Our blood really does run orange and blue.” –Annie Foster

“My dad graduated from Auburn in 1972. He took a job in Atlanta after that and lived there for the rest of his life. Despite being born and raised in Georgia, I was able to pass up the Hope scholarship and attend Auburn myself – thanks to my dad. He was the greatest Auburn man I have ever known.

He took me to my first football game, not at Jordan Hare, but at Bobby Dodd. I witnessed “Bye Bye Bo” live and in color. I was hooked ever since. He taught me that Auburn was not only a place, but a way of life…a way of treating people. He had this record of the radio broadcast of “Punt, bammer, Punt”. We would listen to it before every game. I even called home from Auburn and he would play it over the phone before I walked over to the game.

The day I moved in my freshmen year, he took me to Toomer’s Drugs (it was still a drugstore back then). He told the old man at the counter that his dad had an account for him with Toomer’s Drugs when he was in school and would like the same for me, if it was possible. The man wrote my dad’s name down along with mine on a scrap piece of paper, they shook hands, and we walked out. Once on the sidewalk, my dad said to me “Son, this is probably the last place in America that we can do what we just did.” This was in the fall of 1996.

The last time I spent any time with him before he died in May of 1998, was at the A-Day game in late April of that year. I played high school football against Jeff Klein – and he was taking snaps at QB. The game was free back then, we just walked right in. After that we got a steak at Nimrod’s and he headed back. It was one of the best days and the last that I would truly spend with him.

He missed the fun of 2004 and the pure joy of 2010. Both of those seasons, for me, would have only been better if I was able to share them with him.” –Geoff Cannon

image“My daddy graduated from Auburn University in the 50’s with a business degree. He attended UF in the beginning, but didn’t like being a Gator, so he came over to the good side! Ha!

My sister and I were raised to be Auburn fans. My baby bib had the old Auburn Tiger on it that said ,”I’m a little Auburn Tiger!” Growing up, he took us to the home football games,, a 4-hour drive from where we live in Florida. The whole family would have such a good time!

Even in high school and college, I continued attending games with Daddy and cheering on my (our) Tigers, boyfriends in tow! Converted one of those boyfriends into a lifelong Auburn fan, too!

One day Daddy said to me,, “You ought to go to an SEC basketball tourney with me one year.” I think my reply was something like, “Not ever!” Let me tell you, he finally talked me into going with him, and it was at Vandy the year Charles Barkley played for AU. I was HOOKED on HOOPS from then on, and since then, Daddy and I have gone to dozens of SEC basketball tourneys together.

Wonderful memories…..too many to list! He’s 83 and still drives 4 hours to AU football, basketball, and baseball games. He loves Auburn, everything about it, and everything it stands for, and I love this Auburn man for raising me to love Auburn, too!” –Janie Garlock Parker

“Gordy Bonner was a student at Auburn from ’83-’89. From the moment I was born I was part of the Auburn family because he gave me the middle name “Auburn”. Yes, I’m serious. My full name is Brice Auburn Bonner. My dad gave me the best gift ever just by naming me: the gift of loving Auburn.

Fun fact: my dad can also be seen in the YouTube video on the ’86 Iron Bowl jumping on Lawyer Tillman after he scores on the reverse (wearing the orange sweatshirt, khaki shorts and waving the towel around). Oh, my dad was also a manager for the football team while enrolled as a student.

Of course in 1983, Auburn won the SEC and my dad got a ring for being part of the team staff which he passed down to me this past fall. I love my dad and he’s my hero. He gave me Auburn. War Damn Eagle.” –Brice Bonner

“My Dad, David Dixon, is the reason that I not only love Auburn football but Auburn itself. He graduated from Auburn in ’79 with his freshman year being “Punt, Bama, Punt.” He then continued to attend every Iron Bowl until 2000 when back surgery kept him at home. Meanwhile, I was lucky enough to start my streak in ’93 (I was 8 yrs old).

imageTo this day, because of my father and my father’s father, I have had the privilege of attending every Iron Bowl since ’93 except for ’06 (Nix to Sanders is still my all time play). Besides Iron Bowls, my Dad has given me the opportunity to support the team I love through constant regular season games and bowl games. Being able to experience Glendale with my wife was nothing short of amazing, but that first game day experience with my Dad was what started it all. Sadly, because of my Dad’s Huntington’s Disease, he is not able to attend the number of Auburn games as he would like.

Still, my wife and I do the tailgate every week in the same spot that I was fortunate to grow up in. And when my dad does make it down to the greatest place on earth, it just makes it that much better. I love you Dad, and thank you for everything that you have done for me. Love, Cannon” –Cannon Dixon

“I’m sure most people who are tried and true Auburn fans, family or alum believe that their dad is the epitome of an Auburn Dad. Well, I guess I am one of “those” people. To other devoted Auburn families this may be nothing unusual, but to me this story is about an ideal example of an Auburn Man and Dad. My daddy truly bleeds orange and blue. His name is Don Voce and he is a proud graduate from the school of architecture at Auburn University in 1962. He has a love and passion for Auburn that cannot and will not be extinguished.

From the time I could remember, he taught my sister and myself about the greatness of Auburn and its family. We were taken to football games, basketball games, and countless drives down his and my mom’s “memory lanes” at Auburn. He not only attended school there, but also began his beautiful life there when he met my mom (They married at the Lee County Courthouse). Eventually my parents started their little family when their first Auburn Tiger, my sister, was born (@ Lee County Hospital) and lived her first year of life in Auburn while my father finished obtaining his degree in Architecture and Design.

From there he went on to a successful career designing countless buildings and homes throughout Alabama. But the one thing most people know about my father is his affection for his beloved Alma Mater. His devotion lies so deep, that he refuses to own anything that could be close to the color red/crimson. But being the great dad he is, he bit his lip and still bought me that little red Honda that I eventually drove during my years attending AU (Of course I put an Auburn sticker on the window the minute I got the car home -and Dad helped me do it).

My Dad is a lover of all-things-Auburn. He keeps up with not only football and basketball, but can tell you pretty much anything related to all sports there from golf to track and field, swimming and diving and even the fishing team. He doesn’t care; he just wants to support anyone who is an Auburn athlete or student. He knows about scholars and distinguished alumni and is happy to tell you of the latest accomplishments from a member of the AU family. My dad revels in the successes of Auburn University on and off the field.DSCN0343Daddy doesn’t get the usual Father’s Day tie. He gets an Auburn shirt, jacket, hat, video, book etc. And he’s very happy as long as it’s orange and blue. One of his most prized possessions, especially now, is his very own Toomer’s Baby Oak tree we gave him one year for his birthday. Daddy lovingly waters it and protects it from critters by enveloping it in fencing until it’s bigger. In another year or so it should be big enough to roll after we demolish bama in an amazing victory.

Oh, and bama, I cannot forget to mention his complete and utter disdain and dislike (approaching hate) for bama. I can tell you of countless times his blood pressure was way too high thanks to a ridiculous comment or action by a bammer. He has dealt with many a bashing by bama fans, yet he always handles it with the class of a real Auburn Man. Trust me, children do learn by example and he and my mom are due credit for teaching me to act like an Auburn Lady when it comes to the relentlessness of the fans in red and white.

By far my dad is most proud of being a graduate and of the fact that I, his youngest daughter, am also a graduate of Auburn. Unfortunately my mother and sister were unable to complete their degrees due to different circumstances, but he is also very proud that all four of us can call ourselves Auburn Alumni. When I received my diploma in 1991, my parents gave me my AU class ring and my daddy hugged me then whispered in my ear, “Never take it off.”

These days I now understand, more than ever his depth of love and loyalty to our school. It’s something that’s hard for those outside of the Auburn Family to understand, but I am incredibly grateful to my daddy for introducing me to a city and school that is so much more to me and my family. Thanks to him and my mom, I am a graduate; married to an AU graduate and hope we have our own daughter enrolled at Auburn in the near future! Thank you Daddy for teaching me how to be an Auburn Tiger! I hope your love and devotion to Auburn will be handed down for generations to come. WAR EAGLE and Happy Father’s Day to the best Auburn Dad!” –Leigh Ann Underwood, ’91

“My Auburn Dad was an Alabama fan throughout his childhood and during high school. You would never know it now. He was actually accepted to the University of Alabama (or UAT as we call it) and was planning on attending. The summer before his freshman year, he went to a party at Auburn with a friend. And that, my friends, is all she wrote. My Dad knew that Auburn was where he was meant to be. My Dad was a KA at Auburn. My Auburn Dad met my Auburn Mom (an Alpha Gam) the summer before their junior year and married her the summer before their senior year. My Dad opened his first business in Auburn, a store a couple of doors down from Toomer’s.

My two sisters and I were raised in an Auburn family. My parents with there, both of my cousins went there. My grandparents were season ticket holders, as were my aunt and uncle. Our family went to several games each year-more as we got older of course. I ended up being my Dad’s only Auburn child through. Both of my sisters went to Ole Miss.

My Auburn Dad took my to my first Auburn football game when I was 7 years old. It was homecoming. Auburn was playing Cincinnati. We beat them 52 to 7. That was the beginning of a long standing tradition with my Dad. Each year we go to one game. We love it. Night games are our preference and we do everything we can to plan our game day around one of them. Next to Christmas Eve, my favorite day of the year is the day that my Dad and I go to an Auburn game-just the two of us. The 2013-2014 season will be out 28th year of this tradition.

photo-1We drive over to Auburn and park at the KA house. We tailgate there with his old fraternity brothers, listen to the music, eat fried chicken, and talk about the game. We leave, walk around campus, visiting other tailgates, watching the players do the Tiger Walk. We get to the stadium early-we both like to watch warm ups and the band march out and to see the Eagle fly. We eat hot dogs and drink cokes that might or might not have just a touch of bourbon mixed in.

The game ends and we walk with the rest of the Auburn family, all of us a huge sea of orange and blue, out of the stadium and back to our respective parking areas. If the game is an afternoon game, we’ll grill out with some friends, watching other SEC matchups. If it’s a night game, we will get in the car, go through the Krystal drive thru, turn the radio to the Auburn network to get the post game report, and start the almost two hour drive back home.

I live in New York City now and I have for the past four years. I still go home each year for a game with my Dad. I’m a full fledged adult, yet each year, during football season, I’m reminded of that first game that just my Dad and I went to and what a great day that was for me.

As always, it’s great to be an Auburn Tiger. I’m proud that my Auburn Dad, Ray Davis, raised me as one.” –Kristin Davis

“Dr. John Hodges Drake. Known as one of the greatest Auburn fans of all time. Auburn’s first football field was named after him in 1911, and he also was the first physician for the university. Who was he? He was my great great grandfather.

John Hodges Drake III was the college physician from 1873-1926 for Auburn and donated his land so that the football team could have its first game on it, your welcome :). Drake field today sits on the site of the student union at Auburn.

My great grandfather was a true Auburn man, which means more than just being a die hard AU fan. It has been recorded that in the dark American years of slavery, Drake and his wife brought families together who had been split up as slaves to work along side of Dr. drake and never for him. His wife also turned the home into a small school for the children.

Above all, my great grandfather loved God and left a vision for our entire family of what it looks like to be a true man of faith, family, and yes even a football fan.

So next time your on or drive pass Drake Avenue, remember the great auburn man who above all found his true purpose in life.” –John Pond

It may be a lot of copying and pasting and formatting, and I may have had to drive to McDonald’s to get WiFi to post it, but this “Your Auburn Dads” is one of my favorite things to do each year. I love hearing the cool stories you have about your dads. I love hearing about all the things your dads have done for you. It doesn’t take an Auburn man to be a great dad, but the ones that are do seem a little more special. Maybe I’m biased, well, yeah I am.

Thanks for everyone that sent something in. We’ll do it again next year.