The GCAC conducted its fifth meeting of the year on October 20th, which featured guest speaker Jay Jacobs, Auburn Universities’ Athletic Director and Bruce Pearl, Head Basketball Coach of the Auburn Tigers.
Taylor Means, President, opened the meeting by greeting our guests and asking David DeMyer, membership chair, to provide his report. David reported that we have 89 members, a 10% growth from last year and he hopes to bring in #90 before the next meeting.
Taylor introduced Coach Ben Blackmon, who provided a brief update on Gulf Shores Athletics. Coach Blackmon’s Head Basketball Coach also spoke briefly.
Taylor asked Dec McClelland to introduce the two scholar student athletes being honored. Dec introduced Margret Lloyd and Ryan McIntosh. Both student participate in multiple sports and both want to become Pediatricians. Each athlete spoke, providing a brief background on themselves. And each thanked the club for honoring them. Both will be considered for the end-of-year scholarship.
The ever-funny Kevin Corcoran was the “master of ceremony” for the team reports and donned surgical gloves, gown and mask to present the crying towel to Texas A&M. Unfortunately no one was present to receive the infamous award.
Taylor returned to the podium to introduce the first guest speaker, Jay Jacobs. Under Athletics Director Jacobs’ leadership, Auburn Athletics has made major strides benefiting Auburn student-athletes, coaches and fans. The department has focused on five strategic goals during his tenure: winning, graduating student-athletes, managing the department's fiscal affairs, complying with SEC and NCAA rules and providing a positive game day experience.
Jay discussed his goal of “making Auburn the best place in the country for student athletes”, and provided an update on the increase in both the quality and quantity of facilities. His philosophy is to surround himself with those that care about nurturing the student athlete to be the best in all phases of their college experience.
Jay recounted his hiring of Bruce Pearl, the new basketball head, and believes Bruce has the commitment, energy and values needed to turn the struggling program around. Bruce’s background includesassistant coaching positions at Stanford and Iowa and head coaching positions at Sothern Indiana and Tennessee, where he took the Vols to six straight NCAA division I tournaments. After being fired from Tennessee for recruiting violations, Bruce worked for ESPN as an analyst. Bruce returns to the SEC and AU has high expectations for himand the team.
Bruce was most interesting and enthusiastic. He opened his remarks by asking the audience to forgive him for his transgressions at Tennessee. He talked about his philosophy of playing fast and pressing hard, and allowing his players to reach their potential by allowing them to make mistakes. He believes he has a winning formula, the right coaching staff, including bringing Chuck Person back to Auburn, and is scheduling tough road games early to prepare his players for a tough SEC schedule. Bruce ended in remarks by taking at least 30 minutes of questions.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm.