The Dye-Gest: Time to Celebrate But...

College Football Hall of Fame Coach Pat Dye writes about the 2010 national champion Auburn Tigers and the challenge for 2011. He also answers questions from readers in this week's Dye-Gest.

The celebrating for Auburn's football national championship will be about over after Saturday's ceremony to honor the team at Jordan-Hare Stadium. After that there will be a championship ring presentation and a trip to the White House.

Right now the challenge for Coach Gene Chizik and his staff is to put all the celebration behind them because I think they have one of the toughest jobs in front of them that any Auburn coach has ever had to get everyone focused again on the task at hand of getting ready for a new season and a really challenging schedule the 2011 Tigers will face.

The coaches and their 2010 players achieved so much through an intense work ethic and tending to their business year-around while taking care of the details. Now that they are national champions, the coaches will be No. 1 on the speakers list and people will be pulling at them from everywhere to do this and do that. The demands on their time are going to be considerable, particularly on head coach Gene Chizik who will have an unbelievable amount of pressure put on his time.

I hope Auburn people realize that these coaches have a job to do and it is not speaking to and entertaining fans or alumni, or being entertained by those same people. That is certainly part of the job for the coaches when they are doing their speaking engagements for the university and the Auburn Alumni Association, but fans need to give them their space to do what they need to do to get the 2011 ready to play.

The Tigers are losing a lot of outstanding seniors and leaders. It will take a lot hard work, time and dedication to build what will be a different looking team for the coming season.

I know people will be tempted to wine and dine the coaches or get them to go play golf or take them fishing. It's human nature for Auburn people who love their university, and who have good intentions, to want to do that for them, but what they need to do is to let their coaches be coaches. They have enough to do on their own with their jobs and spending time with their families and their players.

Auburn has a football coaching staff that is as good as anybody's in America, and probably better. Auburn just won a national championship through a lot of hard work and dedication by a coaching staff that took care of the little things. Hopefully, they will be allowed to do the same thing this year.

The mailbag: Letters to Coach Dye on his column about the Tigers winning the BCS title:

Coach Dye,

That was a great article you wrote on the autigers.com website. It really hit home to me.

My Dad, Oscar Burford, played on the 1936-1939 Auburn team. I have been going to games since the mid 60s, and I was fortunate to be in Auburn while you were the coach in the 80's.

It was great win for Auburn and a special moment in Auburn history, and it just feels so great to be an Auburn Tiger. I cannot wait to get up there this weekend for the celebration.

Thanks for everything coach.

Scott Burford

Class of '85

I appreciate your letter Scott. It was a great season for the Tigers and a great win in the BCS Championship Game for the current players and coaches, the former players and fans who really enjoyed watching the 2010 develop over the course of the season. The Tigers played a lot of great football throughout the season and we will remember this team for years to come.


Coach:

You are definitely a part of the foundation laid years ago that has enabled the Auburn Tigers to be where they are today and I thank you for your dedication and service to Auburn University. I appreciate what Coach Chizik and players have accomplished this magnificent football season. As part of the Auburn family, we are "ALL IN" as one being #1.

Thank you, sir. Let's all keep the magic going!!!!

Tom Norman

Dothan, AL

AU Grad 1976 and 1979

Tom, there was no doubt the fans were "all in" for this year's team. The number of Auburn people who followed the Tigers to Arizona was mind-boggling. I know the players appreciated that.


Coach Dye,

I saw you article online concerning your pride in the AU win. Congratulations! It has been fun to watch Auburn this year. They tore up my alma mater, Arkansas State, in the season opener.

I don't expect you would remember me from your recruiting days as an Alabama assistant, but I was in the same class as Wilbur Jackson (academically, not as a ball player) in Ozark. You used to come around all the time and made many of us feel like we were special. I never expressed my appreciation for that. Please accept my thanks for what you did for all of us during that period. The confidence you and others like you instilled in us individually and as a group has had positive effects for decades.

Andy Haney

Carroll High School

Class of 1970

Thanks for the kind words Andy. Wilbur Jackson was a great player and I enjoyed visiting Ozark. There are a lot of terrific folks in that area.


Coach Dye:

I read your article about the BCS victory for Auburn University and was pleased to share in the joy you feel. I am a UK fan, but also a fan of all SEC football. Therefore, I was pulling for Auburn and equally pleased when they accomplished the goal countless teams set out for themselves every year.

Your article exudes the grace you blessed the Auburn sidelines with during your tenure. I agree the national championship was long overdue for this fine university and would have only been more pleased with the outcome if you had hoisted the trophy January 7th in Glendale, AZ.

Many have said UK basketball fans truly appreciate the game. Well, this UK football fan can not only appreciate the game, but those who respected and honored it.

You set that example and laid the groundwork for my generation to feel this satisfaction with the Auburn University family.

Age gracefully and with honor, old warrior.

Your memory lives on!

David Taylor

UK fan

Louisville, KY

The SEC is a tremendous league with so many great players and coaches. I think it is the most entertaining conference in college sports and I don't know of any league that is more competitive in football and the same is true in other sports, too.

Your Kentucky Wildcats gave Auburn a terrific game this year in Lexington. I was very impressed with your team's offense and Auburn had to reach down for something extra to get home from Kentucky still undefeated.


Pat, your article, "All In" Tigers Go all the Way', was well written. Your article summed up what so many of Auburn University's fan base and alums have felt. We are so happy the BCS national football championship is Auburn's!!! As you well know, the program has been so close but so far away (if that makes sense?). You aptly wrote about how Auburn alums' feeling. The football program has been storied but has never achieved the National Championship since sharing it with Ohio State in 1957. Thank you for expressing your joy and your service.

As a caveat, I have always admired you and wanted to say thank you for coaching the Auburn football athletes during your tenure.

All the best!

Arthur J. Stein, Auburn University Alum 1973

Arthur, I loved my time as head coach of the Tigers for many reasons. Auburn is truly a great university filled with special people and I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be a part of that. Coach Jordan's 1957 team was truly a special one and he had other great teams in that time period when the Auburn program was a strong as any football in the program in that era. When those teams put on the Auburn jersey, you knew that whoever they played was going to having its hands full that day.

(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 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 at Georgia and one of the top head coaches in SEC history at Auburn who was also head coach at East Carolina and Wyoming, Dye participates in the Legends Poll, a Top 25 rating of the best teams in college football as determined by a panel of all-star former head coaches. Dye writes three columns a week--The Dye-Log, the Dye-Gest and Pat's Picks.


Pat Dye's Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Lodge

Pat Dye's Quail Hollow Gardens

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