The news that the much-loved 22-year veteran of Auburn University football and basketball radio broadcasts died unexpected on May 15th after suffering a brain aneurism was shocking news. On Monday, Hubbard made his pick for the man to replace Fyffe when he announced that Rod Bramblett, best known as the host for the Tiger Talk radio show and as an Auburn baseball play by play announcer, would succeed Fyffe.
"I told Rod that it won't be easy replacing a legend like Jim Fyffe and he knows that there will be comparisons and that there will also be criticism," Hubbard says. "That was going to be the case no matter who we selected for the job. I told Rod that he will need to develop an extra layer of skin. I think he understands that."
Hubbard says he also told Bramblett that he has no doubts that the 1988 Auburn graduate can get the job done and do it well. "Rod is very talented at what he does," Hubbard says. "He does an extremely good job of painting a picture."
Bramblett was selected from an applicant pool that included NFL, college and high school play by play broadcasters. However, after taking some time to give the matter serious thought, Hubbard says he made the decision to stay in house and pick from the trio of Bramblett, Andy Burcham and Paul Ellen.
Burcham handles pay-per-view telecasts, teams with Bramblett on baseball and also calls women's basketball games. In addition, he is co-host of SportsCall with Bill Cameron in Auburn. Ellen, the play by play man when radio station WAUD in Auburn had the rights to the network in 1979 and 1980, has served as the Auburn Network studio host for football and games on his second stint with the network. Ellen, who runs a public relations agency in Atlanta, resumed work with the network in 1990.
"I think Andy and Paul are truly happy for Rod," Hubbard says. "We are blessed to have three great announcers in Paul Ellen, Andy Burcham and Rod Bramblett. Any one of them would do a great job, I believe. We have a group that works well together. They are all close friends."
Rod Bramblett interviews football coach Tommy Tuberville.
Bramblett says he appreciates the confidence that Hubbard has shown with the promotion and adds, "Personally, I was very happy with what I was doing. If if I didn't get it, that was fine. As the reality of the situation kind of set in, I realized over the weekend it would be me. There is a lot of nervousness and tension to go along with it. You are coming in after a great announcer in Jim Fyffe. It is important to not try to be like Jim or to copy Jim because he was one of a kind. It is a thrilling thing, but at the same you hate the situation in which you are getting the opportunity. The network crew is a tight-knit group. The loss of Jim was tough for us to take just as much or almost as much as his family and friends who listen to him."
Hubbard says he expected a lot of interest in the job, but says after literally getting job applications from the East Coast to the West Coast that even he was surprised. "This is obviously a big-league job," Hubbard says. "I don't think there is any doubt about it."
Tiger Ticket Extra: Auburn Network president Hubbard says he feels good about the decision on hiring Bramblett. "I am glad that I had a lot of time to think this through and not have to make an immediate decision and come up with a knee-jerk reaction. Rod has done a superb job for us with the network and I believe he will continue to do that for us in his new role. It is great to be able to reward someone in your organization who has worked so hard and done an excellent job as Director of Broadcast Services. He is loyal to Auburn, he has excellent knowledge of Auburn athletics and I think Auburn people will appreciate that."