Clint Myers (above) gets a hug from Auburn soccer coach Karen Hoppa.
Auburn, Ala.--After finishing just short of winning the College Softball World Series on Wednesday night, the Auburn Tigers got a warm welcome back at their home park on Thursday evening after returning from Oklahoma City.
The night before Jane B. Moore was packed with fans cheering for the Tigers as they lost 2-1 to Oklahoma in the national championship game being played 800 miles away from Auburn.
Clint Myers said when he saw a photo of the scene it moved him like few things have in his coaching career. “Two thousand fans here cheering to an empty field, that is just simply amazing. For me and these young ladies, I can’t say thank you enough.”
The Tigers finished the best season in school history with a 58-11 record and another SEC Tournament title. Myers called the 2016 Auburn team a “very, very special” one and said, “For one last official time we will be together, we will always be family and you will always be in my heart. Thank you for a great year. You guys have made me a better coach.”
Auburn players listen to a speech from their head coach on Thursday.
All-American senior second baseman Emily Carosone told the crowd, “I want to say thank you for all of you guys out here. We came up a little short and it wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but you guys being here still supporting us means the world to the 10 seniors and the 30 girls on the team. As you can tell, Auburn softball has gotten better each year with Coach Myers. With the seniors coming up next year I know they will lead us to victory with one more win.”
Another senior, Lexi Davis, the all-time winningest pitcher in AU history, also thanked the fans. “To have 2,000 in our stadium watching us on our big screen is incredible,” she said. “This season would not have been possible without all of you. We love you and thank you for all of your support for my four years.”
“We love you, our Auburn family,” she added, noting how much the crowds have grown the past three seasons since Myers arrived. “Thank you and War Eagle.”
More than 1,000 fans welcomed the Tigers back to campus on Thursday evening.
Junior All-American third baseman Kasey Cooper said the players were aware of the support they were getting back home and in
Oklahoma City where the team was greeted with a Tiger Walk before each of their six games in the World Series.
“That is something that can’t be replaced,” she said. “It is something that shows you what type of community Auburn is and how they support their athletes.”
Senior left fielder Tiffany Howard said her college softball experience was a great one, especially playing for Myers and coming so close to winning the national championship losing the best two-of-three series 2-1 to Oklahoma with two one-run losses.
“I will definitely remember all three of those games we played and battling our butts off, and playing with the senior group and all of the memories we made--everything we have done together and every big moment. I will never forget the feeling or anything.”
Auburn’s athletic director, Jay Jacobs, had praise for the players, especially the ones who put on their Auburn uniforms for the final time on Wednesday night. “For you seniors, I don’t want you to forget about all the great plays you made,” he said, noting they made the back-to-back trips to the World Series possible.
Jacobs said the players are worthy of respect. “We are all better from watching your resiliency and your commitment to excellence.”