With more than a hundred fans on hand and a spectacular Tiger Prowl bus to take the coaches back to Auburn Monday night and to Montgomery, Birmingham, and Huntsville in the coming days, Luper said it was a great start to what should be an exciting for everyone involved.
"This was phenomenal today," Luper tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "I think we made nine stops. We got to see a lot of people and meet a lot of people. Some of the people we met last year and we got to see them again. Anticipation had been growing on both sides with our staff and the people within the state. It's a win-win for everybody."
A side view of the Tiger Prowl bus.
Making virtually a clean sweep of Mobile and Baldwin county schools, Auburn's coaching staff was hoping to build on the momentum created by last season's inaugural Tiger Prowl that created a storm of momentum as it went throughout Alabama. Luper said just getting ready to get back on the road has made for some anxious times and he's glad to be back on the prowl again.
"It's fun," Luper said. "Last year we didn't know what to expect, but this year there is some expectation. We kind of know what it's going to be like when we walk into schools. There are principals and assistant principals and administrators and city councilmen and mayors just depending on the school. It's just an opportunity for people to get to know the Auburn Family and for us to get to know them."
A full view of the Tiger Prowl bus
The biggest difference this year is the addition of a huge bus that is decorated from end to end with Auburn memorabilia including photos of Walter McFadden, Antonio Coleman, Chris Todd and Ben Tate as well as Aubie. Luper said that was just something they thought would be a great addition to the second year of the prowl.
"We wanted to do something to give back to our fans," Luper said. "Obviously we can come out at night and bring this RV out at night and have a little fundraiser. The people from Tigers Unlimited came and other sports come. We want people to know that it is the Auburn Family. We have coaches from different sports and we'll do this every night in a different city. It's our way of giving back to the fans. We want to be within an arm's reach of our fans. We want them to know us intimately and if they want pictures and autographs we're here for them."
Jay Boulware (left), Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor (right) visit with former Auburn coach Jimmy Perry (third from left in white shirt). He's now the head coach at St. Paul's.
After the long day of visiting schools, everyone will ride the bus back to Auburn on Monday night before hitting the road again Tuesday morning. The day will end in Montgomery, just the halfway point of what Luper is predicting to be a great week for Auburn.
"We'll be in Montgomery tomorrow night and Birmingham on Wednesday night and we will be in Huntsville on Thursday night," Luper said. "I don't know all the sites just yet, but it won't be long. If you draw a line down the state from North to South you would draw it through those four cities. That's where we're going to be.
"Our objective is still the same, to get out and evaluate as many players as we can," he added. "In this state we want people to know that the State of Alabama is the most important to us as far as recruiting is concerned. We want to meet as many people as we can so they can feel comfortable with us and Auburn and about coming to Auburn."
The Tuesday event with the coaches is set for 6-8 p.m. outside the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery at the Exchange Patio adjacent to Tallapoosa Street.
The Wednesday event in the Birmingham area will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham off Cahaba Valley Road (exit 246 on I-65). Admission is free.
On Thursday from 6-8 p.m. Auburn fans in the Huntsville area can meet with the coaches at the Madison Markets shopping center at 97 Hughes Road in Madison.