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‘Who we are’: Tigers Give Back Day returns for 12th year

Auburn University Athletics
3-4 minutes

AUBURN, Ala. – At East Alabama Medical Center, 7 a.m. means shift change for the staff. Some nurses clock in to start their day while others clock out and head home. On Wednesday, those arriving and those departing were greeted with a surprise. 

Awaiting them outside the main door was Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene, head football coach Bryan Harsin and his assistant coaches, head women's basketball coach Johnnie Harris, as well as members of the men's basketball staff.  

The group provided Chick-fil-A biscuits, took pictures with everybody and lifted the spirits of the front-line workers who had been through so much the past two years. 

"It's awesome," Harsin said. "You go back the last couple of years and think about all that's happened. It's great to be here for a little pick-me-up, a well-deserved greeting and a thank you. It's what everybody thinks. We just get a chance to come here and do it physically and say it."

"After the year we had, it means a lot," added Harris. "We wanted to get out and show them that we appreciate them. They support us, and we want them to know we support them as well."

Harris, Harsin and Greene also visited with some of the patients at the hospital, giving them a reason to smile. One couldn't wait to tell everybody he knew about his encounter with the Auburn trio and show off his signed photo of Harsin while another celebrated his birthday with the men's basketball coaches who sang "Happy birthday" to him. 

"To go in there and meet a couple patients that are Auburn fans and going through some tough times, to lift their spirits – it's amazing how the positivity around someone can really help them in their healing or to give somebody a little spark to have a great day," Harsin said. 

The hospital visit was one of the many projects on Wednesday as part of the 12th Tigers Give Back Community Service Day and the first since 2019. 

"We have staff, coaches and student-athletes spread across our community today serving others," Greene said. "Auburn is special because people care so deeply, and our department plays a pivotal role in our vibrant community. Tigers Give Back Day is our way of showing gratitude to so many who help make Auburn tick."

  Tigers Give Back Day

There were football players helping stock food at the Food Bank of East Alabama. There were men's basketball players playing Bingo with the patrons at Oak Park Retirement Home. 

Other projects including cleaning up the grounds at Storybook Farms, helping build houses in conjunction with the Fuller Center, and spending time with those at the Bethany House. 

Some of the head coaches who took part were Harsin (football), Harris (women's basketball), Brent Crouch (volleyball), Mickey Dean (softball), Karen Hoppa (soccer), and Ryan Wochomurka (swim & dive), but it was a collective effort from the entire athletic department as a way to give back to the Auburn community. 

In total, nearly 150 Auburn Athletics staffers signed up to help. 

"That's what we do," Harris said. "And it's not just what we do, it's who we are. Auburn is a special place with special people, and we love giving back to the community that gives us so much."

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