Auburn’s Tiger Prowl draws hundreds to Verizon Wireless Music Center

Published 7:54 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Auburn University’s Tiger Prowl arrived at its final stop of the day Wednesday, April 28 at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham to a crowd of hundreds of cheering Tiger fans.

The recruiting vehicle, both figuratively and literally, and Tigers Unlimited tour stopped at local high schools in the area, including Hueytown, Hoover, Leeds and Minor.

Assistant football coaches arrived at the VWMC at 6 p.m. in a white Hummer, and new men’s basketball head coach Tony Barbee arrived shortly after in the school’s new luxury Tiger Prowl bus, which features large school photos and logos.

The coaches signed autographs and spoke with fans, many of which were elated to meet the coaches up close.

“We absolutely love Auburn football,” said Cindy Vaughn, a North Shelby resident who brought along her daughter, Cindy, who traveled all the way from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg to see the Prowl.

“We think the Tiger Prowl is such a great idea,” Cindy said. “We couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet the coaches.”

David Melton and Zeke Barry, 9, of Riverchase and granddad Danny Barry of Pelham came out just like they did for A-Day: to take in the Auburn experience.

“We’re excited even though we’re not being recruited,” joked Danny.

David said he was excited to meet the coaches, and he wanted to come out support what the effort is doing for recruiting and for the Auburn family.

“If I was a high school kid, I would be floored,” David said.

After last year’s Prowl, the Tigers finished with the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation.

“The turnout has been incredible,” said Auburn running backs coach Curtis Luper. “We’re overwhelmed by the Auburn family.”

Assistant head coach and receivers coach Trooper Taylor said he could not believe the reception he received at schools like Hueytown and Minor.

“A couple of the schools, it was like having a Tiger Walk,” Taylor said.

Although NCAA rules prohibit head and assistant coaches from direct contact with prospective athletes during this time period, assistant coaches are allowed to meet with high school coaches and administrators.

This year’s Prowl has included other sports’ coaches such as Barbee and stops for fans, which started in Mobile and has included Montgomery.

“We’ve hit the ground running,” said Barbee. “I’m humbled to be your coach at the best university in the state of Alabama. This is family.”