More than 100 members of the Auburn athletics staff completed the sixth annual Tigers Give Back Day on Wednesday at seven different service locations in the Auburn/Opelika area, including head football coach Gus Malzahn playing a game of hurry-up, no-huddle Bingo with residents at Oak Park Retirement Home.
“The idea all started a few years ago when our student-athletes made a commitment to do more in community,” Director of Community Relations Latisha Durroh said. “(Athletic Director) Jay (Jacobs) wanted the department to help honor that commitment so we started the event for that purpose.
“As a staff, we get just as much out of it. We provide a lot of different options for staff members so that they can give back in different ways. We are glad to give back to the Auburn community that gives so much to us. Specifically, I know it meant the world for Coach Malzahn to come visit the residents at Oak Park.”
Members of the Auburn volleyball, equestrian and gymnastics coaching staffs spent Wednesday morning cleaning up the bike trail Chewacla State Park. Auburn staff members constructed the trail in 2012.
“As coaches, we strongly encourage our student-athletes to give back, and they do meet the challenge, so it is fun for the coaches and staff to be able to give back as a team,” equestrian head coach Greg Williams said. “It is a great program that I think all university groups would enjoy doing.”
Malzahn served as a Bingo caller for the second straight year, this time at Oak Park.
Several administrators as well as members of the Auburn compliance staff volunteered their time with Habitat for Humanity working on a new home in Opelika.
“We had a great group that did a ton to paint and help get this house ready,” Executive Director for Lee County Habitat for Humanity Mark Grantham said. “It’s a very important step as we finish this phase and continue progress on the house. They helped us as we get it ready for the future owners and the family was actually able to come out and meet the volunteers, so that was exciting.
“The owners were very appreciative and we really appreciate the athletic department and Auburn University for all the support they provide.”
Also, at least 30 staff members spent time both in the morning and afternoon at the Boykin Community Center with the Head Start program.
Members of the sports medicine staff retouched fences at Kiesel Park, while other staff members spent their mornings landscaping at Pine Hills Cemetery or volunteering their time at the United Way in the afternoon.