SEC Football

Auburn fans roll trees following spring game

by The Associated Press

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn fans said goodbye to the two oak trees at Toomer's Corner with one more toilet paper celebration following the spring game on Saturday.

An A-day-record crowd of 83,401 watched the Orange team defeat the Blue squad 35-14 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Gus Malzahn's first spring game since he was hired to coach the Tigers. Thousands of fans then made their way over to drape toilet paper over the two frail, poison-infested oaks in a tribute that was more celebratory than somber.

"There's more to Auburn than two oak trees, revered and sturdy as they are," retired athletic director David Housel said. "These oak trees are but an outward visible symbol of the Auburn heart. ... This is a day of celebration and remembrance."

The spring game included 164 all-purpose yards and a touchdown by junior college transfer Cameron Artis-Payne, and Jonathan Mincy was ejected for a "targeted hit above the shoulders" on wide receiver Dimitri Reese.

Longtime Alabama fan Harvey Updyke Jr. pleaded guilty on March 22 to poisoning the Toomer trees after the 2010 Iron Bowl, when Cam Newton led Auburn to the national title — and an Iron Bowl comeback from a 24-0 deficit.

The trees will be cut down Tuesday, and officials unveiled a plan on Saturday to renovate Toomer's Corner that is expected to be completed next year.

"Something doesn't have to be old to be a tradition," said Bill Stone, the president of the Auburn Alumni Association. "We'll be here and we're gonna roll and roll and roll this corner just as we always have and just as we always will."

Toomer's Corner is the bustling connecting point of campus and community, where Toomer's Drugs serves up lemonade and lunch at the old-fashioned counter and the trees serve as a gateway.

The celebratory rollings date back at least 40 years, starting with the now-underground wires that used to criss-cross the corner and switching to the trees some three decades ago, according to Housel.

A system of wires crossing the street will replace the trees as a temporary solution for postgame celebrations in a tribute to the old days.

Harrison Mills, the president of Auburn's student government association, said the Samford Park renovation will improve the openness, accessibility and accommodations for fans.

There were plenty of celebrations at Toomer's Corner when Malzahn was the offensive coordinator at Auburn from 2009-11. He came back to the school after Gene Chizik was fired following a 3-9 season.

Malzahn, who received a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually, said Saturday he and his team are going to give fans a reason to once again shower the corner in toilet paper.

"Here's the plan in the fall: to give the Auburn family numerous opportunities to roll these trees," Malzahn said to a roar of applause.



More Sports

Shooting suspect arrested

Teen charged in Glenn Street incident

An 18-year-old man suspected of shooting another man in the chest last weekend was arrested by authorities with the Newnan Police Department ... Read More


High School Baseball

Johnson sharp as Cougars shake off rust in win

Newnan may have needed three innings to shake off the rust in Friday’s 6-2 road win over Chapel Hill following a six-day layoff. But j ... Read More


Vikings rout Dutchtown; Indians fall to Starr’s Mill

Northgate improved its record to 2-2 Friday with a 12-1 victory over Dutchtown on the road Friday in McDonough in a game called after six in ... Read More


High School Spring Sports

Northgate drops tennis openers to Starr’s Mill

After having matches rained out twice earlier this week, Northgate tennis teams finally got their season under way Thursday, losing to tough ... Read More


GISA state basketball

Hawks, Lions bow out in first round

Heritage School and Trinity Christian boys teams had respective 2014-15 basketball seasons come to an end in the opening round of the GISA C ... Read More

High School Soccer

EC gets back on field in split with Houston Co.

Mother Nature hasn’t been a best friend to East Coweta soccer teams so far this season. Despite starting the year nearly three weeks a ... Read More