AUBURN, AL - Auburn head basketball coach Tony Barbee spoke and entertained 800 students for two hours at his inaugural BarbeeQ in the Auburn Arena on Thursday. The students were treated to a barbecue meal and pep talk along with music from DJ Hollywood, who will be performing at each game.
"It as a wonderful turnout," said Barbee. "The Auburn students are just as important to me as our leading scorer and our leading rebounder. We are all a part of one team. The students are vital to our success, and they will have the best seats in the house."
In a change from the past, Barbee announced to the students that all 1,500 students will receive free admission to games. He met for an hour with 50 student leaders on campus from the SGA, fraternities, sororities and non-Greeks prior to the start of the event. It included an informative question and answer session in which Barbee asked the leaders ways that he could improve the Auburn students* experience at games.
With the Auburn cheerleaders and Tiger Paws, the students lined up and entered the arena through their own entrance that they will be using for games. The barbecue dinner was served in the student only concession area as they gained their first taste of the new arena.
"I think it was really good that Coach showed his willingness and eagerness to come out and show his concern and support to really get the connection back between the team and the students,* said Josh Sells, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., who has been in the front row of the student section for the last three years.
"By Coach doing these appearances and meeting the students and getting their feedback, it will really go a long way in bringing back the connection between the fans and the team."
Barbee allowed the students to take a tour of the arena following the conclusion of the event and many were still shooting baskets in the main arena and in the practice gym an hour after the event.