AUBURN, Ala. — The tone and timing might have made it sound like a joke, but new Auburn athletics director Allen Greene sent a message Friday morning: A new standalone facility for Auburn football will be a high priority in his tenure.
“Coach Malzahn already hit me up for a standalone football facility, so I think that’s going to be on the docket,” Greene said with a smile in his introductory news conference Friday.
It’s no secret on the Plains that Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn wants a new facility for the football program, much like the state-of-the-art ones at schools such as Clemson, Oregon and Texas A&M.
Auburn football currently resides in the school’s athletics complex building, which was built in 1989. A new facility reportedly was a sticking point in Malzahn’s recent contract negotiations with Auburn.
Malzahn said he will talk more with Greene about a possible facility in the coming weeks. Greene takes over full-time as Auburn’s athletic director in February.
“We’ll sit down and we’ll talk about it — everything as far as football is concerned and all that, in due time,” Malzahn said. “We’ll talk about that. That was a joke we brought up as we were getting to know each other and all that. … I’m really excited to have Allen here. He’s going to do a super job.
“He’s got a dynamic personality. He’s got dynamic vision, for not just football, but Auburn athletics. I really feel like our students are going to be excited, our student-athletes are going to be excited, and it’s a great fit right now.”
Greene said he and Malzahn didn’t talk any specifics about a new facility, but he said it would be an early priority.
“We did joke about what it is that we’re looking forward to doing, and I think that’s a project we’re going to try to dig into a little bit deeper pretty soon,” Greene said.
At Buffalo, Greene helped an $18 million project for a new indoor football practice facility come to fruition. He spent most of his time at Ole Miss and his alma mater, Notre Dame, working in fundraising.
“Here, I know some of the facilities that are on the docket. I’ve seen kind of the long-range plan, but I’m going to sit there and evaluate it, talk to the staff, talk to the coaches and try to formulate a plan that the Auburn family can hit out of the box, then go and raise some money,” Greene said.
The former minor league baseball player says he sees the value of a successful football program to the entire athletics department, and he’s looking forward to helping Malzahn reach his goals at Auburn.
“You know, football is the driving engine of it all,” Greene said. “This is an enterprise, and it’s really important that football is successful. Something I appreciate with this opportunity is having a chance to sit down with Coach Malzahn. I think the world of him — incredibly humble, wants to win, wants to win the right way.”