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So what exactly is a FUR-man?

November 3, 2009

This Saturday marks the 83rd time the Auburn Tigers have taken the field for homecoming. Auburn’s first football opponent was Clemson, who graciously lost 13-0 on Drake Field – now the scene of a very rare on-campus parking lot for the student union. As hard as it is to imagine the City of Auburn and especially the campus without Jordan-Hare rising from the center, Auburn has played homecoming games in places like the Gump and Columbus, Georgia because we lacked facilities.

That is about the extent of Joe’s Auburn homecoming factoids. Your best source for Auburn homecoming notes are at the Auburn Tigers site. For those of you in-state (Alabama or South Carolina )on Saturday, your options to watch the game are of course, live or on pay-per-view.

Joe Auburn comes to the Plains by way of the Palmetto State and has some very real roots in the upstate area where Furman locates. Our neighbor was even a fullback for the Paladins, but I don’t remember if he faced off against the Tigers in the 1946, 1955 or 1956 games. Furman was further away from our home than the University of South Carolina and about the same distance as Clemson, but you would have never known it in the revolutionary war village of Ninety-Six. Furman was THE school on our street.

Furman began in 1826, making it the oldest, largest and most selective private institution in South Carolina. They moved the campus from Edgefield to Greenville in 1850 and again underwent change in the mid 1930’s when the nearby women’s college merged. The same year as the last football meeting with the Auburn Tigers, 1956, the University moved to the present-day, 750 acre campus just north of Greenville. The campus is anchored by a 30 acre lake and Bell Tower at the center and most folks in the surrounding area refer to Furman as, “The Country Club of the South.”

All students are required to live on campus, but as a senior you may win the lottery for a shot at living off campus. Seriously. There are over 3000 students on campus, and most of them will pursue post-graduate degrees. In fact, more Furman students will go on to earn their Ph.D.’s than from any other private liberal arts college in the South.

On the football field, the Paladins have a rich history of their own. The only national championship in school history came by way of the football team in 1988. They boast the most Southern Conference championships of any team in the league with 12 and along with Colgate, Lehigh and Richmond remain the only private universities that have appeared in the I-AA Football Championship game.

You would expect a liberal arts college to have a theatre and Furman certainly represents in this area. There is also an 18 hole golf course, but beyond those choices you’ll find yourself shifting your car into drive for the trip into nearby Greenville and beyond.

Fortunately, Joe Auburn was reared by Auburn alums and fans and our escape to the Plains was complete before my hometown could completely convert me. Aside from a whiff of nostalgia, Joe plans to represent the Auburn Family without a pang of regret this Saturday at homecoming.

War Eagle!


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