Listen: The Climb: Auburn Athletic Director Allen Greene
"We walk me back to reach the final hour of the program and shout out to our crew here. Uh in the last thirty minutes we have gone from being outside inside outside and inside again all all because it is summertime. No it's actually the fall but it feels like the summertime here in Auburn Alabama. Let me also welcome the Director of Athletes Alan Greenspan Alan considering. You're wearing snazzy so you're probably lucky to be inside outside one hundred degrees all day and I think I'm just going to throw all my calls away on the way home. I'm glad you've worked your weather magic. Yes nice being inside. It's great to have you in when you were introduced. not that long ago as as AH Athletic Director it was a significant moment historically and sometimes people look the other way when when we talk about the first this for the first step but I think it's also worth talking about Allen because we're what fifty the fiftieth anniversary of the integration integration of of integration in this thing and so many significant moments and there was this series that we have on Tuesday and a lot of attention has been paid to that glad that we've talked to Congress hallway other day was the first black quarterback in the SEC and he talked about the struggles even thinking about going to one school but he said coach Bryan told them Alabama may not be ready for that. These sound foreign to young people who don't know a world like that but it is. It's important to remember. It is thank you bring that up Paul. It's not lost upon me. I'm the first Black Catholic director Albany has ever had and although I see myself as just another aid like my colleagues I do have to at least understand that my skin's a little bit darker. I got a little more of a Tan than everybody else but we are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of integration in Auburn Athletics Alexander. I'm really truly humbled to be at Auburn at this time to be able to help celebrate this milestone and so all we can we're going to celebrate the integration and it just speaks volumes in my opinion of Auburn family and gives us a chance to just celebrate something. That's really important as we move forward in our country. Particularly I remember that time. You're too young and it was difficult because coach. I said something a minute ago. You said it was politically they difficult but for him growing up on a farm. It was not difficult at all but I'm I'm interested Allen in you. Have Young children seven seven seven year old senator in you have another one to have a twelve year old son Sammy and for for for Sammy Seneca what what does this mean to them because I don't remember well about one more who's fourteen and she's a freshman. Her name is Ryan and we try to help. Educate our kids about the differences the struggles that people of color have had throughout our country and it's not just people of color but those who are in the minority of those who have had a difficult time in navigating society diety across across the world and so we it's important that they understand that will drive through Birmingham or Montgomery there's a history their job to sell them for the summer for the first time in drove over Edmund Pettus first time a couple of weeks ago and the people that were gracious incredibly emotional for me and those are just things that we have to consider remember I'm from Seattle Washington so getting in and having that experience experienced down southbound. I watched it on TV and I watched it on the Internet and so but being here at Auburn his has helped me understand the real true through hearts of people in the south and we couldn't be we couldn't be happier to be here. I remember early in my career. I became very close. Translate with Tom. Ghassem who was one of the first to to be down here and he told me the stories of some of his friends one. I think it was a trailblazer basketball that had a tough time right and it was such an education and it still is it is it is but but I again like I gotTa tell people the I've told this to our fan base Auburn family has embraced Christie myself in our kids so much more when I ever thought and it's a it's a great community to be in. We are thriving. Everyone asks all the time. How you and your family doing work great. We love it here. In the family's van been very very welcome and embrace us with open arms and things seem to be going pretty well. You can just go right down the list of Sports Baseball Paul last summer basketball on and obviously things are looking up. I I realize good so it's funny. Someone told me Stat last year we were only the fourth school in Division. One history to winnable game goes to the final four college world series and one year and I said the fourth this year and they said no the fourth the fourth ever so we had a tremendous season last year. We had a national champion. Gymnastics are women's golf team went to the final four for we've. We've had a lot of success to build on and we certainly got enough to a hot start in football this year and we're really excited about that and robs. You really excited about what the future has force the rest of this fall since our really hot button questions ask you about personnel. I do want to ask you about the student athletes of today so much going on especially with the legislation in California mark talking about that today and and you know you because you talk to athletes every single day you go to practices you. Keep up with it. What do you hear from young people about where their sports are going yeah. It's it's interesting Paul. A lot of the concern for our student athletes is mental health in time demands. Those things haven't changed. I think we're we're a little bit of a different world now where student athletes and I guess millennials so to speak haven't really had to deal with coping right and and having to figure the things on their own and so we see that and you see that in our student athletes are member about five years ago. I didn't believe that there was actually mental illness. Why can't the kids just toughened up like we and we just battled getaway but it's a different environment and so we do all that we can try to to wrap our arms around our student athletes help give give them the skills necessary to be able to to cope and go through adversity and then also certainly from a time perspective helping them understand that in order to have a great student athlete experience they have to be more than just athletes they have to be students have to engage in our campus life and try to do something that's going to push them out of their comfort zone and just get to get to experience all that their universities have to offer. I was struck. I'll tell you I had the opportunity to speak to a journalism. I was in class and I've done this before and sometimes I walked away going. I'm not really sure about today's students. Today I walked away blown away by by everything about the young people in terms of their knowledge their awareness and I just I I I'm I'm really just so thrilled in the opportunity because I sometimes we don't give enough credit and and and I'm particularly interested in the coping part. I know this sounds a little heavy for a sports show. Why do you think having played intercollegiate athletics a couple years ago a couple of why why. Why do you think it is it? Is it different than it was when I don't know that things are any well yes. It's different social media media. We didn't have email back then. I'm dating myself but so social media's out. There are students in our young people in society ninety. Today in my opinion are a lot more a lot smarter right. They have so much more information but Tom Goss said this during lunch today just because they have all the information on their phones doesn't mean they have all the answers and I think it's our responsibility as adults to help them find those answers when they have when they have some sort of a struggle Ogle to help make the decision for them but to help guide them so that they can make the most appropriate decisions and allow in this tough for us because we're in such a competitive environment armant but people need to be allowed to fail and sometimes it happens on the field of play when you don't want to but we are so interested in preventing our young people from failing because we don't want to hurt them. They're actually probably do a little bit of a disservice so trying to find those environments where they can fail or they can learn. They can grow that will help also make them better people. That's that's what we're trying to do. What I sit here and listen to this you sit in these ivory tower positions TMZ which sometimes we we are in the director and say well he he'd better view this or that because the program is not being competitive you often forget. There is a a huge underbelly of all of this so what no there's no answer to these issues but How do you work on a daily consistent basis to deal with them? You've got really deep Paul one of the things I think what our coaches do. A great job of is really getting to know our student athletes elites and getting to know them as people whether it's doing ropes courses or just having them over their house for dinner really understanding where they came from what what makes them tick what makes them what do they respond to and then more importantly. Paul I think is the coaches understanding how they coach. One of Bar Coaches Mickey Dean our softball coach was talking to us as head coaches and said he takes the test so he knows how he coaches and he also takes has as their student athletes take tests and he realizes that there's sometimes when personalities don't match up and if the student athlete doesn't either move toward the coach or the coach doesn't doesn't more to move toward the student athlete kind of there's not much of twenty four success there so I think having some self awareness really really important and those types of things that we talk talk about as as head coaches and as administrators finally what you engine to lunch what what else is on on the schedule for the for the weekend. It's been a long one. Campus is a buzz right now funny enough. I actually saw some people. They weren't tailgating yet but they were setting up. It's an o'clock this this morning to get ready to set up for their tailgate. They said they were sitting in sweating this morning but we've got a ton of dedications a couple of dedications today. We dedicated eight at our barn today which was fantastic event. WE'VE got a couple of events this this evening to honor and celebrate the fiftieth anniversary surreal integration. We're going to have a little soiree at our house this evening with some special guests are gonna come over and then we meet with recruits all day tomorrow some more more celebrations and"