The new Voice of the Auburn Tigers, via marriage, has ties to Eufaula.
Andy Burcham’s wife, Dr. Jan Gunnels Burcham, once taught at Western Heights Elementary School, now Eufaula Primary School. She taught at Western Heights for five years beginning in 1985.
“It was a wonderful and exciting time, and I cherish the friendships and memories I have from my time in Eufaula,” Gunnels told the Tribune. “I stay connected with some of my closest friends who still live in Eufaula as well as many former students and their families.”
Dr. Jan Gunnels Burcham holds two degrees from Auburn University and is the Moselle Fletcher Endowed Chair and Associate Dean for the College of Education and Health Profession at Columbus State University.
Andy Burcham was named Auburn University athletics’ new lead broadcaster on Monday, just before his familiar voice was re-introduced to the airwaves at a press conference in the athletics complex.
Burcham has been a part of Auburn radio broadcasts for the past 31 years, and will now serve as the lead play-by-play announcer for Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball.
He replaces his dear friend, Rod Bramblett, who passed away with his wife Paula, on May 25 in a fatal car wreck that shook Auburn.
“Auburn means a great deal to me,” Burcham said behind the podium. “And I understand that this job is not just the voice of Auburn football, men’s basketball and baseball: It’s a voice for Auburn.
“It’s something that I’ve never taken for granted in 31 years, and it’s something that I will not take for granted in the future.”
Burcham worked alongside Bramblett for 25 years broadcasting Auburn baseball, and he had been the lead play-by-play announcer for Auburn women’s basketball since 1988.
Burcham’s eagerness and appreciation carried apparent as he spoke, as did the love for his friend and predecessor. Bramblett, in turn, took over the position in 2003 after the sudden death of former lead broadcaster Jim Fyffe.
Last fall, during a dinner with the Brambletts, the Burchams were asked to be the legal guardians of the Bramblett children. Today, the Burchams are legal guardians of Josh Branblett, a high school sophomore. Shelby is an AU junior. On the first day of school, Andy Burcham took Josh to Waffle House, which had been a Bramblett family tradition to celebrate the start of each school year.
Shelby Bramblett attended the press conference and hugged Burcham afterward.
“It is with great humbleness and happiness that I take this job as the Voice of the Auburn Tigers,” Andy Burcham said. “It is the worst possible way to do it, though. Rod Bramblett and Paula Bramblett were special friends of Jan and mine. They are missed to this very day, and that will never change.”
Burcham will call Auburn football with Stan White and Auburn men’s basketball with Sonny Smith. He will call Auburn baseball with Auburn broadcaster Brad Law, and those two will host the regular Tiger Talk show together. Brit Bowen will take over broadcasting duties for Auburn women’s basketball and softball.
Andy Burcham is a native of Nashville, Illinois, graduating from Indiana State University in 1983 with a degree in radio, television and film.
Justin Lee of the Opelika-Auburn News contributed to this article.