OZARK – Before Andy Burcham addressed the Dale County Auburn Club on Thursday night, he talked about what’s been a whirlwind week for him and his wife, Jan.
“Just a lot of things to do and people to talk to and that type of thing,” Burcham said. “And just trying to get in the rhythm of what this job is going to be and do a little prep for Oregon (Auburn’s opponent) to boot, and get ready for that first game.”
Burcham was officially named the new radio “Voice of the Auburn Tigers” on Monday, but was actually informed of the decision on Wednesday a week ago.
“I knew I had to keep it under wraps for the most part, and that’s tough to do,” Burcham said.
Now with the decision out in the open, Burcham is ready to tackle the tough task of replacing his close friend Rod Bramblett, who along with his wife, Paula, was killed in an automobile accident in Auburn on May 25.
Burcham knows he has some huge shoes to fill, as was the case when Bramblett replaced Jim Fyffe, who died suddenly in May of 2003. Burcham will be the play-by-play announcer for football, men’s basketball and baseball as was the case with Bramblett.
“I’ve desired to have this job ever since I moved to Auburn in 1988 – never wanting it to be under these circumstances,” Burcham said. “It is a bittersweet time because of the Brambletts and how close they were with our family, but it’s also a job I desired to have.
“I want to continue the legacy that Rod and Jim Fyffe and Paul Ellen and Gary Sanders and Buddy Rutledge – and all the men before that. I want to carry that on, and carry that on with the pride that it deserves.”
A native of Illinois and 1983 graduate of Indiana State University, Burcham worked side-by-side with Bramblett for 25 years calling Auburn baseball.
The two families became extremely close, and the Burchams recently became the legal guardians of the Brambletts’ 15-year-old son, Joshua.
“Jan and I had been married for 15 years,” Burcham said. “I was married before, but neither of us have ever been parents until this summer. We have a 15-year-old in our house and he’s learning, and we’re learning a whole lot.
“He just started as a 10th grader at Auburn High School. We went to our first meet-the-teacher day. Right now for the most part I’m the one who takes him to school in the mornings, so yes, it’s an enormous adjustment for us and for him, too.”
Burcham has been the voice of Auburn women’s basketball since arriving on campus in 1988 and has been the locker room host for Auburn football since 1990. He’s done football play-by-play in the past during his first job at Illinois State University and at times for Auburn during pay-per-view and taped-delayed broadcasts.
“It’s been a couple of years, but I’m ready for it – let’s put it that way,” Burcham said of the football duties.
Whether he will continue with the trademark “Auburn Touchdown” celebration call that Fyffe was so well known for and Bramblett continued is unknown.
“I’ve had that question a lot,” Bramblett said. “To be really honest with you, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve got a little bit of time to think about that. Rod originally wasn’t going to do ‘Touchdown Auburn.’ He wanted to do his own call. Now he might have done it early as a tribute to Jim, but if you recall, Rod didn’t get to call a touchdown until the third game of that year (2003).
“Auburn didn’t score a touchdown against USC, and didn’t score a touchdown at Georgia Tech. It wasn’t until the game at Vanderbilt on the road that he got to call his first touchdown, so he was ready to call a touchdown by then.
“And I don’t really remember when he kind of resumed the ‘Touchdown Auburn’ call. My guess is it’s going to be a part of it (Burcham’s call). I just don’t know how at this point. And I want it to become natural, you know?”
Burcham does want Auburn fans to trust he’s ready for the job.
“My style will probably – no, my style will be different than Rod’s,” Burcham said. “And Rod’s was different from Jim’s and so on before that.
“I’m very, very excited about this. The response from Auburn people has been overwhelming and that makes me even more confident to move forward.
“I mentioned at the press conference that I looked at (athletics director) Allen Green and (Auburn Sports Properties GM) Chris Davis – they were sitting next to each other – and told them I can’t tell them how much I appreciate this opportunity and I’m not going to let them down, and I’m not going to let Auburn down, either.”