AUBURN --- Katilyn McGee spun her volleyball in her hand, its white stained with scrawled ink — each marking an autograph, and each one another moment the young fan and player herself will be able to hold onto and remember.
Supporters from all around packed Auburn’s football facility on Saturday for the athletics department’s annual Fan Day, as players from the football team, the volleyball team, the soccer team and the equestrian team greeted them all — including Teresa McGee and her family, 10-year Katilyn, eight-year-old Lauren and 12-year-old Jayden.
“It’s always exciting for the kids to meet the players, and get things signed,” Teresa McGee said. The university lined the teams at tables around Auburn football’s indoor practice facility outside the athletics complex, with posters to give away and plenty of markers around to sign items from fans that wrapped a line around the field outside.
“I like that they have all the different sports here, so the girls get to meet the volleyball players and soccer — and everybody,” she said.
Her family had been in since 11:30 a.m. for the event that started at 3:30 p.m. They traveled in from Athens for the autograph signing, meeting those volleyball players and more, like the football teams top quarterbacks, Joey Gatewood and Bo Nix.
From eight years old to over 80, James Whitman, from Auburn’s class of 1960, thumped the printout photo he brought on a clipboard of Nix in his Pinson Valley High School uniform, now with two signatures scrawled on it by quarterback. Nix and Pinson Valley won the Class 6A state title in Jordan-Hare last December, before he enrolled and opened his competition with Gatewood for the starting job.
“He signed this in December when he come in here and won a high school championship,” said Whitman, 81, after braving that long line to see the team’s signal-callers. “So I just told Bo, ‘Hey, I want this thing signed five times. The last time will be signed in gold when we get the Heisman Trophy.’
“That’s exactly what I just told him.”
He was glad to meet Gatewood, too, and more of the Tigers as anticipation builds for the fall season.
Football is always the big draw, but fans like the McGees are glad to see the other fall sports teams a part of the event as well, making a day of the festivities.
“We come see everything we can,” McGee said.
“That’s exciting, to meet the players. The kids like seeing them up close, too. They get excited seeing them in person.”
The cheerleaders, Tiger Paws and Aubie were also on hand to sign autographs and greet fans, young and old.
Auburn volleyball hosts a home exhibition Aug. 24 before starting the regular season Aug. 30.
The soccer team will play a home exhibition with Mercer on Aug. 16 before kick-starting its season a few days later. Equestrian’s season starts in September.
The Auburn football team opens its season Aug. 31 against Oregon in AT&T Stadium in Texas.