A member of Auburn’s first football team in 1892, Hare was there at the beginning, when the Tigers beat Georgia 10-0 at Piedmont Park in Atlanta. The longtime dean of Auburn University’s chemistry department, Hare chaired Auburn’s faculty athletic committee and mentored Jordan early in his coaching career.
“Cliff Hare’s greatest contribution to Auburn was probably hanging our North Star,” said director of athletics emeritus David Housel. “The way that leads us home. When we forget who we are and what we are, all we have to do is look at the example, the legacy, of Clifford Leroy Hare.”
Members of the Hare, Jordan and Dye families assisted with each unveiling before making remarks to formally accept the honor.
“He was indeed the complete man,” said Hare’s grandson, also named Cliff Hare, speaking on behalf of 75 Hare descendants in attendance. “I want to say how thrilled, honored and truly humbled we are for this wonderful tribute.”
Terry Henley, the star running back on Auburn’s early 1970’s teams, shared stories about Jordan, whom Henley and his teammates referred to as “The Man.”
“This statue will forever represent courage, strength, pride and class for Coach Jordan,” said Henley of Auburn football’s winningest coach, who led the Tigers to the 1957 national championship.
1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson recalled being recruited by Coach Dye as a senior at McAdory High School near Birmingham, soon after Auburn hired Dye in 1981.
“He said, ‘If you come to Auburn, I promise you that I will give you every opportunity to be a starter next year,'” Jackson recalled. “And he did. That’s all I needed to hear from anybody because I knew what I could do. Nobody else did.
“That opened my eyes and made me believe in that man. That was my first experience communicating with someone with a lot of character. I came here, did what I had to do, and the rest is history.
“One thing that oozed from his pores was character. When I left home to come here, he became my dad. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that man.”
Pat Dye Jr. mentioned his father’s leading role in moving the Iron Bowl out of Birmingham to Auburn’s campus, referencing the Auburn Creed in tribute of his dad.
“Together with these great men and these events, he changed the way Auburn people thought about themselves, the way Auburn people thought about Auburn, the way the state of Alabama thought about Auburn, and the way this nation perceived Auburn,” Dye Jr. said. “And look at our buildings and our statues now.
“Patrick Fain Dye believed in work, hard work. He believed in honesty. He had a spirit that was not afraid. He believed in the human touch. He walked humbly. He believed in Auburn and he loved it.”
In his final words, Jackson credited Hare, Jordan and Dye for helping Auburn earn its position of prominence within the Southeastern Conference, challenging attendees to follow their example.
“They have done this for us,” Jackson said. “And it’s our job to continue the seeds they planted in us.”