Head coach Gene Chizik invited all Tiger fans to join the team in Jordan-Hare Stadium as they present the American Football Coaches Association National Championship Trophy.
Lolly Steiner of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce said many hotels are booked for Saturday night as Auburn faithful pour into town to celebrate.
“We typically participate in these types of celebrations and events that involve the community,” Steiner said.
Two events of similar size had been planned before: Toomer’s 2000, which was a celebration for the new millennium, and a celebration for the 2004 perfect season, Steiner said.
Scott Carr, senior associate athletic director, said the city plans to close off Toomer’s Corner to traffic as people will naturally flow there following the trophy presentation.
“I would assume we had something like this back in 1957,” Carr said, referring to the Tigers’ last national title 53 years ago.
The Tigers have come close to being awarded titles again since then, most noticeably in 1983, 1993 and 2004. Each time, bad luck in the polls doomed the team to wait another year.
Now that an undisputed championship has finally arrived, the school is planning for large support to come in.
Carr estimated that anywhere from 40–60 thousand Auburn faithful will attend the ceremony.
“I would say this is the largest celebration of this type on this campus,” Carr said.
Carr, who had previously worked on planning the FedEx Orange Bowl game, said while he’s used to coordinating large events, he has never planned a historical event such as this.
Carr recommended fans also attend the men’s basketball game against the University of Alabama where the Foy-ODK Sportsmanship Award will be presented.
The award is given each year to the winner of the Iron Bowl, with Auburn currently holding that honor after a 28-27 win in Tuscaloosa to finish off a perfect regular season.
In keeping with the tradition of the sportsmanship trophy, Alabama’s SGA president will sing Auburn’s fight song during the presentation.
The celebration, set to begin at 1 p.m., will last about one hour and will feature the band, cheerleaders, Tiger Paws, Aubie and of course, the team.
Entrance is free and is through gates 2, 4, 5 and 7.
Seating is first-come, first-serve. Students with an Auburn Ignited card may walk onto the field through the gates in sections 46 and 35.
Parking for the event will be at the hayfields on South Donahue Drive. Shuttles will run there beginning at 10 a.m.
Tiger Transit will also be running Saturday, picking up from Lem Morrison Drive, Auburn Village Mall, Sam’s Club, Tiger Town and the facilities division. The buses will begin pick ups at 10 a.m. and will run until 4 p.m.
The hayfield at the corner of Donahue and Lem Morrison will be available for all RV parking.
Immediately following the celebration, a “reverse” Tiger Walk will take place as the players walk from Jordan-Hare to the Athletic Complex.
National championship posters will be distributed for free as fans exit the stadium.
“We’re going to get this thing rolling; and we’re going to celebrate this national championship,” Chizik said to the fans that have patiently waited 53 years for this time to come.