Allen Greene, Auburn University's 15th athletic director, has made it known that he isn't going to act his age.
At 40 years old, one of the youngest athletic directors in the nation, Greene consistently referred to himself as a 22 year old in his introductory press conference Friday morning.
Despite his age, Greene has been in the athletic director business since 2009 when he served as assistant AD for Ole Miss. According to Auburn's new head man, there are "no disadvantages" to being on the younger side.
"I'm young enough to be able to relate to the student-athletes," Greene said. "But I'm old enough to be able to relate to the staff and coaches and, of course, the fans. You work your way through the industry and develop some skills along the way. It's all good; it's all advantages."
The new leader of Auburn Athletics hails from the University of Buffalo, where he made major strides for the school's athletic program, including raising funds for an $18 million indoor football practice facility.
The 40-year-old has big shoes to fill: those of longtime AD Jay Jacobs, who raised annual revenues from $46 million to $145 million and brought home 12 national titles and 25 conference titles to The Plains in his 12 years.
To improve upon that, Greene formulated a three-headed trifecta for success.
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Allen Greene: “It’s been crazy. I’m excited to get on campus and feel this energy for myself.” pic.twitter.com/WYp0c11QmL— Nathan King (@nathankingdra) January 19, 2018
"When I met with the search committee, I talked about three over-arching principles," Green said. "Number one: It will be the student-athlete's, not only their [athletic] experience, but their educational experience. (Auburn) is a place of higher-learning, a very quality higher-education institution. We want our young people to get a meaningful degree, and to graduate.
"Athletically, we want [student-athletes] to be very successful. Our mission is to provide our student-athletes and coaches every opportunity to win conference and national championships. We will invest ourselves to do so.
"Thirdly, and possibly most importantly, Auburn will stand for creating productive members of society. It's incredibly important, particularly in today's time, that we make sure (student-athletes) are well-equipped for the rigors and intensity of the real world. There is no greater time than right now, when you have so many people who are heavily invested and heavily involved in your success. The real world is a little bit different, and we want to make sure you are prepared for that."
Before the New Yorker can invest himself in his athletes, he'll have to take some time acclimating himself to the time-honored heritage of The Plains.
"There are tremendous traditions here at Auburn University," Greene said. "The Tiger Walk. The eagle flight. Toomer's Corner. I can't wait to roll it. Can I roll Toomer's? I want to."
While recognizing Auburn's past, Greene said that Auburn Athletics needs to look forward and be innovative. According to Greene, calculated risks will be a part of his teaching methods with the thought process that failure breeds passion for the game and will teach Auburn's athletes how to succeed for the future.
Auburn's history in athletics shifted Wednesday evening with the official hiring of Greene, the Tigers' first African-American to hold the position in the program's history and only the third in SEC history.
The chief of sports on The Plains will use his position of leadership to encourage and invigorate diversity at his new university, breeding "a culture of diversity inclusion."
"We don't all look alike, we don't all act alike, we don't all talk alike," Greene said. "We don't all believe in the same things, but that doesn't mean we can't be teammates. That doesn't mean we can't be partners, brothers or sisters. So we will embrace a culture of diversity. We will embrace different beliefs. We will challenge one another to think differently, all to make Auburn a better University."
A graduate of Notre Dame and Indiana University, Greene understands that Auburn Athletics brings "lofty expectations." Greene said that he will embrace those expectations whole-heartedly because "without these expectations, how can we expect to better ourselves?"
Auburn fans are primarily expecting answers to the men's basketball team's NCAA investigation as well as the cessation of the scandals that occurred under Jacobs in a system that, inside and outside, has appeared broken with legal, Title IX and salary issues. He'll get to that, but Greene has only known about his new responsibilities for two days.
"I've got to first get here and learn," Greene said. "I've got to see with my own two eyes what the landscape is. We'll make adjustments accordingly ... it's going to be part art and part science."
Moving ahead from the controversies that will soon become commitments and obligations, Greene recognized that, at the end of the day, there is one place where fans' eyes should look at the end of a game, and it will be a place that Auburn will continue to find success.
"I think Auburn is one of the most cutting-edge athletic departments with brand new technology," Greene joked. "You see it in Jordan-Hare Stadium, you see it in the baseball stadium. They call it a scoreboard. And on that scoreboard, they keep score. Revolutionary."
The leader of Auburn Athletics then changed his tone from humorous to one of conviction.
"We will, at the end of every game, be winners,” Greene said. “We will be champions."
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