Trojan Tour allows for fan interaction

Published 10:31 pm Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOTHAN— The inaugural Trojan Tour was meant to give fans an opportunity to engage with Troy coaches and administrators. It didn’t take long for several of them to take advantage of that chance on Wednesday at the Dothan event held at Colby’s Restaurant.

When asked why Troy has had a difficult time scheduling in-state opponents like Alabama and Auburn, Trojan coaches jumped at the chance to convey their similar frustrations.

“We put in a call to Alabama when they had a scheduling conflict several months ago,” football head coach Larry Blakeney said. “Instead of playing us, they are paying Colorado State $1.5 million to come down and play.”

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One fan even suggested trying to get state politicians involved to help push idea.

“We made the call, they have our number. We’re still waiting on a call back,” athletic director John Hartwell said with a grin.

Troy has found it difficult to schedule Alabama and Auburn in all sports. Baseball head coach has voiced his frustration openly on several occasions. Alabama has visited Riddle-Pace Field just twice since 1998.

Auburn has been more open to playing the Trojans on the road visiting Troy every year since 2005, though the Tigers made an attempt to back out of the series last year before opting back in.

En lieu of making the trip to Troy or even playing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama has decided to take on the Trojans in the new Pensacola Bayfront Stadium, the home of the Class AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

In a college football landscape full of money games, Troy has played its way through most of SEC including a trip to Knoxville against the University of Tennessee, though a game against Alabama or Auburn has seemed unobtainable. Combined, Alabama and Auburn have played every member of the Sun Belt except one … Troy.

Other topics addressed at the stop in Dothan were facility upgrades including the north end zone project for the football program, the golf teams’ new practice facility and the resurfacing of the softball field.

Hartwell said the new turf in the outfield with be similar to that of the baseball team’s.

Each coach in attendance spoke for several minutes and praised the Trojan fan base for its unyielding support. Blakeney, Pierce, women’s basketball coach Chanda Rigby and men’s basketball coach Phil Cunningham were the featured coaches at the event which hosted nearly 100 Troy supporters. The tour went on to make an evening stop in Montgomery.

The groups of coaches and administrators will travel to Greenville and Mobile today before wrapping up the week-long trek in Navarre, Fla., on Friday.