California Dreamin’

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Roy (left) and Mike (right) LeCroy show off their BCS National Championship Game tickets.

Roy (left) and Mike (right) LeCroy show off their BCS National Championship Game tickets.

Father, son headed to Pasdena for title game

Auburn alum and diehard Tiger fan Roy LeCroy will tell you that being with a team through the bad times is what makes the good times so much fun.

LeCroy was a undergraduate engineering student at Auburn, then known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute, in 1957 when the Shug Jordan led Tigers captured the school’s first-ever football national title.

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“Shug was a complete master,” LeCroy said. “His teams were always prepared, and I never saw or heard one of his players speak ill of him. Everyone on campus respected him because of what he did on the field, and they way he conducted himself off it.”

In less than a week, LeCroy, joined by his oldest son Mike, will make the near 2,200-mile trek from his home in suburban Atlanta to Pasadena, California to witness his team play for another national title.

The family was unable to attend Auburn’s 2010 national title win in Glendale, Arizona due to logistical issues. But when the Tigers got miracle wins over archrivals Georgia and Alabama, the LeCroy’s knew they had to be there this time around.

“We figured the team would be better this season, because, hey, you couldn’t be much worse than last year,” LeCroy said. “But what those boys have done, and what Gus (Malzhan, first year head coach at Auburn) and his assistants have done, it is simply incredible. There is no way we would miss this game.”

LeCroy, a native of Brundidge who now calls the Atlanta suburb of Woodstock, Georgia home, whole-heartedly admits the 2012 Auburn season was bad. But he is also quick to point out a time when his beloved Tigers were even worse.

It is a time known to Auburn fans as “The Barfield Era.”

Auburn limped to a 29-25-1 record in five seasons under Doug Barfield, and posted losing seasons on three occasions.

“I wasn’t in school then, but man, it was still bad,” said LeCroy. “It was just a very depressing time. But like always, we still pulled for a win every week.

The LeCroy family, Roy and his wife Betty, Mike and his wife Melody and their three children, Alison, Brantley and Christina and Roy’s youngest son Matt, have sat in the same seats in the upper deck of Jordan-Hare stadium for nearly 20 years.

“It is something we have done for so long, that I really don’t remember how it came to be,” said Mike, who lives in Troy. “We just know where were will be on about eight or nine Saturday’s in the fall. It is tradition.”

Roy has seen most of the greats of Auburn football lore in person.

He has seen Bo Jackson bust long runs, witness Pat Sullivan hit Terry Beasley in stride and watched Cam Newton run circles around defenses, but says the 2013 season may be his fondest memory.

“A lot of people may poke fun of us Auburn folks, but we treat one another as family,” said LeCroy. “Each weekend is like a family reunion. I’m going to California with my biological family to cheer on my extended family. It’s as simple as that.”