Auburn baseball dedicates Player Development Center

AUBURN, Ala. – With support from two dozen former players including program legends Tim Hudson and Josh Donaldson, Auburn dedicated its new Player Development Center Friday at Plainsman Park.
 
Sixty-nine families, individuals and foundations gave $4.8 million to construct 7,100-square-foot facility, which opened in January.
 
The Josh Donaldson Hitting Lab is named in recognition of a lead gift from Donaldson, who starred for the Tigers from 2005-07 before embarking on a big-league career that’s in its second decade.

Oct 29, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Stadium Commemoration at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Josh Donaldson Hitting Lab

 
“Auburn played a huge role in where I am today,” said Donaldson, the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player, via video. “I’m very thankful and grateful for the opportunities that were put in front of me there. I believe every Auburn athlete should have the opportunity to reach the highest of levels.”
 
Auburn named its clubhouse after Hudson, who led the Tigers to the 1997 College World Series, won 222 Major League Baseball games and returned to his alma mater to serve as pitching coach.

Oct 29, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Stadium Commemoration at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Tim Hudson Clubhouse 

 
Hudson attended the beginning of the ceremony before returning to the bullpen to warm up pitchers for the final game of Auburn’s Fall World Series.
 
“We wouldn’t be where we are without Auburn baseball,” said Kim Hudson, Tim’s wife. “Coach Baird is one of the biggest reasons why Tim became the baseball player and the man that he is. Tim loves Auburn baseball. It’s part of our history, part of our present and probably part of our future, too.
 
“It’s a great place to invest your resources and we definitely see fruit from that.”

Oct 29, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Stadium Commemoration at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Archways honor longtime Auburn baseball supporters Joey Pierson and Keith Jones

 
Auburn named archways at Samford Stadium after Joey Pierson and Keith Jones, two longtime Auburn baseball supporters.

“I love Auburn baseball and the direction we’re in,” said Jones, a fixture at Plainsman Park.
 
“I love this facility, and I know this isn’t the last thing we’re doing here, which makes me extremely happy,” said Pierson. “I love Auburn and what we’re doing with this baseball program. Can’t wait to see what we keep doing.”
 
“As a coach, you’re either trying to get momentum, or you’re trying to keep it,” said Butch Thompson, in his seventh season leading the Tigers. “When we get it, we keep it, and we wouldn’t have that opportunity without the people in this room.”

Oct 29, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Stadium Commemoration at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Jerseys honor Tigers Unlimited donors Tim Hudson, Keith Jones, Joey Pierson and Josh Donaldson

 
Auburn’s winningest coach, Hal Baird, noted how the development center will benefit current student-athletes while helping attract future Tigers.
 
“It’s great to see the facility upgrade, particularly in an area which is going to have an impact on our ball club,” said former coach Baird, who amassed 634 wins while coaching the Tigers from 1985-2000. “We’ll see the results on the field.
 
“The most important day, other than any game day, is signing day, and this is a part of signing day. We’ve got to bring in kids who understand they can be as good as they possibly can be if they come here. This is a large part of that component, and our coaches will know how to utilize it.”

Oct 29, 2021; Auburn, AL, USA; Stadium Commemoration at Plainsman Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Director of Athletics Allen Greene speaks at Auburn baseball’s facility dedication ceremony 

 
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer

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