April 20, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN -- Lauretta Freeman-Horn was supposed to help officiate the War Eagle Invitational track meet at Auburn this weekend. Alas, she couldn't do it. Something came up.
She was inducted into Tiger Trail, an honor that goes to some of Auburn's top former athletes.
"There's no place like this. There's no place I'd rather be," said Freeman, a basketball standout and long jumper at Auburn in the early 1990s who is now a high school coach in Mobile.
Freeman and five others were formally inducted Friday night in a ceremony in Auburn Arena by the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and Auburn Athletics. Plaques honoring the former athletes' accomplishments will be laid on sidewalks in downtown Auburn, joining 108 past winners.
All the new inductees were accomplished athletes on campus then, and one is making headlines on campus now. Dameyune Craig, the former quarterback who still holds school passing records and who is now the receiver coach and co-offensive coordinator at Auburn, was inducted. It was his lucky day. He was treated to rendition of Happy Birthday.
Some were more emotional than others. Golfer Jimmy Green adjusted the microphone, and then again, as he choked back tears.
"You need this putt to win!" someone shouted.
Jimmy Barfield's .363 batting average stood as an Auburn record for more than 40 years. He remembered when he met then-new baseball coach Paul Nix. "Oh, my Lord!" he said to laughter. "But what a great man he was."
Lindsay Neubarth became the first equestrian rider to be inducted. "I don't think the shock has worn off," she said. Jimmy Fibbe played basketball at Auburn from 1959-1961. He gave tips on how to shoot free throws, just like the two he hit for a rare Auburn win over Kentucky way back when.
And there was an emotional Craig.
He thanked Auburn and his family, and then had to go to work for Saturday's A-Day Game.
"Two-time A-Day MVP," he reminded the audience.
Freeman played basketball at Auburn from 1990-93. She was the SEC Player of the Year as a senior. She participated in track, too. She played professional basketball, and today she's the women's basketball and coaches track at St. Paul's in Mobile. But this weekend she was in the role as an honoree.
"It's surreal to be honored like this," she said, "because I've always been part of a team."
Today, she sees herself "as a role model for young women, as a teacher and coach."
She told how she patiently waited for more playing time through those early seasons for then-coach Joe Ciampi.
"I was an All-American when I stepped on campus...though he didn't know it," she smiled.
But in the end, the recipients all talked about returning to being part of a larger family.
"I didn't think I'd get emotional," Craig said as he thought about his school, "but it's a humbling experience."
The 2013 Tiger Trail recipients
Dameyune Craig Football 1994-1997
During his first two years playing with the Auburn Tigers, Dameyune Craig served as the backup quarterback to starter Patrick Nix before moving into the starting quarterback position for 1996 and 1997. Craig still holds numerous Auburn passing records, including completions (216) and passing yards in a season (3,227), as well as a single-game record for most net yards gained (445 vs. Army in 1996; 75 rush, 370 pass). During his time at Auburn, number 16 led Auburn to an 18-7 mark in 25 career starts, but he also excelled off the field, earning Academic All-SEC honors as a senior in 1997.
Jimmy Green Men's Golf 1989-1992
Lettering from 1989 to 1992, Jimmy Green left a staple on the Auburn men's golf program. Green won an Auburn record six individual titles, winning the 1988 and 1989 Alabama Intercollegiate, 1990 Tournament of Champions and 1991 Dixie Intercollegiate. Green also became the first Auburn golfer to win an NCAA Regional in 1990 and an SEC Championship in 1991. The Meridian, Miss., native led the Tigers in scoring for three seasons from 1989-1992, and ranks fifth all-time in Auburn history in career stroke average at 72.85.
Lauretta Freeman Women's Basketball 1990-1993
As a forward for Auburn, Lauretta Freeman set the school record for rebounds in a season (401) led the SEC in rebounding (13.8 rpg) and was second in scoring (18.7 ppg). During her senior year, she was a unanimous first-team All-SEC selection, a Kodak All-American and was named SEC Player of the Year.
Lindsay Neubarth Equestrian 2000-2003
Lindsay is the first equestrian to be inducted into the Tiger Trail of Auburn. She was Auburn's number one rider as a freshman and won Auburn's first regional championship. During her senior year, she was the 12th ranked hunt seat rider in the country and was high point seat rider for the Southeast Region. Also in 2003, she was named the Region High Point Rider of the Year. During her time at Auburn, the top rider was also named an SEC Academic All-American and earned Auburn's first Top Tiger Award, awarded to student-athletes who also excel in academics.
Jimmy Fibbe Men's Basketball 1959-1961
Jimmy Fibbe finished his career ranked fourth on the Tigers' all-time scoring chart with 838 points. The Frankfort, Ky., native ranks third on Auburn's single-season free throw percentage chart, making 86.5 percent in 1960-61. The 6-foot-3 forward ranks sixth on Auburn's career free throw percentage list (.802) and ninth on the field goal percentage chart (.548).
Jim Barfield Baseball 1963-1964
A third baseman, Jimmy Barfield was named an ABCA All-America in 1964 in his second and final season at Auburn. Hitting .374 in his All-American campaign, Barfield helped the Tigers to a 21-7 record and a SEC East Championship. Barfield was also the leading hitter on head coach Paul Nix's 1963 SEC Championship team, hitting .363. Auburn went 17-8, 15-3 SEC that season and played in the NCAA District 3 Regional at Gastonia, N.C. Barfield held the Auburn batting average record for over 40 years.
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