Half of Alabama may be in mourning, but half of the state is VERY happy right now.
Alabama football coach Nick Saban shocked the college football world this afternoon when it was reported that the legendary coach would be hanging it up after 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide and 6 national championships, plus another while serving as the head coach at LSU earlier in his career.
In Tuscaloosa, fans took to the statue of Saban outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium to leave cream pies and Cokes in honor of their longtime coach.
Outside Bryant-Denny Stadium, #Alabama fans have placed oatmeal cream pies and coke at the bottom of Nick Saban’s statue.
But over in the eastern part of the state, another fanbase took a different approach.
Auburn fans, who haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about lately when it comes to their in-state SEC rivalry with Alabama (or in general), took to rolling Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper to celebrate Saban’s retirement.
The tradition of rolling Toomer’s Corner is one that dates back decades for Tigers fans. It started when Toomer’s Drugs Pharmacy, which sits on the corner and was started by former state senator and halfback for the first ever Auburn football team Sheldon Toomer, was the first business in town with a telegraph machine. (Yeah, it goes back awhile).
Employees at the pharmacy would throw ticker tape from the machine out the window to signal that Auburn had won their football game. And in honor of this tradition, the practice of rolling the trees on Toomer’s Corner with toilet paper was born, and continues now to celebrate victories for the Auburn football team.
And, well, there may be no bigger victory for the Tigers than seeing the future-Hall of Fame coach of their biggest rival step away.
The trees at Toomer’s Corner also took center stage in the cross-state rivalry back in 2010, when an Alabama fan named Harvey Updyke, poisoned the trees and then called into the Paul Finebaum Show to take credit for the vandalism. Updyke was eventually sentenced to jail time for poisoning the trees, which had to be replaced.
Since Saban took over for the Tide, Auburn has only won the Iron Bowl five times – including, of course, one of the greatest finishes in the history of the rivalry back in 2013, when Alabama attempted to kick a field goal for the win with one second left on the clock. The kick was short, and punt returner Chris Davis fielded the ball 9 yards deep in the endzone before running it back the entire length of the field to score on the final play of the game.