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George Petrie, a native of Montgomery, AL, is most remembered for two achievements: He is the father of college football at Auburn University in Alabama, organizing the first team in 1892 and coaching the team in its first game, a 10-0 win over the University of Georgia. Late in his career, in 1943, Petrie authored the beloved Auburn Creed, which depicts the ideal spiritual makeup of every Auburn man and woman. In between those accomplishments, Petrie served more than five decades as an instructor and Dean of History at Auburn, and was one of the most respected historians in the United States. In fact he was the first instructor in the state of Alabama with a Ph.D, having earned it at Johns Hopkins University. This biography, in addition to its story of perhaps Auburn's most remarkable man ever, is also the most exhaustive history of this crucial period of challenge and growth experienced by Auburn University. It brings to life not only Petrie but also his contemporaries whom today are remembered throughout campus on the names of buildings and streets. Pat Dye, the former Auburn University head football coach and athletics director, comments, "No other individual in history has impacted Auburn in so many important ways or better represented the ideal combination of both academic and athletic achievement. Petrie's story is a must for any true Auburn person's bookshelf."
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Mike Jernigan, a native of Montgomery, AL, was the founding editor and is editor emeritus of Auburn Magazine, an alumni periodical. He is a two-time Auburn alumnus including a master's degree in history. Today, while living with his wife and daughter in Auburn, Jernigan continues to contribute freelance articles to numerous periodicals and is frequently called upon to speak on matters of history, including the story of Auburn's George Petrie.Review:
Author Mike Jernigan tells the story of George Petrie and the beginning of Auburn football through meticulous research and primary source quotations that make the reader feel a part of the action. Here are the men who comprised the first teams, the victories and defeats on the field, and the nascent beginnings of what eventually became the Southeastern Conference. Jernigan also relays the story of a small A&M college that slowly built an academic and an athletic program and of Auburn men influenced by Petrie such as his students Ralph "Shug" Jordan and Ralph Draughon who took his vision and his dreams for Auburn to another generation and another level. For anyone who loves Auburn or southern football, this is a must read. --Leah Rawls Atkins, Director Emerita, Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities, Auburn University
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