Head baseball coach
The 2013 season is John Pawlowski's fifth as the man in charge of the Auburn University baseball program, making him the longest-tenured coach at Auburn since Hal Baird's 16-year run and the fourth-longest tenured overall.
In four seasons on the Plains, the 13-year head-coaching veteran has guided the team to a 134-103 (.565) record and has taken the program from six consecutive fifth- or sixth-place finishes in the Southeastern Conference's Western Division to a 2010 Division Championship, its first since 1995, and a 2010 NCAA Regional Host, winning 43 games during the remarkable and memorable 2010 campaign.
Pawlowski received his bachelor's degree in Industrial Education from Clemson University in May of 1996. The Johnson City, N.Y. native graduated from Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton, N.Y. in 1982. In 2007, he was inducted into the Upstate New York Section IV Hall of Fame.
1. What can you tell us about the Tigers baseball team this year?
Our team and staff has worked extremely hard on building the foundation blocks for the 2013 Season. No doubt that this is a challenging league, but we have high expectations and aspirations of where we want to go. This group of student-athletes expects to be champions. That's the mind set and the mentality we have! An experienced offensive lineup that led the SEC in hitting last year should be a strength. Our pitching staff is much deeper and will give us several different options. The key is to build the confidence and experience needed to compete at the highest level. This is a very determined group of players, with a common goal in mind. I am very proud of the way this group has handled themselves both on and off the field and certainly the way they represent Auburn. They will be fun and exciting to watch play in 2013.
2. The SEC is known for having great baseball fans. How important do you feel the fans are to having a successful season?
They are the difference maker! You look around and see our students and fans at any athletics event, it raises your game and gives you added incentive to perform and win for AU. There is nothing better for a student-athlete than competing with a packed house of people who support and help push us to another level. Our fans are very passionate and will be there for Auburn. Together, our team, our students and our fans make Auburn what it is. The 2013 Auburn baseball team encourages you to come out to Plainsman Park and help us compete and win!
3. What is your favorite baseball memory?
It was the 2010 season and we had just beat Ole Miss in Oxford to win the SEC West. We got back on the bus on that Saturday night and headed back to Auburn. A very rowdy bus I might add! It was about midnight or so and we were getting ready to pull off the highway. Suddenly I saw Blue lights flashing in front and behind our team bus. It was our police escort to Toomer's Corner! To see the fans there to help this team celebrate was something very special. It was my first opportunity to roll Toomer's and to watch our players enjoy the success of winning the SEC West, it was a special moment here at Auburn.
4. As a native of New York, do you miss the atmosphere of the North?
I grew up in Binghamton, N.Y., and certainly don't miss the harsh winters up there. My parents, sister and brother still live up there, and I have so many fond memories of my childhood. Of course, waking up and realizing that school was closed for a “Snow Day” was always fun. Officially I can now say that I am a Southerner since I have spent more time in the South than up north. I enjoy the South, and certainly living on The Plains and working at Auburn is a dream come true.
5. Do your daughters enjoy baseball as much as you do?
My three daughters (Christine, Mary-Louise and Jenny) all enjoy baseball and certainly have been to many games over the years. Baseball has been a part of their lives for as long as they can remember. Christine, who will graduate this summer from AU, is here every game, and you can find her in her lucky seat behind home plate. Mary-Louise and Jenny are big Tiger fans and can be seen sporting Auburn gear and of course decked out in Under Armour! No better place to be than eating ball park food and watching the Auburn Tigers play. The girls hope for a few more sunny days, warm temperatures and of course, an Auburn victory.