Archived Story

Remembering an Auburn legend in Jim Fyffe

Published 10:45am Wednesday, May 22, 2013

By Andy Graham

Last Wednesday, May 15, marked 10 years to the day that beloved Auburn announcer and icon Jim Fyffe died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 2003.
Mr. Fyffe had spoken at an Auburn Alumni meeting in Prattville the day before and upon returning home to his wife Rose, complained of not feeling well.
He would collapse shortly thereafter and be rushed to the emergency room.
Fyffe was pronounced dead the next morning at Jackson Hospital never having regained consciousness.  He was 57.
Jim Fyffe, who was actually born in Kentucky, came to Auburn in 1981 (coincidentally the same year as Pat Dye) and would go on to broadcast Tiger football and basketball games for the next 22 years.
His incredible mix of a wonderful voice, innate ability to describe fast-paced action and contagious enthusiasm made him one of the very best at his craft.
No one painted the word picture quite like Jim.
He had an uncanny ability to be unapologetically all Auburn and yet, still give a clear and precise view of the play as it unfolded.
He also never harped on the officials, although he called a bad call a bad call.
Fyffe somehow always made you feel like things are going to be okay.  His lows were never too low, and his highs were through the roof.
When Jim Fyffe said, “TOUCHDOWN AUBURN!” it was the most beautiful sound any Auburn fan ever heard.
It’s a little difficult to explain to this youngest generation just how important the radio play-by-play man was to the average college football fan in the 80s and early 90s.
Nowadays, practically every college football game played is televised somewhere. It wasn’t that way when I grew up.
I was lucky if Auburn was on television two or three times a year.
The rest of the time we were listening to Jim Fyffe on the radio.
I can remember so many fall afternoons when my brother and I would take the radio outside and listen to the game while we tossed the football in the backyard.
Jim would describe something and we would reenact it.  Later on as games became more and more televised, I would always mute the TV and listen to the radio broadcast.
Even if the radio feed was a few seconds ahead of the television, I still preferred to listen to Jim Fyffe.
As I’ve come to find out, that was a common thing to do among a lot of fans.  Auburn fans who couldn’t watch the game listened to Jim Fyffe.  Auburn fans who could watch the game listened to Jim Fyffe.
Auburn fans inside the stadium brought their walkmans (ask somebody older what that is if you don’t know) with them so they could listen to Jim Fyffe.
I remember May 15, 2003 very well.  I remember sitting in my room working on my computer when I saw the headline that Jim had passed away.
I was devastated.  I honestly felt like I had lost a member of my own family.
Jim Fyffe was a hero of mine. Every time I replay one of his legendary calls it brings tears to my eyes.
Tears of joy thinking about the euphoric Auburn moments they represent and tears of sadness knowing he was taken far too soon.
Jim Fyffe was admired by colleagues and beloved by all those that knew him.   He was truly one of the greats and 10 years later, I still miss him.
How about one more for old time’s sake? TOUCHDOWN AUBURN!
Graham is a sports columnist for The Outlook.

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