I never sat down and had dinner with Rod Bramblett.

I met him a couple of times in passing, but he never set foot in my home or vice versa. We never had an in-depth conversation about anything. As far as I know, Rod Bramblett and I have no familial relation at all.

Chances are, that describes the relationship most Auburn fans had with the Tigers’ longtime play-by-play man. So, why does it feel like we’ve all lost a friend? Maybe it’s because we did invite Rod into our homes and he graciously accepted the invitation for every ballgame. His voice joined us for quite a few meals and is intrinsically linked with some of our fondest memories. He talked to us for hours at a time about one of our favorite subjects, the Auburn Tigers.

He was, indeed, a cherished member of our Auburn family.

In 2003, Bramblett was given the impossible task of trying to fill the headphones of one of the greatest and most beloved broadcasters in SEC history. Jim Fyffe was an icon on the Plains and practically universally adored. His life was tragically cut short due to a brain aneurysm May 14, 2003.

When Rod Bramblett was announced as Fyffe’s successor, I wished him well but honestly didn’t believe things would ever be the same. I was right and I was wrong. Things were never quite the same because Rod never tried to be Jim Fyffe.

Bramblett’s love for Auburn was immediately evident and he brought his own unique style to the booth. He developed his own chemistry with Stan White and together, they painted some of the most beautiful pictures my ears have ever envisioned.

When I think about the greatest Auburn plays of the 1980s and 90s, I think about the calls of Fyffe. When I think about the greatest plays since, I think about the calls of Bramblett.

AU freshman quarterback Bo Nix said he grew up listening to Bramblett and dreamed of hearing him call his name one day. A whole new generation of young Auburn fans felt the same way about Bramblett as previous generations did about Fyffe. I think that’s the best compliment he could possibly receive.

There is a lot to be said for being exceptional at one’s chosen profession. That’s wonderful and you’ll hear a lot about that in the coming weeks. However, there’s a lot more to be said for doing unto the others as you would have them do unto you.

Listen carefully to all the people who talk about the humility and kindness that filled the life of Bramblett. Take notice of all the comments about high character and genuineness. That’s the true mark of a man.

I understand the heartache of losing a parent at an early age, but I cannot fathom losing both of them on the same day. Life is a fragile thing and we are constantly reminded that no one is promised tomorrow.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the children of Rod and Paula Bramblett as well as all the family members affected by this tragedy. That’s a lot of people because Auburn is a big family.

Andy Graham is a regular columnist for The Outlook.