In so many ways, Auburn is at a loss of words for a man who seemed to have them all.
The voice of the Tigers is gone.
It isn’t easy describing the man who described so many magical moments.
Auburn athletics is trying, however, as it struggles with the loss of Rod Bramblett, the lead voice of Auburn sports who died after a fatal car wreck Saturday night, along with his wife, Paula.
“I’m heartbroken by the loss of Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula,” Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement released by the school Sunday morning.
Bramblett called Auburn football and men’s basketball for 16 years, and Auburn baseball for 27. Serving as the director of broadcast operations for Auburn athletics.
“Rod was a true professional and was always a pleasure to work with,” Malzahn said. “He loved Auburn and it showed in his work.
“As much as he loved Auburn, his family came first and foremost. This is a difficult time and we will continue to pray and offer our support to the Bramblett family, especially their children Shelby and Joshua.”
Bramblett was 53, a year older than his wife. Their daughter Shelby is an Auburn student and their son Joshua is in high school.
Funeral arrangements are pending and will be shared when set, the university said on Sunday.
“It won’t be the same without Rod,” Auburn head men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl said.
Some of Bramblett’s last great calls came during Auburn’s first-ever run to the men’s basketball Final Four this spring.
“Ninety minutes before the game and 20 minutes after it, we spent time talking Auburn basketball. He loved Auburn, the student-athletes and the coaches and it showed every time he called a game,” Pearl said.
“As good as he was at what he did, he was a better man. He was kind, considerate and selfless among so many other great qualities. Selfishly, I’ll miss my friend and his wife Paula. I just pray for their family.”
Bramblett took over calling Auburn football and men’s basketball in 2003. He had been calling Auburn baseball since 1992.
Suddenly this weekend, Auburn baseball is now preparing to go to an NCAA Tournament regional without Bramblett, the lead voice for the program for nearly 30 years.
“I was proud to call Rod and Paula friends,” Auburn head baseball coach Butch Thompson said.
“Let peace reside with us today knowing that his next broadcast will be in heaven,” he added. “Eternal rest, Rod and Paula Bramblett, and thank you for 27 years of telling the story of Auburn baseball.”
Paula was a longtime employee at Auburn University working for the I.T. Department.
“All of us in the Auburn Family are devastated by the tragic passing of Rod and Paula Bramblett,” said Auburn athletics director Allen Greene. “A nationally recognized broadcaster, Rod’s love for Auburn was fervent.
“You could hear it coming through the radio loud and clear each time he exclaimed, ‘Touchdown Auburn!’”
His work left an impression on many — and his kindness in the community, those close to him say, touched many more.
“Rod’s work speaks for itself,” Auburn Sports Properties vice president Chris Davis said. “He was the best in the business and spent tirelessly long hours devoting himself to his alma mater and the school that he loved. He was not only a co-worker but our close, dear friend.
“We ask that everyone keep the Bramblett family, especially Shelby and Joshua, in your continued thoughts and prayers,” he said.