Auburn Opens Neville Arena – Auburn University Athletics
AUBURN, Alabama – With students in nearby tents lined up nearly 24 hours before kickoff for Saturday’s regular season finale, Auburn officially dedicated Neville Arena on Friday in appreciation for the greatest gift in Auburn Athletics history. .
The Neville Arena, which opened in 2010 with a seating capacity of 9,121, is named after Bill and Connie Neville, members of the Pat Dye Society, Tigers Unlimited’s highest level donation.
“Auburn has been a gift to us,” Connie Neville said after Acting Auburn University Board Chairman Bob Dumas read the resolution proclaiming the name change. “We feel like family. It’s a real gift to come to these Plains courses and be here with everyone who is there for the same reason: to help each other, to have fun and to love each other. That’s life.
From Auburn, Bill Neville says he learned the importance of family, resilience and passion.
“We have benefited greatly from our involvement with Auburn and Auburn Athletics,” he said. “If I can bring an Auburn-like passion to my endeavors, I know I have a very good chance of succeeding.”
Hailing from Eufaula, Alabama, the Nevilles are longtime supporters of Auburn Athletics and Auburn University, with Bill serving on the board of the Tigers Unlimited Foundation.
“You embody the creed of Auburn”, athletic director Allen Green told the Nevilles at the ceremony. “You are helping to transform the lives of 18 to 22 year olds, helping to use the sport to transform them into Auburn men and women.”
Bill’s father and grandparents graduated from Auburn University. Bill earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Mathematical Sciences, and his MBA from Columbia University.
He founded several technology companies in Sainte-Croix focusing on television news and automation, broadband deployment and sports analysis.
Connie earned her Bachelor of Education from New York University and a Masters of Education from Columbia University. The Nevilles live in St. Croix, where Connie supports a number of charitable causes after teaching in New York, New Jersey and Florida and working in interior design.
“Bill and Connie are great people, as good as they come,” the Auburn men’s basketball coach said. Bruce Pearl noted. “For them to be so generous and invest in all of our student-athletes is very important.”
The Nevilles’ donation will fund improvements to the arena, including an additional practice facility.
“There are as many people in a building as there are on campus,” Pearl said, noting that four Auburn programs share the venue, as well as visiting teams, which kept Pearl from telling potential student-athletes that they could take additional training on their own schedule. “When we have built this training center, I will be able to say the same thing. It is important for training.”
The Nevilles had been planning to make a major donation to support men’s basketball for a few years, signing a pledge last fall and receiving Tigers Unlimited’s naming recommendation board approval on Feb. 4, 2022.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Bill Neville. “We are humbled and honored that they wanted to put our name on the arena.”
“We’ve been coming to this arena since they built it,” Connie Neville said. “We love it so much. We love being here and we love Auburn. It was a really special day to share with our family and so many of our friends.”
At the end of the ceremony, members of the Auburn men’s basketball team joined the Nevilles for some surfing, one of the activities that makes game days at Neville Arena a joyous experience for many. .
“To all of the Auburn family, thank you for welcoming us into your family,” Bill Neville said in his closing remarks. “I love basketball. I love being a part of it. I love Auburn. I love this team. I love these coaches. I love every student in the Jungle, the biggest home advantage in the nation. I love the Auburn family.
“And I really love the two hours of magic and mayhem we all create together in this magnificent arena. War Eagle!”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer