It’s a term those of us affiliated with the Auburn family by birth, marriage or choice toss around with regularity. It’s how we hope to be defined, it’s the dignity we all too often fall short of displaying, it’s a way of life, of thinking, of acting, of carrying one’s self. It’s a standard of character we set for ourselves and for our collective family; one to which we aspire but one we may not always reach.
Just when we think being a true Auburn Man (or woman) is nothing but an ideal, an impossible achievement in this twisted world, somebody like Philip Lutzenkirchen comes along. In deed and word, Lutzenkirchen was the living embodiment of what an Auburn Man should be. He represented Auburn both on and off the football field with the perfect mix of spirit, determination, self-sacrifice, good humor, sportsmanship, decorum, maturity and grace.
He’s gone now. An auto accident ended his life at the age of 23.
Much has been written about Lutzenkirchen in the hours since his death. He’s remembered for his on-field performances, in particular his game-winning, season-saving, championship building catch (and subsequent dance) against Alabama in 2010. Stories of his compassion abound. Few players will be remembered as fondly by Auburn fans and opponents alike as Lutzenkirchen.
He was a man fathers would have wanted their daughters to date. He was a man mothers would have wanted their sons to emulate. At 20 years old, he was showing grown men decades his senior what it truly meant to live and breathe the ideal of what an Auburn Man should be.
And now he’s gone.
There’s little we can add to all that’s already written about Lutzenkirchen. The act of just writing this is so painful that we’ve been unable to do so for hours.
There are simply no words to sufficiently express our heartbreak.
War Eagle, Philip Lutzenkirchen, an Auburn Man to the core.