Robin Beach didn't have any problems when his son, Kiehl Frazier, committed to Auburn in late May. He didn't care that Frazier, the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quarterback, had decided to play college football nearly 700 miles from their Arkansas home.
Beach understood and fully supported the decision. He had been to Auburn nearly as much as Frazier. He'd met with the Tigers' coaching staff, seen the campus and town, and was convinced Frazier made the right choice, and still is.
And it isn't just the near-90,000-seat stadium, the new state-of-the-art practice facilities in the works, or even the familiar offense run by Auburn coordinator/quarterbacks coach, and former Shiloh coach, Gus Malzahn that convinced Beach. Sure, he cared about the accessories, but Beach, the parent, was more concerned with the overall product.
"There are several things about Auburn that a parent would love," said Beach. "First, the town of Auburn is very appealing for a parent because it has a hometown feel to it and most parents feel like their children would be safe there. There is enough for them to do to have fun and be kids, but there isn't a big element of unsavory characters.
"And then there is the coaching staff."
Beach knew Malzahn before Auburn first contacted Frazier. Malzahn, a legendary high school coach in Arkansas, was the first to offer Frazier. He did that nearly two years ago while at Tulsa. But Beach wasn't as familiar with the other Auburn coaches until he made a trip to Auburn.
Beach met with Malzahn and head coach Gene Chizik. He met the others including receivers coach Trooper Taylor, running backs coach Curtis Luper, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes, safeties coach Tommy Thigpen, cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley, defensive line coach Tracy Rocker and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Ted Roof. He stayed in contact with the staff and visited with the coaches several more times.
"I had the opportunity to really get to know them," said Beach.
He did the same with several other college coaching staffs. Frazier had offers from the majority of top programs across the country. Beach said he met several coaches, several coaching staffs, but none like Auburn's.
"I've dealt with coaching staffs from as far west as UCLA, as far east as Clemson, as far north as Michigan and as far south as Miami or LSU, and Auburn has an outstanding coaching staff that is very, very genuine," said Beach. "They don't come across as ambiguous or disingenuous with parents at all. They make you believe in them, and then they do what they say. To a parent, that is a big deal. They back up what they say with integrity.
"They are a unique group of high-character people. I don't know if Auburn fans realize how blessed they are, how blessed Auburn is, to have those guys, but they are."
The combination of the coaching staff, the town, the university and the football program's direction under Chizik, Beach said, makes up for the long drive. He feels the drive is worth it.
"It is when it's to Auburn," he said.
Beach thinks other parents would agree.
"Those things make parents feel comfortable and make Auburn very appealing to the parents and the kids," he said. "I would encourage any parent of any recruit, if that recruit is even remotely interested in Auburn, to put Auburn on their list of destinations. They need to make sure and go there and see it for themselves. They need to experience it.
"Auburn is just a special place, and I'm not even mentioning the obvious things like their history and tradition."