Auburn dedicates Neville Arena – Auburn University Athletics

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AUBURN, Ala. – With students in nearby tents lined up nearly 24 hours before tipoff for Saturday’s regular season finale, Auburn formally dedicated Neville Arena Friday in gratitude of the single largest gift in Auburn Athletics history.

Neville Arena, 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 of giving.

“Auburn has been a gift to us,” Connie Neville said after Auburn University Board of Trustees president pro tempore Bob Dumas read the resolution proclaiming the name change. “We feel part of a family. It’s a real gift to come on these grounds on the Plains and be here with everybody who’s here for the same reason: to support one another, have fun and love. That’s life.”

From Auburn, Bill Neville says he’s 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 Auburn-like passion to my endeavors, I know I have a very good chance of success.”

Neville Sand

Natives of Eufaula, Alabama, the Nevilles are longtime supporters of Auburn Athletics and Auburn University, with Bill serving on the Tigers Unlimited Foundation Board.

“You epitomize the Auburn Creed,” Director of Athletics Allen Greene told the Nevilles during the ceremony. “You help transform the lives of 18 to 22-year-olds, helping use sport to develop 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 firms on St. Croix focusing on television news and automation, broadband deployment and sports analytics.

Connie earned her bachelor’s in education from New York University and a master’s in education from Columbia University. The Nevilles live on 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 wonderful people, as fine as they come,” Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl said. “For them to be this generous and make this investment in all of our student-athletes, it’s very significant.”

The Nevilles’ gift will fund arena improvements, including an additional practice facility.

Mar 4, 2022;  Auburn, AL, USA;  Arena Dedication Ceremony at Neville Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
‘humbled and honoured’

“It’s as busy of a building as there is on campus,” Pearl said, noting how four Auburn programs share the venue, along with visiting teams, which prevented Pearl from telling prospective student-athletes they could do extra training on their own schedule. “When we get this practice facility built, I’ll be able to say the same thing. That’s important for training.”

The Nevilles had been planning for a few years to make a major gift to support men’s basketball, signing a pledge last fall and receiving Board of Trustees approval of Tigers Unlimited’s naming recommendation on Feb. 4, 2022.

“It’s overwhelming,” Bill Neville said. “We’re humbled and honored that they were willing 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. This was a really special day to share it with our family and so many of our friends.”

Mar 4, 2022;  Auburn, AL, USA;  Arena Dedication Ceremony at Neville Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Swag surfing: The Nevilles dance with the 2021-22 SEC champions

As the ceremony concluded members of Auburn’s men’s basketball team joined the Nevilles to swag surf, one of the activities that makes game days at Neville Arena a joyful experience for many.

“To everyone in 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 greatest home-court advantage in the country. I love the Auburn family .

“And I really love the two hours of magic and chaos that we all create together in this beautiful arena. War Eagle!”
 

Mar 4, 2022;  Auburn, AL, USA;  Arena Dedication Ceremony at Neville Arena.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Shannon/AU Athletics
Bill and Connie Neville at Neville Arena

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer