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Auburn Fires Tony Barbee

Rev up the college basketball coaching carousel!


Well, that didn't take long. This offseason's college basketball coaching carousel has claimed its first major conference program victim in cold, cold fashion. Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs fired Tony Barbee at the team hotel less than two hours after the Tigers' 74-56 loss to South Carolina in the SEC Tournament.

"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Jacobs said in a press release from Auburn. "I believe we should compete for championships in men's basketball. It's time for somebody else to have a turn. We need to find somebody to come in here and take what we have here now and put some more in and compete for SEC titles."

Auburn's search for a new basketball coach will begin immediately.

"We're going to try to move as quickly as we possibly can," Jacobs said. "We're going to be as thorough as we possibly can. We're not going to rush it. I'm going to try to hire the best guy for this basketball program.

Barbee compiled a 49-74 (18-50 SEC) record in four years at Auburn.* Not for nothing, Auburn beat Boston College earlier this season. So that's a thing.

Auburn will likely be among the suitors for former Tennessee Volunteer coach Bruce Pearl, but the guys over at College and Magnolia aren't so optimistic about their chances of landing him.

Just what direction that is remains to be seen. With the current state of the Auburn basketball, it's hard to imagine Jacobs will be able to attract a coach from a top or solid mid-major program. Many Auburn fans have been clamoring for former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, but his show-cause order from the NCAA isn't over until August. In recent days, former Mississippi State coach Rich Stansbury has been a hot name, but as of right now, there is no credence to that rumor.

No matter what, it's time to turn the page. Hopefully the next one isn't so terrible.

Like Donahue, Barbee was a mid-major coach coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance with his previous outfit. The two coaches haven't enjoyed much success at their current stops, other than Donahue's first team that made the NIT with players recruited by the previous staff.

As far as job desirability goes, Boston College is a better job than Auburn, though how much better is up for debate. So it'll be interesting to see who Jacobs can land to fill this vacancy. That may say a lot about how soft the college basketball head coach market is this offseason.

* For reference, Steve Donahue is 54-76 (24-45 ACC) in four seasons at BC. So slightly more winning but also more losing.