Auburn baseball: Tigers head coach John Pawlowski fired

Todd Van Emst photo

After missing the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five years, Auburn decided to move on.

Auburn has fired head baseball coach John Pawlowski, according to Auburn Undercover's Phillip Marshall. The news comes hours after the Tigers weren't included in this year's NCAA Tournament field.

Pawlowski spent five years on the Plains, and in four of those seasons, Auburn finished under .500 in SEC play and failed to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The lone blip on the radar was 2010, when Auburn compiled a 20-10 SEC record, won the Western Division and hosted a regional. However, even that year featured some disappointment, as the Tigers crashed out of the SEC Tournament in three games and were eliminated by Clemson in the regional.

In total, Pawlowski compiled a 166-114 overall record at Auburn and a 71-79 mark against SEC competition.

College baseball's shift to new, less powerful bats after the 2010 season seems to have doomed Coach P. In the last three seasons, he's relied too heavily on small ball, often taking the bat out of Auburn's best hitters' hands. In 2012, the Tigers led the SEC with a .303 batting average, but many players on the team grew to resent the head coach's offensive strategy. Left fielder Cullen Wacker was suspended for a game late in the year due to insubordination.

The biggest issue for Auburn under Pawlowski was fundamentals in the field. The Tigers have consistently committed far too many errors in recent years, finishing 10th or worst among SEC teams in fielding percentage in each of the last three years.

Now, Auburn must hire the right replacement. Hopefully, Jay Jacobs will try to lure a coach with a proven track record in a major conference and avoid the up-and-comer candidates.

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