Tony Barbee fired: Auburn coach relieved after 4 miserable years

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn suffered an ugly defeat to South Carolina in the first round of the SEC Tournament, and the fourth-year head coach was relieved of his duties shortly after the final whistle.

Auburn has fired head basketball coach Tony Barbee, athletic director Jay Jacobs announced Wednesday night. The decision was officially made shortly after the Tigers' 74-56 defeat at the hands of South Carolina in the opening game of the SEC Tournament.

"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Jacobs said in an official statement. "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."

To put it mildly, the Barbee era at Auburn was awful. It began with hope and a brand new arena -- which is the lone bright spot for the program -- but after four seasons, the head coach compiled a 48-75 record overall and an 18-50 mark in conference play. The Tigers finished the 2013-14 season 14-16, 6-12 against SEC opponents. They were 0-4 in the SEC tourney under Barbee and never came close to reaching the postseason.

"As I said last year, I hoped to see significant improvement this season. Unfortunately, the results fell short of my expectations," Jacobs said. "As athletics director, I expect more from our basketball program. That is why I believe it is time to move in a new direction."

Just what direction that is remains to be seen. With the current state of 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 Rick 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.

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