Barbee had just finished his fourth season at the helm and unfortunately, during his tenure, the school’s struggling basketball program did not at all progress. In his four seasons with the Tigers, Barbee’s teams were an alarming 49-75 overall and just 18-50 in SEC play.
It certainly seems a little harsh to fire a guy immediately at the conclusion of a season, but you can’t fault Auburn for wanting to act swiftly and find a quality new coach as soon as possible. As for who that new coach might be, it’s anybody’s guess at this point. My personal speculation has me wondering if former Tennessee coach and current ESPN college basketball analyst Bruce Pearl might be a potential fit. Pearl is a proven SEC winner and certainly can recruit. Also, his hiring would be one of the splashy type that might put Auburn basketball back on the map.
The reason I say “splashy type” is because that seems to be what Auburn AD Jay Jacobs has in mind. While Auburn — like most of the other SEC schools — is unquestionably a football first institution, Jacobs is determined to elevate Tigers’ hoops to a consistent winner.
Here is what he had to say in a statement released on Barbee’s firing and the potential replacement:
“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.”
Only time will tell whether or not Jacobs will be able find his man. Until then Auburn nation, War Eagle.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27