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Mar 12, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Tony Barbee reacts to the action against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first half in the first round of the SEC Tournament at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn Tigers fire head basketball coach Tony Barbee

Heading into the SEC Tournament this week, there was widespread speculation that Auburn head coach Tony Barbee could be on a blazing “hot seat”, but no one could have expected him to be fired less than an hour after the team’s tournament exit. However, that is exactly what happened.

Auburn suffered an ugly, 74-56 loss to a less than stellar South Carolina team on Wednesday night, but the axe came down on Barbee before the team ever left Atlanta. In a published statement following the move, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs had this to say about his decision:

“After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program. 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.”

Frankly, it is tough to blame Jacobs and the university for wanting to go a different direction. Barbee’s tenure fell far short of relevancy with a 48-75 cumulative record over four seasons, and there has never been less interest in the basketball program at Auburn. Still, there was a better way to handle this, and firing a head coach while he is with his team on the road is inexplicable and rash, even with a nice list of names available to replace him.

Barbee has “earned” his exit from Auburn, but Jay Jacobs jumped the gun.

Tags: Auburn Tigers

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