Tony Barbee's Auburn teams lost in the first round of the SEC tournament in each of his four seasons in charge. (Wesley
Auburn didn't waste time in making a change to its basketball program. The Tigers fired coach Tony Barbee on Wednesday night, hours after the team's SEC tournament loss to South Carolina, the school announced. The news was first reported by Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs tweeted the news less than two hours after the Tigers lost to the Gamecocks 74-56 on Wednesday. Jacobs informed Barbee of his termination at the team hotel in Atlanta.
In a statement, Jacobs said he expects more from the Auburn basketball program.
"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Jacobs said.
"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."
Barbee ended his Auburn career with a 48-75 record, which included an 18-50 mark against SEC foes. Perhaps most jarring was Barbee's SEC tournament record; he lost in the first round of the conference tournament in each of his four seasons on The Plains.
Auburn might not be considered a top-tier college basketball job, but the school has invested in the program in recent years with a new arena. The question is who the Tigers can get to match expectations set by Jacobs. Auburn hasn't claimed a regular-season SEC title since 1999 and hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since 2003. In a conference so heavily dominated by football, it's difficult to sell a job like Auburn to top-tier coaching candidates. Jacobs said the school will begin a search immediately for Barbee's replacement.