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Auburn’s Major Sport Head Coaches.

By on March 6th, 2014 in Baseball, Basketball, Football 6 Comments »

Where do they stand?
(Photo by Acid Reign.)

     War Eagle, everybody. Fat Tuesday has come and gone, and it’s the season for giving things up. Frankly, I’m for giving up cold and ice threats, and trading in for storms, bugs and the stink of blooming Bradford pear trees. Spring football just can’t get here fast enough! So, which of Auburn’s Big Three sports head coaches would you be willing to give up for Lent?

     For Auburn fans, much is right with the world when the football team wins championships. Head football coach Gus Malzhan’s job is safe after leading Auburn to a “worst to first” SEC Title in his first season. Time will tell if success is sustainable. Remember, Terry Bowden won his first 20 games at Auburn.

     The Tiger football team scored a victory of sorts yesterday, as the NCAA Rules committee tabled a proposed “ten second rule” aimed at slowing down hurry-up offenses. Despite frantic lobbying by Nick Saban and Bret Bielema, I think wiser heads prevailed. While the debate is hardly over, college football fans are safe from this rule for this year, at least.

     Nick Saban reached for new levels of ridiculousness in the argument this week, comparing hurry-up offenses to smoking cigarettes. So Nick, you’re the self-appointed Surgeon General of the NCAA now? And I suppose you have peer-reviewed studies linking the hurry-up to cancer? No? I will give Saban credit for having his fall guy Bret Bielema ready just in case.


     A week ago, I cautiously spoke to minimal improvements in Auburn’s mens basketball program, what I thought were Tiger chances of reaching the post-season and saving head coach Tony Barbee’s job. Since that piece, the Tigers have imploded. First, the Tigers bricked a double-digit loss to a bad Alabama team, then was blown out at home on Senior Night by Tennessee.

     The Vols took leads of 10-0, 22-4, 27-6, and posted a 44-20 halftime lead, en route to an 82-54 win. Tony Barbee now has 50 SEC losses in just 4 seasons, and took a 28 point beating on his home floor against a team that was just 4-8 on the road. On top of that, Barbee walked out of his post-game press conference after being asked about his job security. Stick a fork in him. He’s done. All that remains this season is a road loss to Texas A&M, and an early exit from the SEC tourney. Even if Barbee is kept on, he loses 4 seniors and will be starting from scratch again next season.

     Auburn baseball woes continue with a 4-3 loss to Alabama in the Capital City Classic. A throwing error gave the Tide the winning run, but the real story was that Auburn only managed 3 hits in the entire game, against a very mediocre 6-5 Crimson Tide team.

     Auburn’s baseball record stands at 5-5, and the tough SEC season is just starting. The lightning rod for criticism thus far has been new head coach Sunny Golloway. I’ll give the man this. He’s not shy about speaking his mind. He’s still insisting that Auburn will make it to the college world series in Omaha this season. I’m betting that he’s seen a UFO or two, and has spotted Bigfoot, too.

     Golloway has shaken the team up with some dismissals and demotions, and most folks agree that the team’s effort has improved. Were these things wisely handled, as Golloway tossed them out into the court of public opinion? I’m not so sure, but I would rather have a coach that tells it like he thinks it is, rather than say, the “good practices this week and things of that nature” we got from a former football coach on a weekly basis while the program was free-falling off the cliff.

     I like a coach who tries to educate his fans. Golloway has repeated that his batters are taking too many called third strikes. That’s a legitimate strategy point, although a bit of a simplistic statement. If guys always swing when the count’s at two strikes, the pitcher will throw it in the dirt every time at that juncture. Galloway preaches being aggressive, and I think he’s right on that score. College baseball has become a pitching and fielding game, after the rules committee dumbed-down the bats a few years back. You’ve got to get runs any way you can. Gone are the days of the 19-17 home-run derby.

     I’m looking forward to the tales of spring football! Auburn has a lot of talent and momentum returning, but there are some areas of concern, as with any team this time of year. I think the biggest area of concern will be the defensive secondary. Jermaine Whitehead and Jonathan Mincy are proven winners. Everyone else healthy on the roster saw action mainly in the second half against teams like Western Carolina and Florida Atlantic. Auburn will be trying to develop some pass defenders, with Marshall and Johnson throwing rockets at them. Should be very interesting!

     Other areas of interest include the defensive line, linebacker, and special teams. Auburn must replace three defensive linemen who took part in the recent Pro Day, but there is a stockpile of depth returning. Who’ll come out on top, and will they be as slow this year to make noise as last year’s group was?

     Auburn must replace Cody Parkey and Steven Clark, who were pretty stellar performers during their careers kicking the ball at Auburn. Will the newcomers struggle, or be stars? How does Auburn replace suddenly-superstar Chris Davis in the return game? Quite honestly, I think the linebacker questions are mainly about depth. I think Frost, McKinzy and Therezie will be good SEC-caliber defenders. Who’ll give them meaningful relief off the bench?


  1. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    Is Bigfoot eligible to participate in college athletics? We need a good center or power forward on the basketball team. Another stick in the baseball lineup never hurts.

  2. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Barbee’s toast. I wish him luck in his future endeavors.

    I don’t know much about baseball, so I don’t know if Galloway’s strategy will work or not. Bottom line, he’s the coach. So if he had athletes not buying into what he was saying, it was imperative that they were shown the door. Talented, beloved, what have you, doesn’t matter if you don’t take what the coach is trying to tell you to heart…….

  3. BeachTiger BeachTiger says:

    Acid, since you did mention the “Saban Rule”, I would like to offer my 2-cents worth. The following was given to me from a doctor at UF Shands in Gainesville;

    “Hemoglobin S (Hb S) results from a point mutation leading to a single amino acid substitution at the sixth position of the β-globin chain. Eight to 9% of blacks are heterozygous for Hb S and are considered to have the sickle cell trait (Hb AS). The sickle cell trait is generally considered a benign condition, although hematuria, renal medullary carcinoma, risk of splenic rupture at high altitudes, venous thromboembolism, and sudden death during extreme conditions have been reported. In 2010, the NCAA recommended screening of all incoming student athletes for sickle cell trait before participation in athletic activities. It is uniformly recommended that individuals with sickle cell trait should remain well hydrated during strenuous activity, but how screening results will otherwise impact participation and eligibility remains very controversial. In a 2012 policy statement, The American Society of Hematology (ASH) indicated that it does not support testing or disclosure of sickle cell trait status as a prerequisite for participation in athletic activities. In addition, ASH notes that the NCAA policy can cause potential harm to student athletes and the larger community of patients with sickle cell trait. The ASH policy statement also recommends universal interventions to reduce exertion-related injuries and deaths because this approach can be effective for all athletes irrespective of their sickle cell status. The policy statement also cites the need for further research into the relationship between sickle cell trait and exertion-related illness.”

    When I asked about the “harm” noted in his response, he stated that testing and disclosure causes more tests which could potentially have conflicting results, costly, etc., which is why medicine has such strict screening guidelines. If someone is completely asymptomatic, and you find something “wrong”, what do you do with it?

    From the above statements, it appears that King Saban and Bert the Joker are not going to get much support from the medical field… I guess they’ll have to create their own Department of Voodoo Medicine to get the results they’re after. What’s next? Do we restrict the tempo of basketball? Soccer? Don’t think so.

    Sorry to ramble on…


    • rn4au rn4au says:

      Thank you BeachTiger!!! Awesome post and very informative. From my two cent medical background I am not feeling a lot of support for this arguement either. Yet I do forsee a well orgastrated medical voodoo panel that mysteriously comes up with some statistical data that supports whatever little rule the Sabanator wants passed. I think the little narcisissist will go to great lengths to make the world his own little Saban oyster…and just like any true narcisissist starts screaming “unfair” when it doesnt go his way.

  4. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Big question – What will JJ do with Barbee? Cut his losses and anti up $1.5 mil severance or give him a 5th year to try to even match what Jeff Lebo did before he was fired?