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Bruce Almighty!

By on March 18th, 2014 in Basketball 24 Comments »

Photo by Julie Bennett/

Who would have dreamed that the most prominent coach ever hired by Auburn University would be its basketball coach? In a span of little more than a year, the athletic department has gone from employing Gene Chizik and Tony Barbee to Gus Malzahn and Bruce Pearl as its two marquee coaches.

George Jefferson would be proud.

It’s a shame Jay Jacobs won’t allow himself a few stiff drinks because if anyone has earned it, it’s the reinvigorated athletic director. Hell, I’d be running around tonight in my boxers with my tie around my head. Mike Tyson wouldn’t be able to knock the smile off my face.

Has anyone grown into a job better than Jacobs? Less than 18 months ago, Las Vegas wouldn’t have given you a line on his job security. Now you have to wonder whether there’s another one better.

One thing is certain. If Bruce Pearl can’t succeed at Auburn with a still new arena and an energized fan base, then it can’t be done. We’ll know soon enough. Past success never guarantees the future, but it’s hard to imagine this program not competing for championships soon.

When the wheels of Auburn’s plane touched down today, Tiger basketball became relevant again. There couldn’t be more of a contrast in Tuscaloosa. It’s hard to explain how an athletic department with its recent football national championships now suddenly looks worn and tired.

Trophies have been replaced by a whining football coach who suddenly looks and acts old; and its basketball program has officially been tossed out as just another athletic department expense that sucks away profits.

While Alabama fans spent early Tuesday talking about how cool it was that Vince Vaughn bought Lane Kiffin’s home in California, Jacobs punched Tide boss Bill Battle in the nose with the Pearl hire. Once Battle was on the ground, it was Bama fans that were kicking him while he was down.

Paul Finebaum said Pearl’s hiring was Battle’s worst nightmare. I may argue that Kiffin is, but why split hairs?

And who said Auburn basketball couldn’t upstage football on the first day of spring practice?

With March Madness barely underway, the most asked question in these parts is when does basketball season start? Something tells me a seat at Auburn Arena may be a tougher buy than one in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Who would have guessed it?


  1. longkick says:

    great hire- lived in Milwaukee when he coached UW-Milwaukee- great marketer-great energy- always promoting on various sports stations. This is a home run- no a walk off grand slam home run.

  2. donnajoandmike84 says:

    I think Saban may be confused. He just said that he feels that Bruce Pearls fast style of play is bad for player safety. He is proposing a rule that won’t allow the point guard to cross half court with the ball until ten seconds is past.

  3. AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

    Great post Jay, I love it!
    And today was extra special because I believe we ticked off a lot of west vance folks.

  4. wde1988 wde1988 says:


    Bama absolutely will be kicking itself if this time next year if auburn is in the post season and bama isn’t. Grant who? Battle what?

    Pearl better produce. Expectations are reasonable but our program is riding on this hire. If the experiment proves inconclusive after a sufficent amount of time… my vote will be to shut down the bb program.


  5. WarEagleEngr says:

    Jacobs is making all the right chess moves. He quickly dispatched Barbee then signed Pearl while other programs with hot-seat coaches were still debating their options. There surely are three or four other programs out there that could have landed Pearl had they acted faster.

    Add to this the hires of veteran baseball and softball coaches – whose teams are 13-7 and 24-4, has anyone noticed? – and you have to commend Jacobs for his vision, and in this case especially, the alacrity of his execution.

  6. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Dear JJ,
    I know it’s been a while since we chatted. Sorry about all of that colorful language and questionable suggestions on how to spend your free time. I take it all back. You’ve had a hell of a year-dare I say inspired year. You’ve hit the mark on every hire and capped it off by bringing Pearl to the Plains (all by yourself too). Wow. Just wow. So, I appreciate all of the hard work. Yes, my pitchfork and torch are retired. Thank you. War Eagle, JJ.

  7. DBAU81 says:

    I’ve criticized JJ plenty, but I’ve never seen a more amazing turnaround from an athletic director. Obviously the 2012 football season lit some kind of a fire in him that’s been burning ever since. He has done his job. Now it’s up to the coaches to do theirs – and I think they will.

  8. LSU Jonno says:

    Awesome hire. I’m jealous.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Great to hear from you Jono, been looking to hear from you this spring about baseball.

      • LSU Jonno says:

        Work has been killing me for last 6 months. Between that and a toddler, not much time to post.

        I’m not a fan of Galloway. I think he was the wrong hire for you guys. He’s basically the anti-Bruce Pearl. Zero excitement with his style. His players hate him. SEC not a small ball league. Just doesn’t fit. I don’t think it will be a fairy tale ending for him at AU.

        • War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

          It’s GOLLOWAY so that’s probably why you think it’s the wrong hire… got the wrong person. 😉
          How do you know the players hate him? That’s not what the freshmen are saying. Lots of people don’t like me but if I am bringing home the bacon ~ what else do you want? I’m not here for the lovefest. And excitement is fun but right now we are all about the wins…..
          I believe I’ve seen a few home runs also.

        • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

          Sorry Jonathan, Can’t believe I forgot about the new baby. With an LSU dad and an Auburn mom, I remember suggesting you guys nickname ’em Tiger. A baby/todler can definitely affect your ‘spare” time. Hope little ‘Tiger’ is doing good.

          Yeah, while I was very happy to see AU get a proven winner, CSG’s past player baggage at Okl. was a concern. However, he does seem to be settling in and if he can produce 40 win seasons like he did in Norman, I think we’ll be alright.

          He has his work cut out for him with six SEC schools ranked in the top 25 and Auburn having to play five of them. I’m just glad we don’t face LSU till the end of May.

          • LSU Jonno says:

            He may settle into some 40 win seasons.

            One thing I wouldn’t say about Golloway is this line, “One thing is certain. If Bruce Pearl can’t succeed at Auburn with a still new arena and an energized fan base, then it can’t be done.”

  9. Tigerstripe Tigerstripe says:

    Does Sir Charles have a comment?

  10. GreenvilleAUfan GreenvilleAUfan says:

    Good read Jay

    I love Auburn football but I’m a big baseball & basketball fan too. I’m so excited about this hire. Even with the seniors gone and Pearl not able to really start till August, I think his first team will surprise a lot of people.

  11. […] it possibly be the start of spring practice? With the announcement yesterday morning of the hiring of Bruce Pearl as Auburn Head Basketball Coach, it didn’t seem much like opening day of football practice. […]

  12. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    Oh.My.Goodness. If you win, they will come. It looks like they are coming before the winning… about that?!
    JJ has gotten BOOM x 4……I’m excited!

  13. domaucan1 domaucan1 says:

    Coach Pearl,

    Welcome to Auburn. You are now an Auburn Tiger and, everyone knows:


    WAR EAGLE !!!

    GO BIG BLUE !!!

  14. AUwaterboy AUwaterboy says:

    What a hire. Its an exciting time to follow AU sports
    .Loved this read.

  15. sparkey sparkey says:

    I’ll give the devil what he has earned and damnit JJ you earned it. So, I say with gritted teach, fists with scabs at having to say this, I apologize JJ. You have turned it around and brought in those big time coaches to Auburn. I’ve always said it’s not rocket science. All you need to do is simply get them to know Auburn offer the huge contract and Auburn sells itself. I’m glad I was wrong. I apologize. I was wrong about you. I didn’t think you had this kind of change in you but you did it and all of Auburn is better for it.