Pawlowski Out at Auburn, Jacobs Starts His Third Coaching Search This Year
After Auburn Baseball failed to make the NCAA Tournament today for the third consecutive year, John Pawlowski was fired as the Tigers’ head coach. In making the decision, Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said a change was “necessary to help us achieve the goal” of playing for championships.
The Tigers finished the regular season strong, going 12 – 9 in league play including series wins over Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Florida. But an early exit from the SEC Tournament saw a drop in their RPI rating. That coupled with a poor out of conference schedule prevented them from making the NCAA.
However, it was more than the failure to make the 64-team field that brought about Pawlowski’s dismissal. Auburn has failed to make the NCAA in four of the last five years and only got into the SEC Tournament the last two because of tournament expansion first to 10 and then 12 teams this year.
The Tigers finished 33-23 overall and 13-17 in the SEC. They were 20-5 in non conference games, but only played one team with an RPI of better than 100 (College of Charleston).
Even though Coach Pawlowski came to Auburn with an impressive resume (three league championships and a 338–192-1 record at Charleston) he just couldn’t seem to get the Tigers playing consistently. There have been flashes of good spells but Pawlowski built his teams on Juco transfers and while that’s a formula for short term success; you just can’t sustain a winning program on transfers.
With the exception of the 2010 season when Auburn hosted a regional, the Tigers have finished in the bottom half of the league every year.
This writer has been a supporter of Pawlowski in this space but it became obvious even to this homer that this would be his last year at the helm, if he didn’t get the job done. The truth of the decline in the program since Hal Barid and Steve Renfroe left has been painfully clear.
And so now we wait to see who Jay Jacobs will be choosing as the new baseball coach at Auburn. Early names already surfacing in the rumor mill are former Auburn player and Samford Head Coach Casey Dunn, Troy Head Coach Bobby Pierce. and North Carolina pitching coach Scott Forbes.
No matter whether its one of these early names or someone else, the pressure is on Athletic Director Jay Jacobs to get it right. With the end to what has been the lowest year in Auburn’s major sports coming to a close … there simply are no mulligan’s left for him to hit.