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Time Running Out For Barbee?

By on February 18th, 2013 in Basketball 8 Comments »

barbeeListening to Tony Barbee following Auburn’s 31-point blowout to Florida Saturday, he sounded eerily familiar to another embattled Auburn coach.

“It is what it is. We’ve got to do our job of continuing to build, continuing to grow. I think we’ve got some really talented yet inexperienced guys in this program that we’ve got to get better. I’m really excited about the group we’ve got coming.

“So I think the future’s bright. You see us, where we’re starting and where the top of this league is, there’s a big gap, and we’re trying to close that gap.”

If you close your eyes you would swear the guy talking was wearing a white Under Armour pullover. The only question left for this Auburn basketball team is whether Barbee will follow Chizik out the door in March.

Watching the carnage left on the floor of Auburn Arena Saturday afternoon, it’s hard to believe that little more than a decade ago, Auburn competed and won SEC Championships.

Now, after losing nine of its last 10 games, Barbee is looking for excuses.

“It’s not like we’ve been blown out of those nine games,” Barbee said. “Obviously, it’s not horseshoes and hand grenades. We’re not here to get close. We’re here to win.

“But we’ve had our opportunities. Today we just ran into a buzzsaw.”

Since Cliff Ellis was run out of town in 2004, Auburn has consistently been among the worse in the SEC. For a school famous for its impatience with football coaches, the athletic department uncharacteristically looks the other way when it comes to men’s basketball.

For now, Auburn students still show up and more fans come to Auburn Arena than should considering the quality on the court. Under fire already for his handling of the football program, athletic director Jay Jacobs can ill afford fans defecting from Auburn Arena after the $92 million investment.

It’s hard to imagine Barbee getting a fourth season; then again Jacobs remaining on the job is even more unfathomable, and yet here he sits.

Barbee faces a must win situation on Wednesday, when Texas A&M comes to town. For Auburn, this is a winnable game. The Aggies are coming off a 63-56 loss to Vanderbilt and sit 5-7 in conference play.

With six games remaining, time is running out. When asked about his future on Saturday, Barbee refused to bite.

“That’s not for me to decide,” he said.

Here we go again.


  1. DBAU81 says:

    Firing Barbee won’t do any good as long as Jacobs is still around and hires his replacement. And Dr. Gogue (who by all accounts is a fine man and who seems to be doing an excellent job on the academic side, which is where his top priorities are and should always be) won’t fire Jacobs until enough people with enough influence pressure him to do so. The problem is that those people are the ones who are responsible for Jacobs getting the job in the first place, and they likely want to keep him there. Jacobs may have gotten a temporary reprieve in the eyes of many rank-and-file fans with the hiring of Coach Malzahn, who has made all the right moves so far. Ultimately, though, Jacobs is the problem – or, at least, the public face of the problem. We need a complete culture and regime change within the Athletic Department. But, because Auburn is, and likely will forever be, a football school first and foremost, only if the football program continues to be a train wreck are we likely to get it. And nobody, including me, is hoping that the football team fails just so we can get a new AD. Conclusion: we probably missed our last and best chance to get rid of Jacobs at the conclusion of the worst football season in more than 60 years, and nothing will change anytime soon.

  2. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Barbee has seen his share of struggles. There are a few of the upperclassmen that aren’t very good, or never realized their potential to be good that Barbee inherited.

    A couple of his quick fixes weren’t very good either, and some ended up being trouble, and possibly committed criminal activities as is the case in the point shaving incident.

    Still, there are signs, that we are so close, you feel you could reach out and touch them. Auburn basketball is close to being competitive. We couldn’t say that the last four or five years. This next class to come in will be the most talented class since Sonny Smith.

    There have been a few really good players since Coach Smith was here, but this next class actually has real potential. I say give him another two seasons at most. Of course, I said to give Chizik another year as well, and now I’m happy he is gone. So, what do I know.

    This Auburn team has me watching basketball again, that has to mean something….


  3. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    Not blown out? What do you call what happened in the Florida game? I call 83-52 a blowout.

  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    Whether or not Barbee deserves more time is moot.
    At the end of the season, he will get the boot.

  5. mccullars says:

    Barbee lost my support when, a couple of weeks ago, he said he was embarrassed to be the coach. Jacobs should have seen to it immediately that Barbee’s embarrassment was remedied.

  6. dabble says:

    The ’embarrassed’ comment may have been coach-speak motivation. Not sure.
    Seen that type of talk before.
    Barbee was left with no gold. Only sludge.
    He has improved the quality of the product if not the results.
    Which in the end matter most.
    I do not feel you can compare the HC at BB to the HC at FB. the revenue streams are too different.
    I think the admin, with jj still at helm, will let Barbee have more time.
    I say he’s safe for two years.

  7. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Cam is still elligible for basketball right?

  8. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    I am sorry… I have said this repeatedly… and I will do so again. When you spend the kind of money we did on that arena… I think it say’s something if you continue to fail. Something is terribly wrong. And that is EXACTLY what AU is doing.

    Don’t know if it is Barbee. Or if the players aren’t that good. It really makes no difference to me.

    The only way you change a program is to change the person running the program. It starts at the top.

    See ya Tony!