“AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn dismissed Tony Barbee as its basketball coach Wednesday night after a Southeastern Conference Tournament loss that dropped his four-year record to 48-75 that included an 18-50 mark in league play.
Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs informed Barbee of his decision after the game at the team hotel.
“After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs said the search for a new coach would begin immediately.
“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 arrived in time to move into the new $90 million Auburn Arena. But wins were difficult to come by. He lost in the first round in all four of his SEC Tournament games, the final one 74-56 to South Carolina in the Georgia Dome.
“We made an incredible investment in basketball, and certainly appreciate those players, particularly the seniors, who kept fighting,” Jacobs said.
Jacobs also thanked Barbee and his coaching staff “for all they have done over the past four years.”
Jacobs said the search for a new coach would take priority.
“We’re going to try to move as quickly as we possibly can,” he said. “We’re going to be as thorough as we possibly can. We’re not going to rush it. I’m going to try to hire the best guy for this basketball program.”
Jacobs said he informed Barbee of his decision after the game in order to give him a chance to tell his players. Auburn is on spring break and the players were expected to leave campus Thursday.
“It was important for Tony to have a chance to talk to the players,” Jacobs said.
With that, Auburn turned the page.
“As I said last year, I hoped to see significant improvement this season. Unfortunately, the results fell short of my expectations,” Jacobs said. “As Athletics Director, I expect more from our basketball program. That is why I believe it is time to move in a new direction.””