BY AARON BRENNER | firstname.lastname@example.org
AUBURN, Ala. — In his second public statement regarding the men’s basketball program – and first released directly to the media, about 20 minutes after the baseball team’s first pitch of the SEC schedule – Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs voiced his support for head coach Tony Barbee at the conclusion of his third year overseeing the Tigers.
“This was obviously a disappointing season for our men’s basketball program, but I want to commend our players and especially our seniors for playing hard all year,” Jacobs said.
Auburn went 9-23 this year, tied for the most losses ever by an SEC program. Its 3-15 conference mark, last place in the 14-team standings, dropped Barbee to 12-38 in league play since his 2010 hiring, and the Tigers have been bounced in the first round of the SEC tournament each of those three seasons.
“My expectation is for our program to show significant improvement under Coach Barbee’s leadership,” Jacobs said. “Coach Barbee and I will continue to work together to support our basketball program at the highest level so we can give our fans the kind of program they expect and deserve.”
In the past 13 months, Jacobs has had to replace women’s basketball coach Nell Fortner, who resigned in February 2012, and fired football coach Gene Chizik in December. Barbee has four seasons left on his $1.5 million annual contract, which has a $750,000 yearly buyout clause.