Quantcast

Auburn's Tony Barbee enters SEC tourney amid job questions - abc27 WHTM

Auburn's Tony Barbee enters SEC tourney amid job questions

Posted: Updated:
Auburn coach Tony Barbee yells at the officials during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas A&M Saturday, March 8, 2014, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) Auburn coach Tony Barbee yells at the officials during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas A&M Saturday, March 8, 2014, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Chris Denson and the Auburn Tigers can't escape the questions about coach Tony Barbee's job security going into the Southeastern Conference tournament.

They just try not to spend too much time thinking about it.

"We hear it all the time, but we can't focus on that," Denson said on Monday. "As players, we know the situation but we've also got coach's back and we want to do everything we can to get this win in the SEC tournament."

Barbee's future at Auburn remains uncertain entering Wednesday night's first-round game against South Carolina.

Athletic director Jay Jacobs said after last season that his "expectation is for our program to show significant improvement under coach Barbee's leadership." The 12th-seeded Tigers (14-15, 6-12 SEC) have doubled their league win total but haven't been able to climb much higher in the league standings.

Barbee, whose tenure has been marked by a number of transfers and dismissals, has gone 18-50 in SEC games and don't have a winning season.

"As we always do, we will sit down with Tony after the season," Jacobs said Monday in a statement to The Associated Press.

Barbee has declined to address his job status and deflected a question Monday about whether the Tigers had met Jacobs' standard for significant improvement. Auburn would owe him about $2.4 million if he's fired after the season.

"I haven't even had time to evaluate it," Barbee said. "All I'm worried about is the SEC tournament in Atlanta and our game against South Carolina."

Auburn is coming off a road win over Texas A&M on the heels of lopsided losses to Tennessee and Alabama. The Tigers have lost six of their last nine.

Barring a surprising run in the SEC tournament, they'll fail to make the NCAA tournament or even the NIT for the fifth consecutive season. Barbee said he's not feeling the heat.

"I've never felt pressure in my life — not as a player, not as an assistant coach, not as a head coach," he said.

His rosters have been depleted by defections. Nine of Barbee's signees are no longer with the program. Jeff Lebo signee Earnest Ross left after Barbee's first season and became a starter at Missouri.

Seniors Denson and Allen Payne have stuck it out the past four years.

"A lot of people can't understand coach's philosophy and think that he doesn't like them," Denson said. "Instead, he was just trying to make them better.

"I could have left but I didn't because I know he was trying to make me better. I thank him for that. Me and Allen sticking around, that's just a result of us not quitting."

Auburn has lost in the first round of the SEC tournament in each of Barbee's first three seasons. The Tigers, who are coming off a road win over Texas A&M, have beaten South Carolina in both regular-season meetings.

The winner plays Arkansas, perhaps trying to keep Barbee's Auburn career going. Denson said that topic hasn't been talked about in the locker room.

"We have our coach's back no matter what," Payne said. "We're going to go down fighting as seniors and we'll worry about that stuff later. But right now we've got a job to do over in Atlanta, and it starts with South Carolina."

Follow John Zenor on Twitter @jzenor

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow