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Auburn fires Tony Barbee two hours after Tigers' first-round los - abc27 WHTM

Auburn fires Tony Barbee two hours after Tigers' first-round loss in SEC tourney

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Tony Barbee talks to ABC 33/40 Sports Director Mike Raita immediately after Auburn's first-round loss in the SEC Basketball Tournament, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Barbee was fired two hours later at the team hotel in Atlanta, Ga. (abc3340.com) Tony Barbee talks to ABC 33/40 Sports Director Mike Raita immediately after Auburn's first-round loss in the SEC Basketball Tournament, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Barbee was fired two hours later at the team hotel in Atlanta, Ga. (abc3340.com)

ATLANTA (AP) — Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs fired basketball coach Tony Barbee on Wednesday night, about two hours after the Tigers' season ended with a first-round loss in the SEC tournament.

Jacobs announced the decision shortly after the team left the Georgia Dome following Auburn's 74-56 loss to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament.

Barbee insisted after the game the Tigers improved by finishing 14-16 overall and 6-12 in the Southeastern Conference — improving from 9-23 and 3-15 last season. He said after the game he expected to meet with Jacobs when the team returned to Auburn.

Jacobs didn't wait that long. He said in a statement a change was needed.

"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Jacobs said in the statement. "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."

Jacobs said he made the announcement Wednesday night so Barbee could tell the players before they left campus for spring break Thursday.

Barbee was 49-75 at Auburn, posting losing records in each of his four seasons.

He came to Auburn after four seasons at Texas-El Paso, including a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2010.

Follow Charles Odum on Twitter @CharlesOdum

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