3 worst head coach hires in Auburn basketball history

Bruce Pearl has arguably turned Auburn into a temporary basketball school, and is going for his second SEC Tournament title, something that seemed unthinkable while Auburn was wallowing at the bottom of the conference under these three head coaches.

Auburn Tigers head coach Tony Barbee
Auburn Tigers head coach Tony Barbee / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Tony Barbee. Tony Barbee. player. . 2010-14. 525. Tony Barbee. . Record: 49-75. 1

When Tony Barbee was hired at Auburn he became the school’s first Black head coach for either football or basketball. Breaking that barrier was a fantastic accomplishment for Barbee and a long-overdue step in the right direction for Auburn. However, Barbee struggled to make the jump from UTEP, where he won 82 games over four seasons and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. 

At Auburn, Barbee never had a winning season across his four-year tenure and finished 26 games under .500, the most of any head basketball coach in Auburn history. Barbee was unable to retain talent which prevented him from building a sustainable program in the SEC.

On top of the on-court issues, Barbee’s point guard during the 2011-12 season, Varez Ward, was accused of point shaving and suspended by the NCAA. Ward cooperated with the FBI and neither Auburn nor Ward were ever found guilty of wrongdoing. Barbee was not involved in any way with the point-shaving scandal, but it happened under his watch.

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