Archived Story

Lots of new faces on the Auburn Plains

Published 2:27pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

By Andy Graham

It’s certainly no secret that Auburn University athletics across the board have had a pretty miserable year (or two).
In fact, it’s been downright dreadful and unfortunately that theme continued this past week as the baseball program failed to make the postseason for the 3rd consecutive year.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Auburn has adopted a slogan in recent months that “it’s a new day.”
Well, it’s a new day on The Plains all right and there are going to be quite a lot of new faces to go along with it.
Obviously, Gus Malzahn was hired to replace former head football coach Gene Chizik who was let go after last season’s 3-9 (0-8 in SEC) debacle.
Malzahn, in turn, brought in an entirely new coaching staff.
Now, the university is searching for a new softball and baseball coach.
Tina Deese, who coached softball at Auburn, was fired two weeks ago after 17 years with a record of 562-458-1. Her SEC record although was only 212-272.
Tiger baseball coach John Pawlowski was fired Monday after failing to make the postseason yet again.  His five-year record at Auburn was 167-126, but again, his SEC record was a mere 71-79.
Men’s basketball coach Tony Barbee still has his job, but his seat is so hot you could fry an egg on it.
I firmly believe that all the terminations that have taken place up to this point have been justified.  However, my biggest concern is who is hiring their replacements.
Auburn president Jay Gogue recently came out in full support of athletic director Jay Jacobs, and Jacobs himself squashed any rumors that he would resign by exclaiming he intended to be at Auburn for a long time.
In light of that, this will be the last time for the foreseeable future I dedicate any ink to the subject of Jacob’s employment status.
I don’t believe in beating dead horses.  Jay Jacobs hired Gene Chizik, John Pawlowski and Tony Barbee, and it appears at the moment that Jacob’s record is 0-3.  Why should any Auburn fan trust his judgment?
I suppose the university could shell out no telling how many more thousands of dollars for yet another search committee.
Sure, that makes a lot of sense.  Go out and hire an outside contractor to do the exact job you’re already paying (handsomely, I might add) the athletic director to do.  If you can’t trust your own AD to hire coaches, then I’m not sure what you can trust him to do.
To be honest, I don’t know how Auburn will proceed from here. If given the chance, Jacobs may go out and bring in the best baseball and softball coaches the Tigers have ever had in their respective programs’ histories.
On the other hand, he may hire two coaches that continue the customary mediocrity their predecessors have well established.
In his defense, Pawlowski and Barbee were both considered up and comers and very good hires at the time.
Whether Jacobs does the hiring himself or a committee is formed, there are going to be two more new faces in the Auburn family very soon.
It’s a new day in Auburn and I, for one, am glad to see some changes being made.  I think some new faces and new voices are definitely what the athletic department needs.  I just can’t help but wonder if one more new face in particular wouldn’t be the best thing for Auburn athletics.
Graham is a sports columnist for The Outlook.

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