Friday, March 12, 2010

Lebo out as AU coach

Auburn has confirmed that Jeff Lebo is out as head coach.

Auburn announced the university’s decision to dismiss Lebo in a late-afternoon press release Friday.

“I want to thank coach Lebo for all that he has done for Auburn University over the past six years,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said in the release. “Coach Lebo has worked hard and has always represented Auburn with character, class and integrity. However, we feel like the time has come for Auburn basketball to move in a new direction. We deeply appreciate all that he and his staff have done for Auburn, and we wish each of them and their families nothing but the best.”

Lebo’s contract still had three years remaining. If fired, he is due a $1.5 million buyout.

Lebo came to Auburn in 2004 with the program under NCAA sanctions. Several of former coach Cliff Ellis’ top players left when Ellis did, creating early struggles for Lebo.

During his six years, Lebo went 96-93 as the Auburn coach. He went 35-61 in SEC play, including three seasons with 4-12 conference records.

The Tigers also managed just a 2-6 mark in SEC Tournament games under Lebo.

Auburn missed the NCAA Tournament every year with Lebo at the helm and made the postseason only once – the 2009 NIT. The Tigers won 24 games that year, matching the second-most in a season.

The 2008-09 season was the highlight of a six-year stint that included just one other winning year.

This year, though, Auburn fell back toward the back of the SEC West, finishing in a fourth-place tie with Alabama. Perhaps more troublesome is the fact that of the Tigers’ top six players, only one – Frankie Sullivan – was a non-senior and they still fell back in the conference.

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