I feel bad for him. A lot of people are calling for him to be let go. I just look at an example of a school that stood by their coach through tough times and it worked out very well. Frank Beamer's first six years at Virginia Tech starting in 1987 looked like this: 2-9, 3-8, 6-4-1, 6-5, 5-6, 2-8-1. You would think he'd be fired after that '92 season, but the school stuck with him. In '93 he went 9-3 and from '95 on he took off. He has won 10 or more games in 11 seasons since 1995.
I hate to see coaches get fired. They have very difficult jobs, and even though some people may think coaching is fun–and it is sometimes and very gratifying–it's tough keeping up with kids' academics, keeping them out of trouble,trying to graduate them, recruiting in a highly competitive environment and basically managing the players' lives. And while you're trying to run a clean program, you've got to win.
I know these coaches are making great salaries today and are expected to produce, but sometimes you need to try and stick with somebody a little longer and see if your patience pays dividends. It did at Virginia Tech.
I think Jeff is a very nice guy, comes from a great coaching pedigree-his dad was a highly successful high school coach whom Jeff played for. Jeff was a star player for Dean Smith at North Carolina–a perennial Sweet 16 team, Elite Eight or Final Four team except for this year– and I think he really has learned a lot and knows the game very well. I like how AU plays offense. They need a big man and they need to play better defense. but those things can be corrected. He has a six-man recruiting class coming in next year with one four-star ( a big guy) and two three-stars. The other three have not been rated. He loses some good players in Lucas Hargrove, Tay Waller, DeWayne Reed and Brendon Knox, but he has some pretty good players coming back with Frankie Sullivan leading the way. There are quite a few sophomores and some frosh.
Auburn is moving into a 90 million dollar facility next year. I wish they'd give Jeff one more year to see if he can make marked improvement in the program in the new facility. If he can't do that, they probably need to make a change. But sometimes you've got to stick with a guy who has talent and give him one more shot. Then, if they don't work out, you've tried everything and can feel good about moving another direction.
I hope AU can give Jeff one more year. They may not, but I think it's worth a shot. If AU can win at least one game in the tourney maybe Jeff can save his job. That would be over Florida, who is trying its best to get in the big tourney. If Auburn can do that, that would be a real quality victory and maybe save Jeff's job. The game is Thursday Night at 6:30 on the SEC Network; WTTO Channel 21.