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This is my take....
Jay will ultimately be judged by what we do in the big three sports. Right or wrong, that is reality and he knows that. Outside of the big 4 sports, he has done a remarkable job. Profitable athletic department (90% of programs are not), excellent facilities, no NCAA trouble, good academic and graduation rates to name a few things that he is responsible for.
He has now hired every coach in the 4 big sports and has hired two in football.
He went out on a limb and hired Chizik. Seemed weird since he was coming off 5-19, but he was one of the hottest prospects two years prior and now had head coaching experience. He was also very familiar with Auburn and this area. He had no control over the staff Chizik hired which were ultimately his downfall. Chizik was in over his head, but there was no way Jay could have known that. Not excusing it though because it all lays at his feet. All that did though is bring us our first national championship in over 50 years. I don't care who helped us, why it happened, etc....it happened and would not have happened had Jay not hired Chizik. Now, the train came off the track and the Auburn family was screaming for everyone's head. So, what does Jay do, he fires the head coach he hired 2 years after winning a national championship. Which, by the way, is what everyone wanted him to do. I give him credit for that. It is not an easy decision to admit you were wrong like that.
He has now hired Malzahn which was a weird process and hire, but since they haven't coached a down yet, we should not pass judgement. Looks good so far in my opinion.
Jay did not hire Nell Fortner. This is Coach Flo's first year. There is no reason to even talk about this subject for 3 years.
Jay did not hire Jeff Lebo. Barbee was his first hire in this sport. He was a very hot prospect. The Auburn family was in agreement that in order to have a winning program, you have to have the facilities and the coach and make a commitment to it. Jay has done that. In fact, since Auburn is still not allowing any contact with Kamara, Jay is giving Barbee double his recruiting budget to go around the country and recruit other kids. Barbee asked for this. Jay is keeping his word that he was making a commitment. Also, he did not veto Mike Anderson. He wanted to hire him. Richardson vetoed him.
Barbee inherited a mess. I would say it is worse than any mess the previous 4 coaches inherited. When he was hired, I said he needed 5 years and I still think that. If you look at the article PM wrote today or yesterday, the last 4 or 5 coaches all started out just like Barbee has. I want us to win more than anything, but the reality is, Auburn has never been a real powerhouse in basketball and probably never will be. Tony is facing a very difficult situation, but he is a good coach and if it can be done, he can do it. I also believe things are getting better, even though the records don't show that. We have lost 8 games this year where we have been within one possession in the last minute. What if half of those had gone the other way? What if all 8 had? We suck this year no doubt about it. But I don't expect Tony to change his philosophy when he is trying to rebuild this program. I expect him to stick with what he knows and get it done, no matter how long it takes. I say if we are sitting at 9-17 at this point next year, we can start complaining, but I still think he needs 5 full years.
I agree this has been a real disappointment. We are at a disadvantage scholarship wise compared to Georgia and Florida, but I still feel we should be performing at a higher level. I agree this is probably a make or break year for Palowski. I have heard a lot of good things and they are off to a pretty good start.
Regarding the Under Armor contract. Unless you work in the athletic department or advise the athletic department in this area, I don't think anyone on this board is qualified to pass judgement on this subject. It seems as though Nike has the basketball kids locked up, but it is very popular in football and that is where our bread is buttered. I don't know enough to make a decision either, but I highly doubt this is translating in to a major swing either way in wins and losses. However, I do know Barbee has requested a larger budget for stuff we can legally give to recruits at camps and what not and Jay has accommodated him. Again, sticking to his commitment.
Its easy to just call for people's head when things aren't going the exact way you want them to. My opinion is Jay should not be fired. Things are never as bad as they seem. I believe Jay takes his job very seriously and he makes every decision with what's best for Auburn in mind. I don't believe in this good ole boy crap. I am sure he gets advice from different people, but at the end of the day, he makes his own decisions. I support him and can't wait to see what the next year holds for the big 4.
This post was edited by Tigerdot on 2/22/2013 at 3:48 PM
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