Auburn Tigers men's basketball

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Auburn Tigers
2015–16 Auburn Tigers men's basketball team
Auburn Tigers athletic logo
University Auburn University
Conference SEC
Location Auburn, AL
Head coach Bruce Pearl (2nd year)
Arena Auburn Arena
(Capacity: 9,121)
Nickname Tigers

Navy blue and Burnt orange

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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1985, 1986, 1999, 2003
NCAA Tournament appearances
1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1999, 2000, 2003
Conference tournament champions
Conference regular season champions
1928, 1960, 1999

The Auburn Tigers men's basketball program is the college basketball program that represents Auburn University, competing in the Southeastern Conference. The program began in 1905. Though they generally play under the shadow of the football program, the Tigers have had successes on the hardwood. Notably, the program is known for alumni such as Charles Barkley and Chuck Person.



There have been 19 Auburn Basketball coaches since the program was started in 1905 by Mike Donahue. Donahue roamed the Tigers' sidelines for the next 16 years and also served as Athletic Director, football coach, baseball coach, and track coach while at Auburn.[1]

The school's all-time winningest coach was Joel H. Eaves, who was also a former Tiger basketball player and part-time football coach while leading the basketball program. Assisted by later-head coach Bill Lynn, he guided the Tigers to their first SEC title in 1960 and coached for 14 seasons at The Plains.

Auburn Coaching History[2]
Tenure Coach Seasons Won Lost Pct. Conf. Conf. Pct.
1905–1921 Donahue 16 74 80 .481
1921–1924 Hutsell 3 16 24 .421
1924–1925 Bunker 1 3 11 .214
1925–1928 Papke 3 38 18 .679
1928–1929 Bohler 1 6 15 .286
1929–1930 Lee 1 1 10 .091
1930–1933 McAllister 3 25 18 .581 4–7 .364
1933–42, 1945–46 Jordan 10 95 77 .552 61–56 .521
1942–43, 1944–45 Evans 2 4 28 .125 3–18 .143
1946–1947 Edney 1 3 18 .143 1–15 .063
1947–1949 Doyle 2 21 25 .457 12–18 .400
1949–1963 Eaves 14 213 100 .681 124–75 .623
1963–1973 Lynn 10 130 124 .512 84–88 .488
1973–1978 Davis 5 70 61 .534 42–48 .467
1978–1989 Smith 11 173 154 .529 84–114 .424
1989–1994 Eagles 5 64 78 .451 29–55 .345
1994–2004 Ellis 10 186 125 .598 73–87 .456
2004–2010 Lebo 6 96 93 .508 36–61 .371
2010–2014 Barbee 4 48 75 .390 18–50 .265
2014–present Pearl 2 23 28 .451 7–17 .292
TOTAL 110 1289 1162 .525 578–709 .449

Ralph "Shug" Jordan (pronounced JURD-an) was the winningest football coach at Auburn and also coached the basketball team for 10 seasons, compiling a record of 95–77 (.552). The university's Jordan-Hare Stadium is named in his honor.

Sonny Smith[edit]

Sonny Smith was head coach at Auburn for 11 seasons and compiled an overall record of 173–154 (.529) and was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1989. He coached the Auburn Tigers to the NCAA Tournament in five consecutive seasons, 1984–1988, including their best-ever finish in 1986, in which they reached the Elite Eight (before losing to eventual national champion Louisville). He also led the Tigers to their first SEC Tournament Championship, in 1985.[3] During his years at Auburn, he coached NBA Hall of Fame player Charles Barkley as well as future NBA All-Star Chuck Person, and was the only coach in school history to have three consecutive twenty win seasons, from 1984–86.[3] On January 3, 2007, he was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Cliff Ellis[edit]

Cliff Ellis coached at Auburn for 10 seasons while compiling a record of 186–125 (.598). Ellis brought a sense of excitement to the program, seen most notably through the "Cliff Dwellers," the student section at Beard-Eaves. He took Auburn to the NIT in 1994 and 1998, building up the program at the time

His most successful season was the 1998–99 season, when the team won their first 18 games and finished the season with a 29–4 record, setting a state of Alabama record for the most wins. This team, led by transfer Chris Porter and Doc Robinson, won the SEC regular season title and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. The next season, the team had even higher aspirations, predicted by Sports Illustrated to win the national title. Auburn finished with a 24–10 record and reached the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year, advancing to the second round. Ellis also reached the NCAA Tournament in 2003 as the last at-large team admitted. Under much scrutiny, the team advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to eventual national champion Syracuse. After the 2004 season, Ellis resigned[4] while Auburn faced NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations by assistant coaches, which resulted in scholarship restrictions. Ellis was not found at fault in any NCAA investigation.

Jeff Lebo[edit]

Jeff Lebo was named the Tigers' 19th head basketball coach on April 8, 2004, moving to Auburn from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Lebo worked to rebuild the program, facing issues of probation and players leaving the program (Brandon Robinson, Marco Killingsworth, DeWayne Curtis). Despite the depth issues, continued attrition (Toney Douglas transferred to Florida State after a being named to the ALL-SEC Freshman team), and having undersized big men, Lebo steadily improved, having his first winning season in 2006–07. Lebo enjoyed the most success at Auburn in the 2008–09 season, leading the team to a 2nd place divisional finish and a top seed in the NIT. The team finished with a 21–10 regular season record and a 10–6 conference record. Auburn began the conference season with a 1–3 mark, but caught fire at the end of the season, winning 9 of their last 10 games. This team was led by seniors Korvotney Barber, Quantez Robinson and Rasheem Barrett. In the NIT they defeated UT Martin in the first round 87–82 after holding a 19-point lead. Then in the second round blew out Tulsa 74–55. Baylor defeated them 74–72 in the third round. Lebo was fired with two years remaining on his contract after the 2009–10 season. His cumulative Auburn record was 96–93 over his six-year tenure. With a successful staff including Tim Craft, Bryan Bartley

Tony Barbee[edit]

Tony Barbee was named the head coach of the men's basketball team on March 24, 2010. He was formally introduced the following day in Auburn Arena. Barbee previously coached at the University of Texas at El Paso, and he also served as an assistant at the University of Memphis under Kentucky head coach John Calipari. He led the Miners to the 2010 Conference USA championship and was named the 2010 Conference USA coach of the year. His cumulative record at UTEP was 82–52. Barbee was fired by Auburn on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, just minutes after the Tigers lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament to South Carolina, 74–56.[5] He finished with a cumulative record of 48–75 (.390). That mark's the lowest winning percentage of any Auburn coach with more than a two-season tenure.

Bruce Pearl[edit]

Bruce Pearl was named the Tigers' 21st head basketball coach on March 18, 2014.[6]


In addition to its rich tradition in team accomplishments, numerous individual athletes began their careers at Auburn and went on to achieve worldwide recognition.

Retired jerseys[7]
No. Player Year
15 John Mengelt 2001
34 Charles Barkley 2001
23 Rex Frederick 2006
45 Chuck Person 2006
11 Wesley Person 2006

From 1982–1984 Charles Barkley dominated the courts in the SEC. The former 1984 NCAA player of the year was a member of the "Dream Team" that captured the Olympic gold medal in 1992 and 1996. He was also the 1993 NBA league MVP and a member of 11 All-Star teams.

Other famous Auburn hoopsters include current NBA hoopsters Marquis Daniels of the Boston Celtics, Moochie Norris of the Houston Rockets and Wesley Person of the Denver Nuggets.[8]

Former Auburn stars such as Nathan Watson, Donny Calton, Jamison Brewer, Bobby Cattage, Marquis Daniels, Matt Geiger, Adam Harrington, Cedrick Hordges, Eddie Johnson, Darrell Lockhart, John Mengelt, Mike Mitchell, Chris Morris, Moochie Norris, Mamadou Ndiaye, Myles Patrick, Chuck Person, Wesley Person, Stan Pietkiewicz, Chris Porter, Pat Burke and Aaron Swinson have gone on to play professional basketball after leaving The Plains.[9]

Auburn's All-Americans[edit]

Player Year(s) Selectors
John Stewart 1931–32 College Humor Magazine
Rex Fredrick 1958–59 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Henry Hart 1959–60 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Layton Johns 1962–63 Associated Press
Lee DeFore 1965–66 Helms Athletic Foundation
John Mengelt (2) 1969–70, 1970–71 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Eddie Johnson 1976–77 Associated Press
Mike Mitchell 1977–78 Converse Yearbook
Charles Barkley 1983–84 Basketball Times, National Association of Basketball Coaches
Chuck Person (2) 1984–85, 1985–86 Sporting News, McGregor, Basketball Times, National Association of Basketball Coaches
Wesley Person 1993–94 Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association
Chris Porter 1998–99 Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, College Hoops Insider, John Wooden Award
Doc Robinson 1998–99 Associated Press, College Hoops Insider
Source:"Auburn All-Americas" (PDF). Auburn Tigers. Archived from the original on 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 

SEC Tournament[edit]

The SEC Men's Basketball Tournament (often simply the SEC Tournament) is the conference championship tournament in basketball for the Southeastern Conference (SEC). It is a single-elimination tournament and seeding is based on regular season records. The winner receives the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA basketball tournament.

Auburn has won the SEC Tournament twice, with the most notable being in 1960 when Jimmy Fibbe sank 2 free throws with 5 seconds left to beat Kentucky by 1 point on their way to win the tournament. Also, in 1985 under coach Sonny Smith.[2]

Postseason results[edit]

NCAA Tournament results[edit]

Auburn has appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times. Their combined record is 12–8.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1984 First Round Richmond L 71–72
1985 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
North Carolina
W 59–58
W 66–64
L 56–62
1986 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
St. John's
W 73–63
W 81–65
W 70–63
L 76–84
1987 First Round
Second Round
San Diego
W 62–61
L 90–107
1988 First Round
Second Round
W 90–86
L 87–107
1999 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
W 80–41
W 81–74
L 63–72
2000 First Round
Second Round
Iowa State
W 72–63
L 60–79
2003 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Saint Joseph's
Wake Forest
W 65–63OT
W 68–62
L 78–79

NIT results[edit]

Auburn has appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) six times. Their combined record is 4–6.

Year Round Opponent Result/Score
1993 First Round Clemson L 72–84
1995 First Round Marquette L 61–68
1996 First Round Tulane L 73–87
1998 First Round
Second Round
Southern Miss
W 77–62
L 60–75
2001 First Round
Second Round
Miami (FL)
W 60–58
L 60–90
2009 First Round
Second Round
W 87–82
W 74–55
L 72–74


Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum

Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum, a 10,500-seat multipurpose arena, was home to the Auburn men's and women's basketball teams. The building's exterior is primarily nondescript concrete, but its entry plaza is recognizable for the large "War Eagle" statue which also faces not only the rest of the university, but also nearby Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn boasted an impressive 198–73 record (.731) over the past 20 seasons, and a 285–135 (.679) overall record at Beard-Eaves Coliseum. Only five times in the 34-year history of the Coliseum has Auburn experienced a losing record at home. Auburn's 30-game homecourt winning streak from the 1997–98 season to the final game of the 1999–2000 season is the longest in Coliseum history. It was the nation's second longest current winning streak at the time and the second longest home winning streak in Auburn history.[10]

On June 29, 2007, Auburn announced plans to build a new basketball arena and practice facilities that would eventually be completed for the 2010–11 season. The new arena, officially known as Auburn Arena, offers a state of the art, intimate environment for the Auburn team, with a seating capacity of 9,600. [2]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b "Auburn Hoop History". Retrieved 2007-03-29. 
  3. ^ a b, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, retrieved, April 4, 2007.
  4. ^ "Auburn Head Coach Cliff Ellis To Be Inducted Into Mobile Sports Hall Of Fame". 2003-04-22. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  5. ^ Marshall, Phillip. "Senior Writer". Marshall Law. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Chuck and Wesley Person, Rex Frederick To Have Jerseys Retired". 2006-01-25. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-10. 
  8. ^ "Auburn Tradition". Archived from the original on 8 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  9. ^ "NBA/ABA Players who attended Auburn University". Archived from the original on 28 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 
  10. ^ "Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum ". Archived from the original on 7 April 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-06. 

External links[edit]