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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tony Barbee hired as Auburn's basketball coach

Tony Barbee hired as Auburn's basketball coach
By Andy Bitter -

AUBURN, Ala. -- Tony Barbee, a long-time protege of John Calipari, will now have a chance to match up against his mentor in the SEC.

Auburn hired Barbee as its head basketball coach Wednesday night, a source close to the situation told the Ledger-Enquirer. The 38-year-old Barbee has spent the last four years at UTEP, where he's gone 82-52.

Barbee was considered a hot name in the coaching market, having been linked to both the Iowa and DePaul jobs this offseason as well.

His hiring comes comes 12 days after Auburn fired Jeff Lebo after six seasons.

Auburn interviewed a host of candidates for the position, including former Tigers great and Los Angeles Lakers special assistant Chuck Person on Wednesday night, before hiring Barbee.

In four years with UTEP, Barbee took the Miners from 10th place in the Conference USA to first. They went 26-7 this season and won the C-USA regular season title, making the NCAA tournament as a 12th seed. They lost to Butler in the first round.

Barbee has been associated with Calipari since he played for him at UMass from 1989-93. He got his coaching start at his alma mater as a graduate assistant from 1995-98.

After one season as an assistant with Wyoming, Barbee reunited with Calipari at UMass. Barbee followed him to Memphis in 2000, serving as Calipari's top assistant and recruiter from for six seasons.

The Tigers won 148 games in that span. ranked Barbee as the No. 3 recruiter in the country while he was at Memphis.

Barbee took the UTEP job in 2006 and went 14-17, 19-14, 23-14 and 26-7 in his four seasons. He was named the 2010 Conference USA Coach of the Year.

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