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Thursday, March 25, 2010

LIVE blogging Tony Barbee's introductory press conference

You're looking live from the still-under-construction Auburn Arena, where Tony Barbee is being officially introduced as the Tigers' head coch.

Here's what's happened so far:
  • We're underway. Athletics director Jay Jacobs is here introducing Barbee.
  • Said it was apparent within the first few minutes of the interview that Barbee was the choice for Auburn.
  • "It was a tough decision, but an easy decision," Jacobs said.
  • "War Eagle!" Barbee said. "I learn quickly, don't I."
  • Said it was difficult to leave UTEP. "It's all about family. But when I looked at Auburn and I looked at this wonderful university, first class, when I looked at this wonderful community, first class, when I looked at this beautiful arean, wow, when I looked at all of those things, that hard decision became very, very easy to make."
  • Wants to make this the best basketball university in the state of Alabama.
  • "Jay, I won't disappoint."
  • "Auburn athletics is about winning championships. It is my responsibility to live up to that bar that has been raised by all the athletic programs at this great university."
  • Just referenced Sonny Smith, Chuck Person, Wesley Person and Charles Barkley. Somebody must have given him a media guide.
  • "There is a precedent here that this has been done before. And you look at the Auburn Arena, why can't it be done again. That's why I'm here."
  • "No one is going to out-work my staff. No one is going to out-work my team."
  • Call the Auburn Arena the finest arena in the SEC, "if not the country." Says it shows the school's commitment to the basketball program.
  • "My commitment to you is to take it to heights that it has never been before."
  • Promises an exciting style of basketball. Fun for fans, players.
  • He's made the postseason 18 of 19 years as a player or coach. "And I'm mad as heck about that one year."
  • Promises a team that plays deep into March.
  • To the returning players: "We're going to have a lot of fun."
  • Wants people to say about his team: "That's the hardest playing team I've seen."
  • "I've never been afraid of working hard."
  • Plans to contact the incoming recruiting class soon.
  • "Let's all get on the train. Let's all enjoy the ride."
  • Two most difficult things to do: scheduling and recruiting. "We're going to go after and we're going to attract the best players in the country. The best. That fit with me. That fit with Auburn University and the Auburn family and what it stands for. We're not going to be afraid to go after the best players anywhere in the country."
  • Will be recruiting the media for exposure, the community for support, the students. "My responsibility is to re-kindle that love affair."
  • Immediate goal is focus on returning players. "Change is never easy." He's evaluating them to see if they're the right fit for him, too. "It's a challenge I'll take on."
  • Scheduling philosophy: "It's about getting into that NCAA tournament."
  • On John Calipari: "He's my mentor. He'll always be my coach."
  • "We're going right after Kentucky and right after Coach Calipari. It's not an easy thing to do, but once we catch him, guess where we'll be?"
  • "Hasn't been a major decision that I made in my job."
  • "The advice he gave to me, if you can get the Auburn job, you run there."
  • Has not visited Auburn before taking the job. This is the second time he's done that.
  • "My style is based around one word: that's pressure. We're going to apply pressure for 40 minutes. And that starts on defense."
  • "It's not helter skelter. It's not run-n-gun. There's a discipline that you have to have."
  • Hard to pinpoint when he knew he would take the job.
  • On the subject of not being able to win at a football school: "I'd say, why can't you?" He thinks it's his job to embrace Auburn's football success. He cites Florida as an example of how you can win at a football school.
  • He challenged the students to embrace the program. "We need you."


Davis said...

Are you going to get video of this up later Andy?

Andy Bitter said...

Video is loading right now. Had to do my newspaper duties first.