War Eagle Extra has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 4 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tony Barbee: Quotes and quotes and quotes

I just finished writing my newspaper stories for tomorrow's paper. It's given me a chance to sift through a mountain of quotes. Here are some highlights. I hope to have a video a little later:

New Auburn head coach TONY BARBEE
(On the Auburn job)
"Auburn athletics is about winning championships. That is the reason why, as I looked at Auburn University and their men's basketball program, it is my responsibility to live up to that bar that has been raised by all the athletic programs at this great university. When you talk about the great players, great teams, great coaches, Sonny Smith in 1986, one game away from a Final Four, when you talk about that, the great players from Chuck Person to Wesley Person to obviously Charles Barkley, there is a precedent that has been set with this program and that it has been done before. And when you look at Auburn Arena, why can*t it be done again? That is why I am here. "

(On his commitment to Auburn)
"The commitment I make to you is to take this men's basketball program to heights it has never been before. That is my commitment to you. We will play an exciting style of basketball. It will be fun for the fans. It will be entertaining. It will be fun for the players. In my 19 years in college basketball, I have been in postseason play 18 of 19 years. And I am madder than heck that one year we missed it. We started at UTEP, and we built to where I left it. The one thing I know about this style, is it is built to win in March."

(On recruiting)
"We are not going to be afraid of going after the best players in the state of Alabama. We are not going to be afraid of going after the best players in the Southeast region. We are not going to be afraid to go after the best players anywhere in the country. I promise you that. Not only will we be recruiting student-athletes who I think can succeed here, academically and athletically, we will be recruiting the media, for exposure, we are going to be recruiting the community, for support, and we are going to be recruiting the students, because my responsibility is to rekindle that love affair between the Auburn community, the Auburn Family and this storied program. That is my challenge and I accept it whole-heartedly."

(On talking to his mentor, Kentucky's John Calipari)
"There hasn't been a major decision in my life personally and professionally, since I've known Coach Cal, that I haven't seeked his advice. As successful as he has been, I wouldn't be very smart if I didn't do that. He knows what a special place Auburn University is. The advice he gave me as I was going through the process was that if you can get the Auburn job you run there. So that tells you what his affection is for this place. For me it was very quickly learned why he understood the potential in this program."

(On closing the gap on Kentucky)
"There's one way you get to the top: You go after the people that are at the top, and right now that's where Kentucky sits. That was our challenge in Conference USA. And we didn't hesitate to go in the backyard and get some players that I thought could have played at Memphis, could have played anywhere in any league in the country. That's why we had the success that we had this year, and finally overtook Memphis in Conference USA."

(On telling Calipari he's gunning for him)
"Absolutely. I told him that same thing when I left his staff and went to UTEP. We laughed, we joked, but he knew I was serious. There's one thing he knows about me, that I'm a competitive you know what. But I know the same thing about him. I'm not backing down from him, he's not backing down from me, but that'll never affect our friendship, our relationship and the passion that we have for one another."

(On not having stepped foot in Auburn before taking the job)
"This is the second job in a row that I have taken without visiting. My wife doesn't appreciate that, but for me it is not about the bricks and the mortar. It is about people. From getting to know Jay (Jacobs) in a very short period of time, his staff and the people I've met today, there is a passion for this great university. It is my job to extend that passion to the men's basketball program. It is a challenge, but that has been the challenge everywhere that I have been. I look forward to taking on that challenge."

(On his preferred style of play)
"My style is based around one word, that's pressure. We're going to oppose pressure to our opposing team for 40 minutes starting on the defensive end of the floor. That's where you win and compete for championships, on the defensive end of the floor. I believe in a man-to-man, hard-nosed, in your face, 40 minutes full-court selectively, when you can, (defense). I want to create a lot of our offense off of our defense. We'll play an up-tempo style that's fun and exciting for the team to play, fun and exciting for the fans to watch, but it's not helter-skelter. It's not run and gun. There's a discipline you have to have to play at a pace I want to play at while limiting your turnovers. You have to be disciplined. At the same time, any good coach is going to base his style around the personnel he has at the time and that's part of the evaluation process I'm going to have to go through initially to figure out if we can employ this style immediately or is it going to take time to build, but that's part of the process that I'm going to have to go through."

(On if there's significance in being the basketball program's first black head coach)
"Absolutely there is. Very similar to the significance of me being the first African American coach at UTEP, with the Glory Road tradition and the background. And it's very similar here. And I'm very honored and privileged and humbled to be the first African American coach here at Auburn. And I know what it means to this community, but at the end of the day, this is about the success we're going to have in this community on the court and in the class room."
Athletics director JAY JACOBS:
(On when he knew he was going to hire Barbee)
“The first few minutes of the interview — it was unbelievable. You knew he was the right guy, the right fit for this basketball team. I told (the team) that I was going to hire the best guy for them. When we sat and visited with Tony, it was obvious very early in the process that he shared the same values that the Auburn family shares, he has a passion and he hates to lose. He's very focused on the student-athlete graduating. He embraced the Auburn creed and working and hard work. All those things -- he laid out in his plan."

(On Barbee's $1.5 million annual salary)
“I think he deserves it and I think he’s going to earn his living. It’s the right thing for Auburn, it’s the right thing for this team. I believe I said in our last sit down was that we were going to pay the market value to get a great basketball coach and that’s what we did.”
(On the process of changing coaches)
"It's been tough because at any point in time, we didn't know what was going on, we didn't know what was going to happen in your next point of life. Just be patient, that's what Bernard Hill and Mr. Jacobs told us because they're going to hire the best candidate, not just any candidate, the best candidate. I think they went out and did that."

(On if he'll fit in well with Barbee's style)
"I think I'll fit in real well. In high school I was a pressure team, run and gun but also disciplined. Not taking any shot, but taking the shot the team wanted. Being unselfish -- unselfish is a great thing to have on the team. I think we have great players on our team now that's going to play that way. Coach is going to instill discipline in us and I think that's going to work out for us in the end."

(On Barbee's enthusiasm)
“Anybody that’s ambitious for us, I like. Anybody that supports Auburn family is a great guy or a great person. I think he’s going to instill that into the fan base and get some wins.”

No comments: