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Scarbinsky: Jacobs brings results


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I have to admit: I've had my doubts about Jacobs as AD and I'm still cautious in my attitude toward his performance. But to give credit where credit is due, Scarb makes a good point regarding his recent track record:

Scarbinsky: Jacobs answers that infamous airport heckler with results

Last month, a school-record crowd turned out to watch Gene Chizik’s second Auburn football team at A-Day.

Last week, Tony Barbee signed his second high-profile prospect for the Auburn basketball team, which is almost ready to move into its shiny new home.

Over the weekend, John Pawlowski’s Auburn baseball team completed its first sweep of traditional power Mississippi State since 1987 to all but assure that the Tigers will return to the SEC Baseball Tournament for the first time since 2003.

See a pattern here? It’s called momentum.

When that momentum involves the top three sports on campus, it’s an indication of an athletics department moving in the right direction.

So maybe it’s time to give a little credit to the man who hired those coaches and runs that department.

And let’s be honest. If there’s any individual in intercollegiate athletics in this state who’s been given little credit, it’s Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs.

Being an AD is a thankless job. It’s juggling a million different tasks in private but getting recognized in public for only one – hiring and firing coaches.

Mal Moore’s done a lot of good things at Alabama [Really? :blink: ...repeated probations, Dubose, Franchione, Mike Price, Mike Shula, Textbook-gate, etc.? Admittedly Mal's kept the money rolling in and the stadium growing, although I doubt even the most incompetent boob in the world could stop the money train that is Alabama football.] but nothing will make his legacy pop like being the AD that hired Nick Saban.

If an AD hires the right coaches and they win, the coaches get most of the credit. If he hires the wrong coaches and then has to fire them and, as is often the case, keep paying them, boom. It’s his fault.

In extreme cases, the AD might even get heckled on the front end at his own airport.

Jacobs wasn’t the first AD to get booed. He might’ve been the first to have that moment captured on tape and used as an amusing sound effect on an all-sports radio station in the largest city in his home state.

It’s easy to forget that it was one person who booed Jacobs at the Auburn Airport after he returned from nailing down the hire of Chizik, one disgruntled loudmouth who shouted, "We want a leader, not a loser.’’

But at that moment, that angry mantra seemed destined to become the subtitle of Jacobs’ unofficial biography.

To his credit – there’s that word again – it’s more appropriate to define him by what’s happened since.

After one encouraging season, and one big-time recruiting class, Chizik looks like an inspired out-of-the-box choice.

When Jacobs fired Jeff Lebo, even the AD’s critics within the Auburn family questioned whether a man with a football background understood enough about basketball to hire a quality coach in that sport.

Jacobs showed a smart manager’s ability to know what he doesn’t know, and so he asked for advice from basketball people like John Mengelt, Eddie Fogler and Charles Barkley.

It’s still terribly early, but two signees into his tenure, Barbee looks like one of the smarter moves from the just-completed coaching carousel.

And then there’s Pawlowski. In just his second season, he has Auburn one game out of first place in the SEC West with two series left. The team's magic number to get back to Hoover and the SEC Tournament is two.

Jacobs hired these three coaches in short order: Pawlowski in June of 2008, Chizik in December of 2008 and Barbee in March of 2010.

Only one other SEC AD has had to find men to lead his football, basketball and baseball programs in the last two years, and Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart – a Jacobs friend and confidant – found two of them on his own campus.

Barnhart promoted baseball coach Gary Henderson and football coach Joker Phillips from within. He also hired John Calipari, Barbee’s mentor, and it wasn’t exactly a stretch for one of the best basketball programs in the nation to attract one of the best basketball coaches.

Jacobs went farther afield to land his coaches. He had a relationship with Chizik, from the football coach’s days as the Auburn defensive coordinator, but not with Barbee. He plucked Pawlowski from the College of Charleston.

None of the choices was obvious.

None of them was proven at this level.

All of them still have a lot of work to do and games to win to validate their selections, but they’ve all started to get things done.

If this keeps up, WJOX might have to shut down that sound bite. As petty as it was at the time, it just seems wrong to call Jacobs a loser now.


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Every one just answer this question:

When is the last time you were this excited about Auburn Football, Basketball and Baseball?

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Every one just answer this question:

When is the last time you were this excited about Auburn Football, Basketball and Baseball?


Good job! J.J. you are the man AU people will love to have in Athletic Dept. from now on before you retire!


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I think he has done a phenomenal job in bringing Auburn Athletics to where it needs to be no matter what some individuals might like to say otherwise. There is excitement building around the Football, Basketball, & Baseball programs... two of which have already shown vast improvements (Football, Baseball).

Keep up the good work J.J.

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Agree that JJ is doing great.

Did anyone else read some of the comments after that article? Why do people write/read/waste their time with idiots like those on Al.com?

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