The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

May 15, 2013

Auburn AD: Football, athletic program will rebound

— AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs is adamant that the football program and overall department will bounce back from a rough year, and that he'll be around to enjoy the resurgence.

The Tigers have endured historically bad seasons in football and men's basketball and struggled in other sports, prompting a review panel to examine the athletic program and putting Jacobs under fire from frustrated fans as well.

Auburn hasn't released the report's specific findings, but President Jay Gogue met with Jacobs late last week and said "there's room for substantial improvement."

"I think that in the business we're in, your job is always on the line," Jacobs told reporters Tuesday after speaking to Auburn's Chamber of Commerce. "I'll tell you this: I think I'm going to have a chance to have a lot of conversations moving forward. I think I'm going to be here awhile. I look forward to the challenge of taking this program where Dr. Gogue and I and all Auburn fans expect it to be. I'm up for the challenge, and I'm ready to move us forward."

That started with the firing of football coach Gene Chizik after the Tigers went 3-9 and also included Jacobs' decision to retain basketball coach Tony Barbee, whose team was 9-23 and suffered the most losses in program history in his third season. The women's basketball team finished tied for last in the SEC under first-year coach Terri Williams-Flournoy.

The baseball team is currently last in the Southeastern Conference Western Division and Jacobs has already fired softball coach Tina Deese. He hasn't escaped the criticism for the poor performances.

"I've heard a lot of it," Jacobs, a former Auburn lineman, said. "I've felt it myself. Growing up an Auburn fan and walking on and playing here, winning means everything to me. I'm not going to do it at any cost. I'm not going to compromise our integrity to win. But I've heard it. Sometimes I hear it when I go home. It's loud and clear. Auburn people are passionate and that's why you have the largest crowd in the nation (83,401) show up at an A-Day game. They love this institution and they expect better. And we're going to get better. It's been a tough year, but we're going to bounce back."

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