Just as he did when he hired Gene Chizik, Jay Jacobs has written a letter to the Auburn Family explaining his decision to fire Jeff Lebo. Read it below:
Dear Auburn Family,
As most of you know by now, Coach Jeff Lebo will not return as head basketball coach at Auburn University.
I met with Coach Lebo earlier today and informed him that the time had come to move Auburn’s basketball program in a new direction. As I shared with Coach Lebo, we deeply appreciate all that he and his staff have done for Auburn, and we wish each of them and their families nothing but the best. Coach Lebo has shown the utmost character, integrity and professionalism throughout his tenure at Auburn. He is and always will be a member of the Auburn Family.
While this was a difficult decision, our goals have not been met. Our basketball program has not made the progress we had all hoped it would make. Auburn ranks 11th out of 12 teams in both total wins and conference wins in the Southeastern Conference over the past six years. We have failed to reach the NCAA tournament each of the past six years, and we have reached the NIT only once. We know that Auburn can compete at a higher level in basketball, because we have done so in the past.
Our top goals as a department are winning and graduating our student-athletes. My responsibility is doing what is necessary to give our student-athletes the best chance to compete at the highest level. That is why a change was made.
While we always will remember and appreciate what Coach Lebo has done for Auburn, we must now turn our attention to the future of Auburn basketball. We will immediately begin the search for a new head coach to lead our program.
We will conduct a deliberate and thorough search driven by what is best for our student-athletes and our basketball program. Rumor and speculation will be rampant in the coming days. As in past searches, much if not most of what you may read or hear will be wrong. We will not refute rumors or comment on who will or won’t be considered or who has or hasn’t been interviewed. Our sole goal is to find the right man for Auburn.
Judging by recent searches at other schools, this process is more likely to take weeks than days. Rest assured that we are committed to finding a head coach who is the best fit for our team, this department, the Auburn Family and the community. We will find a coach with character and integrity who will always represent Auburn with class and who will energize our basketball program.
The new Auburn Arena demonstrates our commitment to basketball and our belief that we can compete for SEC championships and be a regular participant in the NCAA Tournament. The arena will help us in recruiting, it will give our new coach and our team a better home-court advantage and it will vastly improve the game-day experience for the Auburn Family.
There is no doubt in my mind that the future of Auburn basketball is bright. The Auburn Spirit is as strong as I have ever seen it, and the Auburn Family is as united as it has ever been. Let’s continue to pull in the same direction. While we are certain to have our own opinions about how to achieve it, I am confident that we all share the same goal-to make Auburn the best that it can be.
I want to thank all of you for your support of Auburn University and Auburn Athletics. We ask for your patience as we move ahead in the coming days and weeks.
God Bless and War Eagle!
Director of Athletics
What do you think of these letters to the Auburn Family? Do you like the openness? What do you think compels Jacobs to explain every major decision he makes?