Auburn fires coach Tony Barbee

Auburn has dismissed coach Tony Barbee after a first-round loss to South Carolina in the SEC tournament and a four-year stint in which the Tigers went 48-75 overall and 18-50 in conference play.

"After careful evaluation of the last four years, I feel this is best for the program," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said Wednesday night in a statement to the media.

Jacobs said the school will begin a search for a new coach immediately.

"I believe we should compete for championships in men's basketball," Jacobs said in the statement. "It's time for somebody else to have a turn."

Auburn had been seeded No. 12 in the SEC tournament and had swept two regular-season games against South Carolina before Wednesday's 74-56 loss in Atlanta. The Tigers ended the season by winning only three of 10 games.

Barbee came to Auburn after four seasons at Texas-El Paso, including a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2010.

Barbee, who posted losing records in each of his four seasons, insisted after the game that the Tigers had improved, saying he expected to meet with Jacobs when the team returned to Auburn.

Jacobs didn't wait that long. Jacobs said he made the announcement Wednesday night so Barbee could tell the players before they left campus for spring break Thursday.

"We need to find somebody to come in here and take what we have here now and put some more in and compete for SEC titles," Jacbos said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.