AD backs Lebo at Auburn (sort of….)

Jeff Lebo, who has been on the hot seat all year at Auburn (14-9, 3-5 SEC), got a vote of support from AD Jay Jacobs on Friday. It was not exactly a resounding voice of support however – Jacobs declined an interview and issued this statement:

"Jeff Lebo and his team have my full support and I’m confident that he will lead the team in the right direction."

Not exactly heart-felt and it doesn’t address the future – a very "cookie-cutter" statement. Something any AD would say about their coach at this point of the season.

Lebo who is 71-73 (22-50 SEC) in 5-plus seasons at Auburn was given an 8 year deal worth about $785,000 annually. He received a 1-year extension last season. There is a clause in his contract that says if he’s released, he would be paid $500,000 per year for each year left on his contract. With 4 years left after this season, AU would be on the hook for $2 million. With a $92 million dollar arena slated to open in 2010, I wonder if Lebo will be around to see it.

In my opinion. Lebo is a great X’s and O’s guy – comes from a great basketball family. He’s had some tough luck at Auburn, first cleaning up Cliff Ellis’ mess and then dealing with injuries and transfers. If given time to "sell" the new arena, I think Lebo can be very successful at Auburn. He won at Chattanooga (2 years 40-20) and Tennessee Tech (4 years 75-43), so he has had success. I hope he is around to see the new arena and can get it going again, but my gut feeling tells me he won’t get the chance. Auburn will need to fill the seats immediately at their new place and will probably go after a big-name coach to help with that. $2 million may be worth it in their eyes to get people in the seats.

The Tigers had a great win vs. Tennessee on Saturday, but it may be a little too late to help this situation.