AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Auburn's Tony Barbee says he "absolutely" appreciates the significance of becoming the school's first black head basketball coach. Barbee also held that distinction at UTEP. And that's the program that broke a color barrier by winning a national title in 1966 with five black starters when the school was Texas Western.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs said race had nothing to do with the hire and he just wanted to "hire the best coach for Auburn." The school drew some criticism 15 months ago after hiring the white Gene Chizik as head football coach over Turner Gill, who is black. Barbee was introduced on Thursday evening as Jeff Lebo's replacement. The University of Alabama also hired its first black men's basketball coach last year in Anthony Grant.