Auburn Tigers men's basketball

The Auburn Tigers men's basketball program is the intercollegiate men's basketball team that represents Auburn University. The school competes in the Southeastern Conference in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Tigers play their home games at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Alabama on the university campus. The program began in 1906, and is currently coached by Bruce Pearl.

Auburn Tigers men's basketball
2020–21 Auburn Tigers men's basketball team
Auburn Tigers logo.svg
UniversityAuburn University
First season1906
All-time record1,405–1,226–1 (.534)
Athletic directorAllen Greene
Head coachBruce Pearl (7th season)
ConferenceSoutheastern Conference
LocationAuburn, Alabama
ArenaAuburn Arena
(Capacity: 9,121)
Student sectionThe Jungle
ColorsBurnt Orange and Navy Blue[1]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
NCAA Tournament Final Four
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1986, 2019
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1985, 1986, 1999, 2003, 2019
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2018, 2019
NCAA Tournament Appearances
1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2018, 2019
Conference Tournament Champions
1985, 2019
Conference Regular Season Champions
1928, 1960, 1999, 2018

Auburn has won four conference regular season championships and two SEC Tournament championships. Auburn has appeared in the NCAA Tournament ten times, making it as far as the Final Four in 2019. 11 Auburn players have been named All-Americans and Auburn has had 92 All-SEC selections. Auburn has produced 31 NBA Draft picks, including Chuck Person (1986) and Chris Morris (1988), both of whom were selected with the fourth overall pick, the highest in Auburn history. Two Auburn players have been named SEC Player of the Year: Charles Barkley in 1984 and Chris Porter in 1999. Auburn has had five head coaches selected as SEC Coach of the Year a total of seven times, and former Auburn head coach Cliff Ellis was named National Coach of the Year by multiple outlets in 1999. Former Auburn player Charles Barkley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.


Auburn has had 20 head men's basketball coaches since the program was started in 1906 by Mike Donahue. The program is currently coached by Bruce Pearl.

Auburn Coaching History[2]
Tenure Coach Seasons Won Lost Tied Pct. Conf. Conf. Pct.
1905–1921 Donahue 16 74 80 1 .481
1921–1924 Hutsell 3 16 24 .400
1924–1925 Bunker 1 3 11 .214
1925–1928 Papke 3 38 18 .679
1928–1929 Bohler 1 6 15 .286
1929–1930 Lee 1 1 10 .091
1930–1933 McAllister 3 25 18 .581 4–7 .364
1933–42, 1945–46 Jordan 10 95 77 .552 61–56 .521
1942–43, 1944–45 Evans 2 4 28 .125 3–18 .143
1946–1947 Edney 1 3 18 .143 1–15 .063
1947–1949 Doyle 2 21 25 .457 12–18 .400
1949–1963 Eaves 14 213 100 .681 124–75 .623
1963–1973 Lynn 10 130 124 .512 84–88 .488
1973–1978 Davis 5 70 61 .534 42–48 .467
1978–1989 Smith 11 173 154 .529 84–114 .424
1989–1994 Eagles 5 64 78 .451 29–55 .345
1994–2004 Ellis 10 186 125 .598 73–87 .456
2004–2010 Lebo 6 96 93 .508 35–61 .365
2010–2014 Barbee 4 49 75 .395 18–50 .265
2014–present Pearl 7 138 92 .600 59–67 .468
Total 113 1,405 1,226 1 .534 629–759 .453

Notable former coachesEdit

Mike DonahueEdit

Mike "Iron Mike" Donahue was Auburn's first head men's basketball coach, starting the program in 1906. He coached the program for 16 seasons, the longest tenure of any men's basketball coach in Auburn history, finishing with a record of 74–80–1 (.481). In addition to coaching basketball, Donahue served as athletic director and coached the football, baseball, track, and soccer teams while at Auburn.[3]

Ralph "Shug" JordanEdit

Though perhaps more famous for his career as a football coach at Auburn, Ralph "Shug" Jordan coached the Auburn men's basketball program for 10 seasons prior to becoming the head football coach. Jordan was a football assistant coach when he coached the men's basketball program.

After playing football and basketball for Auburn from 1929 to 1932, Jordan became the head men's basketball coach in 1933. He coached until 1942, when he was called overseas to fight as an officer in World War II. Following his service, Jordan returned to Auburn to coach the 1945–46 team. He left Auburn to become the head men's basketball coach at Georgia after the season. Jordan finished with a record of 95–77 (.552) at Auburn.

Joel EavesEdit

Joel Eaves was Auburn's 12th head men's basketball coach, coaching from 1949 to 1963. Eaves was a former Auburn football and basketball player, playing from 1934 to 1937 under head coach "Shug" Jordan.

Auburn won its first ever SEC championship under Eaves in 1960, finishing 12–2 in the conference and 19–3 overall. Eaves was named SEC Coach of the Year following the 1960 season. Eaves finished with a 213–100 (.681) record at Auburn, making him the winningest men's basketball coach in Auburn history.

Joel Eaves was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.[4] Auburn's Memorial Coliseum was renamed after Eaves to Joel H. Eaves Memorial Coliseum in 1987, and later to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum in 1993.[5]

Sonny SmithEdit

Sonny Smith was the 15th head men's basketball coach at Auburn, coaching for 11 seasons from 1978 to 1989.

Smith coached Auburn to the NCAA Tournament in 5 consecutive seasons, 1984 to 1988, including a run to the Elite Eight in 1986 before losing to eventual national champion Louisville. In addition to leading Auburn to its first ever NCAA Tournament in 1984, he also coached Auburn to its first SEC Tournament championship in 1985. Smith is the only head men's basketball coach in Auburn history to coach three consecutive 20-win seasons, doing so from 1984 to 1986. Sonny Smith was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1988.

Smith coached his final season at Auburn in 1989, leaving to become the head men's basketball coach at VCU. Smith finished with a record of 173–154 (.529). Smith was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.[6]

Cliff EllisEdit

Cliff Ellis was the 17th head men's basketball coach at Auburn. He coached for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004.

Ellis had some success early in his career, leading Auburn to the NIT three times in his first four seasons and being named SEC Coach of the Year in 1995. His most successful season at Auburn was the 1998–99 season, where he led the Tigers to an SEC regular season championship and the program's first ever #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, in which they reached the Sweet Sixteen. Ellis was named both SEC and National Coach of the Year in 1999.[7] Ellis would take Auburn to the NCAA Tournament two more times: reaching the Second Round in 2000 and returning to the Sweet Sixteen in 2003.

Ellis was released following the 2003–04 season after finishing the season with a 14–14 record. Auburn faced NCAA sanctions over alleged recruiting violations during the season, but Ellis was not found at fault after the investigation.[8] Ellis finished with a record of 186–125 (.598) at Auburn, trailing only Eaves on the school's all-time wins list.

Bruce PearlEdit

Bruce Pearl became Auburn's 20th head men's basketball coach on March 18, 2014.[9] He led Auburn to its third SEC regular season championship in the 2017–18 season and its second SEC Tournament championship in 2019, en route to leading Auburn to its first ever Final Four in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Pearl's current record at Auburn is 138–92 (.600).

Awards and honorsEdit

National Coach of the Year

SEC Coach of the Year

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame


Awards and honorsEdit

Retired jerseysEdit

Auburn has retired six jersey numbers.

Auburn Tigers retired numbers
No. Player Position Career Year of Retirement
11 Wesley Person SG 1990–1994 2006
15 John Mengelt SG 1968–1971 2001
30 Mike Mitchell SF 1974–1978 2013
32 Rex Frederick F 1956–1959 2006
34 Charles Barkley PF 1981–1984 2001
45 Chuck Person SF 1982–1986 2006


Player Year(s) Selectors
Jack Stewart 1931–32 College Humor Magazine
Rex Fredrick 1958–59 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Henry Hart 1959–60 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Lee DeFore 1965–66 Helms Athletic Foundation
John Mengelt (2) 1969–70, 1970–71 Helms Athletic Foundation, Associated Press
Mike Mitchell 1977–78 Converse Yearbook
Charles Barkley 1983–84 Basketball Times, National Association of Basketball Coaches
Chuck Person (2) 1984–85, 1985–86 Sporting News, McGregor, Basketball Times, National Association of Basketball Coaches
Wesley Person 1993–94 Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association
Chris Porter 1998–99 Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association, Basketball Times, College Hoops Insider, John Wooden Award
Doc Robinson 1998–99 Associated Press, College Hoops Insider
Source:"Auburn All-Americas". Auburn Tigers. Archived from the original on 2008-05-28. Retrieved 2008-07-24.

Other honorsEdit

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

SEC Player of the Year

SEC Tournament MVP

SEC Rookie of the Year

Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

USBWA Most Courageous Award

Auburn in the NBAEdit

NBA Draft picksEdit

Auburn has produced 31 NBA Draft picks, including 8 first round picks. The most players that have been selected from Auburn in a single draft was 3 in the 1988 draft. Chuck Person and Chris Morris both hold the record for the highest draft pick from Auburn, as each were selected 4th overall in their respective drafts.

Year Round Pick Player Team
1960 12 82 Henry Hart New York Knicks
1963 4 34 Layton Johns Los Angeles Lakers
1965 4 21 Joe Newton Baltimore Bullets
1966 4 31 Lee DeFore New York Knicks
1971 2 21 John Mengelt Cincinnati Royals
1972 8 120 Henry Harris Houston Rockets
1973 3 46 Jim Retseck Golden State Warriors
1976 5 73 Gary Redding Portland Trail Blazers
1977 3 49 Eddie Johnson Atlanta Hawks
1978 1 15 Mike Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers
7 133 Stan Pietkiewicz San Diego Clippers
1979 7 143 Rich Valavicius Houston Rockets
1980 8 170 Rich Valavicius Washington Bullets
1981 6 122 Earl Banks Seattle SuperSonics
8 165 Bobby Cattage Utah Jazz
1983 2 35 Darrell Lockhart San Antonio Spurs
10 211 Odell Mosteller Utah Jazz
1984 1 5 Charles Barkley Philadelphia 76ers
9 193 Greg Turner Kansas City Kings
1986 1 4 Chuck Person Indiana Pacers
1987 6 138 Frank Ford Los Angeles Lakers
7 158 Gerald White Dallas Mavericks
1988 1 4 Chris Morris New Jersey Nets
3 58 Jeff Moore Charlotte Hornets
3 63 Mike Jones Milwaukee Bucks
1994 1 23 Wesley Person Phoenix Suns
2000 1 26 Mamadou N'Diaye Denver Nuggets
2 55 Chris Porter Golden State Warriors
2001 2 40 Jamison Brewer Indiana Pacers
2019 1 16 Chuma Okeke Orlando Magic
2020 1 5 Isaac Okoro Cleveland Cavaliers

Auburn has had 4 players that transferred to another school before being selected in the NBA Draft.

Year Round Pick Player School Team
1979 3 49 Cedrick Hordges South Carolina Chicago Bulls
1992 2 24 Matt Geiger Georgia Tech Miami Heat
1996 2 33 Moochie Norris West Florida Milwaukee Bucks
2009 1 29 Toney Douglas Florida State Los Angeles Lakers

Undrafted free agentsEdit

In addition to its 30 NBA Draft picks, Auburn has produced several undrafted free agents that went on to have NBA careers.

Awards and honorsEdit

League MVP

Rookie of the Year


Auburn in the OlympicsEdit

Year Player Medal
1992   Charles Barkley (USA)   Gold
1996   Charles Barkley (USA)   Gold

Championships and postseasonEdit

Conference regular season championshipsEdit

Auburn has won four regular season conference championships in its history: one Southern Conference championship in 1928 and three Southeastern Conference championships in 1960, 1999, and 2018. Auburn also won the SEC West Division championship in 1999.

Year Conference Overall record Conference record Coach
1928 SoCon 20–2 12–1 Mike Papke
1960 SEC 19–3 12–2 Joel Eaves
1999 SEC 29–4 14–2 Cliff Ellis
2018 SEC 25–6 13–5 Bruce Pearl

SEC TournamentEdit

Auburn has won the SEC Tournament twice: in 1985 under coach Sonny Smith and again in 2019 under Bruce Pearl. The 1985 Auburn Tigers won the tournament after beating Alabama 53–49 in overtime.[2] That 1985 Auburn team was the first ever to win four games in four days to win the SEC Tournament.[10] In 2019, the Tigers earned a bye in the Tournament during the regular season and won games against Missouri, South Carolina, and Florida before crushing Tennessee in the final game 84–64. Auburn has reached the SEC Tournament final two other times: in 1984, where they lost to Kentucky 51–49, and in 2000, where they lost to Arkansas 75–67. Auburn has had three SEC Tournament MVPs: Charles Barkley in 1984, Chuck Person in 1985, and Bryce Brown in 2019.

NCAA TournamentEdit

Auburn has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 times. Their combined record is 17–10.

Year Seed Region Round Location Opponent Result
1984 5 East First Round Charlotte, NC 12 Richmond L 71–72
1985 11 Mideast First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
South Bend, IN
South Bend, IN
Birmingham, AL
6 Purdue
3 Kansas
2 North Carolina
W 59–58
W 66–64
L 56–62
1986 8 West First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Long Beach, CA
Long Beach, CA
Houston, TX
Houston, TX
9 Arizona
1 St. John's
2 Louisville
W 73–63
W 81–65
W 70–63
L 76–84
1987 8 Midwest First Round
Second Round
Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, IN
9 San Diego
1 Indiana
W 62–61
L 90–107
1988 8 Southeast First Round
Second Round
Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA
9 Bradley
1 Oklahoma
W 90–86
L 87–107
1999 1 South First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Indianapolis, IN
Indianapolis, IN
Knoxville, TN
16 Winthrop
9 Oklahoma State
4 Ohio State
W 80–41
W 81–74
L 64–72
2000 7 Midwest First Round
Second Round
Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis, MN
10 Creighton
2 Iowa State
W 72–63
L 60–79
2003 10 East First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Tampa, FL
Tampa, FL
Albany, NY
7 Saint Joseph's
2 Wake Forest
3 Syracuse
W 65–63OT
W 68–62
L 78–79
2018 4 Midwest First Round
Second Round
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA
13 College of Charleston
5 Clemson
W 62–58
L 53–84
2019 5 Midwest First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City, UT
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City, MO
Minneapolis, MN
12 New Mexico State
4 Kansas
1 North Carolina
2 Kentucky
1 Virginia
W 78–77
W 89–75
W 97–80
W 77–71OT
L 62–63


Auburn has appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 6 times. Their combined record is 4–6.

Year Seed Round Location Opponent Result
1993 First Round Clemson, SC Clemson L 72–84
1995 First Round Auburn, AL Marquette L 61–68
1996 First Round Auburn, AL Tulane L 73–87OT
1998 First Round
Second Round
Auburn, AL
Milwaukee, WI
Southern Miss
W 77–62
L 60–75OT
2001 First Round
Second Round
Auburn, AL
West Lafayette, IN
Miami (FL)
W 60–58
L 60–90
2009 1 First Round
Second Round
Auburn, AL
Auburn, AL
Auburn, AL
8 UT Martin
4 Tulsa
3 Baylor
W 87–82
W 74–55
L 72–74


Former facilitiesEdit

Alumni GymnasiumEdit

Auburn's first on-campus basketball facility was Alumni Gymasium, which opened in February 1916.[11] Auburn played its home games in Alumni Gymnasium until Auburn Sports Arena was opened in 1946.

Auburn Sports ArenaEdit

Auburn Sports Arena was a 2,500 seat multi-purpose arena. Nicknamed "The Barn," it opened in 1946. It was replaced when Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum opened in 1969.

Beard–Eaves–Memorial ColiseumEdit

BeardEavesMemorial Coliseum is a 10,500-seat multipurpose arena that opened in 1969 under the name Memorial Coliseum. It was renamed after former player and coach Joel Eaves to Joel H. Eaves Memorial Coliseum in 1987. It was renamed for the final time to Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum in 1993, adding the name of former Auburn athletic director Jeff Beard.

Auburn boasted a 393–182 (.683) overall record at Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum. Auburn had a winning record at home in 37 of the 42 seasons Auburn played in the Coliseum. Auburn's 30-game home winning streak from the 1997–98 season to the final game of the 1999–2000 season was the longest in Coliseum history. It was the nation's second longest current winning streak at the time and is the second longest home winning streak in Auburn history.[5]

Auburn played its final season in Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum in the 2009–10 season. Auburn's final game in Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum was on March 3, 2010; Auburn beat Mississippi State 89–80.[12]

Auburn ArenaEdit

On June 29, 2007, Auburn announced plans to build a new $92.5 million basketball arena and practice facilities that would eventually be completed for the 2010–11 season.[13] The arena was named Auburn Arena. With a seating capacity of 9,121, Auburn Arena is the smallest men's basketball arena in the SEC. Aside from the main court, the arena also contains two practice courts, a weight room, 12 suites, coaches offices, the Auburn Ticket Office, and the Lovelace Athletic Museum.

Auburn played its first game in Auburn Arena on November 12, 2010, losing to UNC Asheville in overtime 70–69.[14] Auburn's first win in Auburn Arena came on November 21, 2010, when Auburn beat Middle Tennessee 68–66.[15] Auburn currently holds a 115–53 (.685) record in Auburn Arena.




Sometimes referred to as the "Iron Bowl of Basketball," Auburn and Alabama have a fierce rivalry that dates back to 1924. Auburn and Alabama first met in the Southern Conference Tournament on March 1, 1924, and Auburn lost 19–40. The two programs did not meet again until 1941 in the SEC Tournament, a matchup that Auburn lost again 16–38. The programs have played regularly since 1948, meeting at least twice every season starting in 1949. Auburn's first win in the rivalry came in their sixth meeting on December 20, 1949, when Auburn beat Alabama 45–40.

Auburn and Alabama have met in the SEC Tournament 9 times, including Auburn's 53–49 overtime victory over Alabama in the 1985 SEC Tournament championship game. Alabama leads the all-time series 97–65.


Georgia is Auburn's oldest rival, first meeting in 1908 in Columbus, GA. Auburn won that game 34–20. Auburn and Georgia have played at least once every year since 1945. Auburn leads the all-time series 96–95.


Though Auburn and UAB have met just 21 times, the two programs have a strong history. The first game between the two schools was played on November 26, 1982, a matchup won by Auburn, 63–61. The programs met 16 more times over the next two decades until the series was discontinued after the 1999–2000 season. In 2015, Auburn and UAB agreed to a four-game series that reignited the rivalry.[16] Auburn leads the all-time series 11–10.

Student sectionEdit

Auburn's student section is known as The Jungle. Auburn held a vote to name their student section at the start of the 2011–12 season, and The Jungle was chosen from several options. Auburn officially started The Jungle on January 11, 2012 for the Auburn–Kentucky game.[17] The Jungle was awarded the Sixth Man Award at the 2012 team banquet for its "outstanding support throughout the season and making Auburn Arena one of the loudest venues in the SEC."[18]

The Auburn student section was previously known as Lebo's Lunatics during Jeff Lebo's tenure at Auburn and the Cliff Dwellers during Cliff Ellis' tenure.


  1. ^ "About Auburn". March 28, 2019. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "2016–17 Fact Book" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-15.
  3. ^ "Auburn University Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  4. ^ "Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum – Birmingham, Alabama". Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  5. ^ a b "Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum". Archived from the original on 2007-04-07. Retrieved 2007-04-06.
  6. ^ "Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Museum – Birmingham, Alabama". Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  7. ^ "Auburn Head Coach Cliff Ellis To Be Inducted Into Mobile Sports Hall Of Fame". 2003-04-22. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  8. ^ Reports, From Wire (2004-03-19). "Cliff Ellis Is Fired as Auburn Coach". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  9. ^ "Bruce Pearl named Auburn men's basketball coach".
  10. ^ "AUBURN'S 1985 SEC TOURNAMENT BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS REUNION". Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2016-02-24.
  11. ^ "Alumni Gymnasium · Omeka at Auburn". Retrieved 2016-02-29.
  12. ^ "Auburn closes Beard-Eaves with big win over Mississippi State". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  13. ^ "Auburn University Announces Plans To Build New Basketball Arena". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  14. ^ "Auburn opens new arena with overtime loss to UNC-Asheville". Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  15. ^ "Tony Barbee, Auburn celebrate first win in new arena". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  16. ^ "UAB, Auburn Set For Four-Game Men's Basketball Series – UAB Athletics Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  17. ^ "New Auburn Basketball Student Section The Jungle Announced". Retrieved 2016-03-04.
  18. ^ "Frankie Sullivan Receives Highest Honor & Kenny Gabriel Named MVP At Auburn Basketball Awards Banquet". Retrieved 2016-03-13.

External linksEdit