Auburn basketball is home to the SEC's Coach of the Year for the first since 1999 as eighth-year head coach Bruce Pearl was named to the honor for the 2022 season on Tuesday, March 8, according to a release by the SEC.
Pearl commanded the Tigers to the No. 1 spot in the AP Poll for the first time ever in the program's 116-year history, as the team skipped through non-conference play and early SEC matchups on a record-breaking 19-game win streak. The team did not lose at home and held a 16-game win streak on the season in Neville, formerly Auburn, Arena.
The 2021-2022 season was one of history and never-before seen excitement on the Plains as Auburn claimed the No. 1 seed in this week's SEC Tournament, a SEC regular-season championship for the first time since 2018 and a first or second seed all-but-guaranteed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. It is Pearl's third appearance at Auburn and the program's 11th appearance total.
On top of all of that, Pearl and staff managed to land and develop former 5-star freshman phenom Jabari Smith, who has yet to slip out of the top three in 2022 NBA draft boards.
When Pearl got to Auburn in 2014, the school had compiled a 0.396 record under former head coach Tony Barbee. Now at a winning percentage of over 63%, as well as two seasons with appearances in the top 5 of the AP Poll, it's not conjecture to say that Auburn has thrived under the shepherding of Bruce Pearl.
Pearl and the Tigers head to Tampa for the annual SEC Tournament this week, the team will not play until Friday with the opponent yet to be announced depending on other tournament games.
Auburn has missed the tournament two years in a row due to the outbreak of Covid-19 at the end of the 2019-2020 campaign and the 2020-2021 postseason ban handed down to the program by the NCAA. The last the Tigers competed in the tournament, they were crowned SEC champions after a 20-point win in the Tournament Championship game in 2019.
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Larry is a senior studying journalism with a minor in sociology. He is from Enterprise, Alabama and is in his third year with The Auburn Plainsman.