Players "Sad" and "Shocked" That Ellis Is Out

Tiger players discuss their feelings and plans after learning that Coach Cliff Ellis was fired.

Auburn, Ala.--A pair of junior starters from the Auburn basketball team said it is a sad day for them after getting the news that their head coach, Cliff Ellis, was fired on Thursday.

Interim president Dr. Ed Richardson terminated Ellis at a meeting on Thursday morning at Samford Hall.

"It is a sad day for us as players to see your head coach leave," said forward Marco Killingsworth, a second team All-SEC selection.

Killingsworth said the decision by Richardson caught him off guard. "I was surprised coming off the Sweet 16 and what happened this year," Killingsworth said. "We were still .500. When this happened it shocked everybody."

Monroe, whose season was shortened due to a broken bone in his foot from a preseason injury, agreed with Killingsworth that Thursday was a sad day for the Tigers. "We just found out this morning," he said. "We got a call from one of the coaches saying Coach Ellis has been fired so you know his concern was about us. He was telling us not to panic, not to do anything too fast, just wait and let everything happen.

"I didn't think it was going to happen," Monroe added. "When we met with the coaches after the season they were talking good about next season. Things were looking good for us. We didn't think this was going to happen at all."

Monroe originally signed with Duquesne, but was granted a release from that scholarship before he enrolled when that college fired its head coach. The point guard said that for now he plans to stay at Auburn. "We just have to keep our academics together and keep playing and just wait and see who the new head coach is and play it from there," he noted.

Killingsworth said he doesn't plan to leave Auburn. "I am not thinking about that," he said. "I am with Auburn now and I will still be with Auburn later. There is not a thing on my mind about transferring."

The forward said he will miss his head coach. "Coach Ellis brought me in as a freshman and he has been like a father to us. Anytime you need something or to talk to him he was there for you. I expected to stay my four years with him."

When asked if he believes other players on the team will be leaving with Ellis gone, Monroe said, "As far as I am concerned and as far as I am hearing, everybody is talking about staying. Everybody wants to stay a family. We are still a family."

When asked if he agreed with the decision to replace Ellis as head coach, Monroe said, "No, I have been here for three years. I like Coach Ellis. This is a sad day to end it like this. I would have liked to have spent four years with him."

With Ellis no longer in charge, associate head coach Shannon Weaver will oversee the basketball program while AU searches for a replacement for Ellis.

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