"Great Day," Jacobs Says About Baseball Hire

Auburn, Ala.--After flying College of Charleston coach John Pawlowski in for a final interview on Friday, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he felt good about the man he was about to offer the job as head coach of the AU baseball program.

Auburn's athletic director sent a text message to the coach at 7:30 a.m. on Friday asking if he could come to Auburn for a meeting as soon as possible. Pawlowski made it clear it was a priority to make that meeting possible and soon. The coach cleared his scheduled, hopped on a plane in Charleston, S.C., and was in Auburn by 1:30 p.m. to meet with Jacobs.

About 90 minutes later Jacobs offered Pawlowski the Auburn job with a five-year, $300,000-a-year contract plus bonuses. The 44-year-old coach didn't hesitate to take the offer and noted that he was thrilled to get it.

Jacobs said he is just as thrilled with the end result of his search to replace Tom Slater, who was fired following the 2008 season.

"We talked to about a dozen guys--a lot of great people, a lot of good people," Jacobs said of the coaching search. "It was really enjoyable to talk to the guys. They are just quality people.

"There was a lot of interest in this job," he added. "At the end of the day, when we narrowed it all down, we got the best guy we could possibly get for a lot of reasons."

One of the reasons was that Pawlowski is a proven winner as a college head coach. His record at College of Charleston is 338-192-1.

Asked if he believed was essential to hire a proven head coach for the Auburn vacancy, Jacobs said, "Undoubtedly. We were going to get that done. As difficult as this league is, it is hard to come in here if you haven't had some success as a head coach at some level. It was a priority for us to search out all head coaches who were interested in this job."

Commenting on the decision to offer Pawlowski a five-year deal with a base salary of $1.5 million over the life of the contract with the chance to make more in performance bonuses, the athletic director said the Tigers needed to step up to the plate with a good contract offer to get a proven coach.

"It's a tough league," Jacobs said of the SEC. "When you look at the conference averages, that will put us a little bit ahead of the middle of the pack. There is a lot of movement going on now. It is going to be interesting to see.

"The important for John was to get to Auburn," Jacobs added. "The important thing for us is that we built in a package that is loaded with incentives and that was something that was real important to us and important to John. It is going to be a great time for Auburn baseball for a long, long time."

After introducing his new coach at a press conference on Friday night, Jacobs was still smiling about what he calls a "home run" hire.

Jay Jacobs (right) is shown at the ceremony announcing John Pawlowski (left) as head coach.

"A lot of guys wanted to visit about Auburn," the athletic director noted. "When it got down to us, there was just one choice and it was John Pawlowski. It's been a great day. A great day. After the initial interview, and after the interview today, it was easy to figure out who the best guy was for us."

Pawlowski isn't wasting any time going to work for the Tigers. Immediately after accepting the job he was on the phone talking to current players who are scattered around the country in summer leagues. He also met with other players who are taking summer classes on the AU campus and hit the phones to talk to recruits for the 2009 signee class.

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