All the hype and attention over college football coaches on the hot seat has gone to Charlie Weis so far. But since Weis is staying at Notre Dame, no matter how many Irish that will upset, there needs to be some coaching speculation to fill the void. Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville seems ready to fit that bill, as his fate as Auburn coach is up in the air after a very bad season.
Tommy Tuberville has been an Auburn Tigers staple for 10 years, coaching Auburn to many bowl bids and the occasional 10+ win season. But after the worst year in Auburn football since his first year on the job, Tuberville may be about to be pushed out.
Tuberville met Monday and Tuesday with Auburn Athletics Director Jay Jacobs, coming out no more certain about his job future than he was beforehand. But the decision on whether to keep Tuberville should come by the end of the week.
Tuberville has a contract up to 2013, as well as a possible $6 million buyout this season if he gets fired. But Auburn Tigers fans aren’t likely to wait for Tuberville’s contract to expire in four years.
Tuberville was hired by Auburn in 1999 after coaching for four year at SEC rival Ole Miss. Living in the shadows of previous Auburn coach Terry Bowden, Tuberville started with a 5-6 season, then had winning years the next eight seasons.
By far, Tuberville’s most successful year was in 2004, when the Tigers were one of three major undefeated teams in college football. But they were controversially left out of the BCS title game, and had to settle for a Sugar Bowl win and a perfect 13-0 season.
Auburn hasn’t reached those heights since, slipping to the middle of the pack in the SEC despite winning nine or more games annually. Tuberville and the Tigers were on a hot seat this season, but came into 2008 with high expectations.
Losses to LSU at home and Vanderbilt on the road quickly sent Auburn and Tuberville into a tail spin. The ultimate indignity came with their first loss in the Iron Bowl to arch-rival Alabama in six years, by a 36-0 score. The win gave Alabama a 12-0 unbeaten regular season, and doomed Auburn to their first losing season in 10 years with a 5-7 record.
With such an ugly exclamation point to a bad season, Tuberville has had to face various calls for his job. No such decision has been made yet, as Tuberville’s job status will be making off-the-field headlines for the next few days. Since Weis is now coming back and Tennessee already hired new coach Lane Kiffen, Tuberville’s fate will be in a more glaring spotlight.
The Birmingham News- “Tommy Tuberville stays in limbo about future” www.al.com/auburnfootball/birminghamnews/index.ssf
Wikipedia- Tommy Tuberville: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Tuberville