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Tuberville Makes His Way to Texas Tech

Quick rundown of Tommy’s Auburn resume:

  • 10 seasons as head coach at Auburn
  • Won 68% of his games at Auburn, with a 63.4 win % of SEC games (THAT is impressive.)
  • Went 7-3 against Alabama, including 6 straight wins ( ’02-’07)
  • Took Auburn to an undefeated record (13-0) in 2004
  • One SEC Conference Title (’04), 5 SEC West Division Titles (’00, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’05) – he finished first in the division in HALF the seasons he coached there – this goes wildly unnoticed. By everyone.

All of these points come with their discrepancies, depending on your point of view. And I sit on all sides of the fence when it comes to Thomas Hawley Tuberville.

But do I like the hire? Hell yes, I do.

I understand some people don’t like him. There’s the ethical arguments against Tubs  regarding Oxford and pine boxes. None of these ethical measurements of college football coaches matters to me, because as a baseline rule – they’re all a money-hungry, opportunity-hunting, ego-maniacal sort. So let’s just all agree to that baseline and release any and all issues of whether or not Tommy is an ethical guy, because it doesn’t matter.

(The last paragraph written exclusively for Ole Miss fans.)

Going over the resume. Since WWII, Tommy’s 68% winning percentage at Auburn has been bested only twice. Pat Dye put up .711 in 12 seasons, with 9 of his 99 wins coming against the likes of Mississippi State (coached by the legendaries, Emory Bellard and Rocky Felker!). Terry Bowden bested that with a .731 in 6 seasons before a messy divorce. All three collected numerous division and conference titles (Dye – 4 conferences / Bowden – 2 divisions, although he was ineligible for SEC Championship in ’93 / Tommy – 5 divisions and 1 conference).

So what does that all mean? It means that Tommy was as or more successful than ANYONE else that has ever coached football at Auburn, a major football program in a major college football conference. He did it in the most competitive conference, with the best coaches, best players, most pressure, and least patient fan bases. Unfortunately for Tommy, it was the patience factor that eventually led to his ouster – in the SEC, you get fired for just being around too long, as your own successes extend the expectations beyond reasonable.

(Go ask Phil Fulmer.)

The big mark I have against Tommy Tuberville was how he just quit recruiting the last two/three years he was at Auburn. The talent levels at Auburn dropped off greatly once (guess who) Nick Saban arrived, and Auburn fans and the administration recognized this – and decided it wasn’t going to improve – and forced him out.

I like the hire in the terms of Tommy being accustomed to being at the “number two” school in a state. In Texas, Tech is actually #3. He’s charismatic and plays the media game as well as anyone. That will sit well with Texas Tech officials, as Tommy will do as good a job as anyone available towards rebuilding the trust of the fan base that feels cheated by the disposal of Mike Leach.

(Not sure of his position towards pirates, though.)

It’s also  a good hire, as Texas Tech will stay competitive, but more importantly – Tommy is nothing if not an opportunist. That 70% winning percentage against Alabama? The 5 SEC West Division Titles? All while Alabama was in the midst of a head coaching carousel and recovering from major NCAA scholarship sanctions. During this time – the state of Alabama (which had been dominantly crimson and white since the beginning of time) was turning orange and blue. It was palpable. Had it not been for Nick Saban and his cloud of greatness, Auburn really was this close to becoming ‘The’ state’s football school.

And that’s good news for Texas Tech. Should Texas find itself on rough times (Mack Brown’s gotta retire sometime, right?), Tuberville will be ready to pounce. And that’s really the best Texas Tech can hope for.

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January 9, 2010 - Posted by | NCAA Football

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