Tommy Tuberville was hired on Saturday by Texas Tech to replace
Mike Leach as the Red Raiders’ coach.
The school announced the decision in a release and said that
Tuberville will be introduced on Sunday.
Leach was fired last month amid allegations he mistreated a
player who suffered a concussion.
Tuberville stepped down at Auburn in December 2008, ending a
10-year tenure that included a perfect season and a string of teams
that contended for Southeastern Conference championships.
The 55-year-old Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn, including a
13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2, won the SEC
title for the first time in 15 years and Tuberville was named AP
Coach of the Year.
Tuberville and his family were flying to Lubbock later
Saturday, a person close to the decision to hire Tuberville told
The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to discuss the
decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.
No contract has been signed, the person said, but Tuberville
and the university have “an agreement in principle in place.”
Voice messages left on the cell phones of athletic director
Gerald Myers and Kent Hance, the university system’s chancellor,
were not immediately returned Saturday. Tuberville didn’t
immediately return messages left on his cell phone.
Tuberville will be officially introduced as the new coach at
2 p.m. CST Sunday at the school’s basketball arena by Myers and Guy
Bailey, Texas Tech’s president.
Before coming to Auburn, Tuberville coached at Mississippi
and compiled a 25-20 record in four years after inheriting a
program under NCAA scholarship sanctions. He also spent a year as
defensive coordinator at Texas A&M when the Aggies finished
10-0-1 and were among the nation’s defensive leaders.
The only other candidate for the post was Ruffin McNeill, who
was named interim head coach after Leach was fired and led the Red
Raiders to a 41-31 win over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl.
The university fired Leach, the school’s winningest coach
with 84 wins, with cause Dec. 30, two days after it suspended him
while the school investigated claims of mistreatment of Adam James
— son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.
Leach has denied he mistreated the sophomore receiver and his
attorneys have filed claims in state district court, alleging
university officials libeled and slandered him to intentionally
harm his reputation.
Myers told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal last week that
Tuberville told him he would keep the Red Raiders’ aerial offense
in place and wanted to maintain continuity in the program, which
hasn’t had a losing season since 1992.
Tuberville told the newspaper he would change some things
defensively, drawing on success he had at Auburn.