Tommy Tuberville on Monday took full responsibility for losing his cool with a Texas Tech graduate assistant along the sideline during a victory Saturday over Kansas.
The third-year coach said he had watched a replay of his outburst after the 41-34 victory and saw what had fans upset. He called his actions ”unfortunate” and said he had apologized to Kevin Oliver, who works with special teams.
”It upset me, too,” Tuberville said. ”You don’t do things like that, and it was obvious I reached up, grabbed his headset and pulled on it. Heat of the battle, some things happen sometimes that you’d like to take back.”
Tuberville said he did not strike Oliver.
Video of the confrontation went viral on the Internet on Saturday. It shows Tuberville angrily facing Oliver and appearing to strike him after the Red Raiders had difficulty getting the right personnel on the field.
Tuberville was hired to replace Mike Leach, who was fired in 2009 for alleged mistreatment of a player with a concussion. Tuberville said he needs to set an example on acceptable sideline behavior to his two sons — one is a walk-on freshman quarterback at Texas Tech — and to Red Raiders players.
”I’ve got to hold myself to higher regard than that, and usually do,” he said.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. There was, Tuberville said, no discussion about the incident Sunday with Hocutt or the university’s president or chancellor.
”There really didn’t need to be a lot of discussion,” said Tuberville, who declined to answer whether he still stood behind his postgame comment that he was only trying to pull Oliver off the field.
”It was just one of those deals where I missed his shoulder and ended up grabbing the microphone on his head set and pulled it off,” Tuberville said Saturday. He later said he was ”hot about” back-to-back penalties against the Red Raiders (7-3, 4-3).
Players seemed to stay out of the fray.
”I have no idea what that’s all about,” quarterback Seth Doege said. ”I know just as much as you do.”
Asked about being under the often-televised microscope of being a head coach, Tuberville says he talks with his players about being careful.
”And then of course in the game, we always talk about play with class, try not to make those kind of mistakes that are sometimes made that you regret,” he said. ”The celebrating things. I think that’s important. You don’t talk about it just one time a year. You talk about it each week.”