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Get to Know a Coaching Candidate: Tommy Tuberville

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Well looks like the hat just got a bit heavier as another big one just threw his name in.  Tommy Tuberville was interviewed by the KC Star in an article this morning expressing his interest in the Kansas Jayhawk coaching position.  Tuberville discussed the attractiveness of the opening, his qualifications and how he's been staying fresh in his year away from the game.

No doubt Tuberville is the type of hire that lends instant credibility to the job.  Is he however the right man for the job?  Another wrench in the process I'd say.  A process that is beginning to enter it's second week and hopefully one that will come to a close in the near future.

Let's get to know a little more about Tommy Tuberville though, shall we.

Tommy Tuberville was born in 1954 in the natural state, Arkansas.  That makes him 55 for those scoring at home and likely the oldest candidate we've seen on the radar to date.  Tuberville has strong ties to the SEC but has recently found himself out of work and in the analyst chair for the 2009 season.  

In terms of his playing days and collegiate career, Tuberville started out at Southern Arkansas as a safety where he would letter with the team.  From their he began his coaching career directly out of college as a high school assistant at Hermitage (Ark.) High School.  Tuberville would spend two years as an assistant and two as a head coach with Hermitage. After three straight four-win seasons, Tuberville guided HHS to a 7-3 mark in 1979 before moving on to Arkansas State.

At Arkansas State Tuberville coached various segments of the Indians' defense over five seasons. Tuberville coached defensive backs, nose guards and linebackers. During his final year at ASU, the Indians advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

At the start of the 1986 season Tuberville would take a positions assistant spot with the Miami Hurricanes.

Tuberville served as a member of the University of Miami staff for eight seasons from 1986-93, taking over as defensive coordinator in 1993.

While serving on the staffs of Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson at Miami, Tuberville was a defensive coach on teams which won three national championships, posted an 87-9 record and played in nine consecutive New Year's Day bowls.  Not bad company to keep and a pretty impressive run of success.

As defensive coordinator for the Hurricanes in 1993, Tuberville directed a Miami defense which was ranked No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (12.6 ppg) and No. 5 nationally in pass defense (91.15 ypg).  We like defense around here, or at least we'd like a defense around here, right?

During the 1994 season Tuberville would spend a year somewhat between jobs if you will, with the Texas A&M Aggies as their defensive coordinator.  In 1994, he helped lead the Aggies to a 10-0-1 record and No. 8 final ranking by the Associated Press. Under his direction, the Aggie defense finished fourth nationally in scoring defense (13.1 ppg), fifth in total defense (265.5 ypg) and sixth in rushing defense (92.4 ypg).  Again, not a bad defense and a pretty successful stint.

From A&M Tuberville would take his first head coaching position with the Ole Miss Rebels a year later. 

While at Ole Miss from 1995-98, Tuberville posted a 25-20 record. Inheriting a Rebel program plagued by NCAA sanctions and probation, he guided Ole Miss to a winning record in his first season in 1995, with just 61 players on scholarship. He did not have a full compliment of scholarship players to work with in any of his four years at Ole Miss.

By the time he had three recruiting classes under his belt, Tuberville led Ole Miss to an 8-4 mark and a victory in the inaugural Motor City Bowl in 1997. His efforts earned him Associated Press SEC Coach of the Year Honors.

In 1998 Tuberville would take the head position with another SEC school in Auburn.  During his tenure at Auburn, Tuberville guided the Tigers to the top of the SEC standings, leading the Tigers to an SEC Championship and the Western Division title in 2004. Under his direction, the Tigers made eight consecutive bowl appearances including five New Year's Day bowl berths.

The Auburn Tigers were a perfect 13-0 in 2004 including the SEC title and a win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Tuberville received Coach of the Year awards from the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.

Overall in his time at Auburn Tuberville would post an 85-40 overall record and a 52-30 SEC Record.  For his career Tuberville has won 110 games to just 60 losses. 

Tommy Tuberville is probably in a mold all his own as far as the Kansas coaching search goes.  He'd fit in the homerun hire category without a doubt.  Tuberville would provide instant credibility to the program and bring with him a proven track record of success. 

The biggest downside to Tuberville might be his age as he is 55 and a good 10 years older than some of the names that are floating around as favorites.  However let's take a quick look to the west and see that 70+ year old man still roaming the sidelines with the Wildcats.  Snyder has been able to do it, and when he started in Manhattan things were in worse shape and he had a far less glowing record of success. Not too mention this might be viewed by Tuberville as a final stop.  If he comes to Kansas and is able to produce a 10 year run of success, this program will be in great shape when he's gone.

Is Tuberville promised success at Kansas?  No he isn't, but this would be one hell of a hire and I hope Lew, as I suspect, has spoken to Coach Tuberville and I sincerely hope this is option 1b at the very least.