Tuberville leaves Texas Tech
Posted by Travis Stewart on 9 December 2012
When news broke early Saturday morning that Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville was leaving Lubbock for the University of Cincinnati, the first tidbit of news to accompany the stunning announcement was that the Red Raider administration was completely caught off guard by the third-year man's departure.
Guess what — so were the rest of us.
Well, let me caveat that. I wasn't surprised he left — after all, I did write this when he was hired back in January of 2010. I was more surprised at how he left; at its best, Cincinnati has to be considered a lateral coaching move, and it's rare now for major moves like this to break without media rumors circulating before hand.
In the end, it would appear that the connection shared by Tuberville and Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock, a former coworker of his at Auburn, was the central cog. Tuberville explains here (briefly) how his short courtship with the Bearcats came to be.
But ... am I the only one that's still scratching his head a bit over this?
So Babcock has a job opening at Cincinnati after Butch Jones takes off for the SEC. OK, I follow everything so far. Babcock makes a short list of candidates, and Tuberville tops the list. A little odd, considering Tuberville's middle-of-the-road record in Lubbock to date, but considering their previous relationship, still defendable.
But then Tubs takes off, apparently on relatively short notice. To Cincinnati, a school that, while hot as of late, has traditionally been fairly average. Yes, it's won four of the last five Big East championships (never mind it's been smoked in its last two BCS bowl appearances.) But still, folks, pretty average as far as total package goes.
So what's the draw? Is it an recruiting advantage? Sure, Tech has a lot of in-state competition. Cincinnati is probably further up the pecking order in Ohio than Tech is in Texas. But the state of Ohio still has eight FBS programs. Recruiting won't be easy there, either.
And the move sure isn't about conference stability, either. The Big East, where Cincinnati is currently mired, is in a perpetual state of disarray; the Big 12 hasn't always been perfect, but it sure looks good right now. Good lord, I've seen chicken coops more orderly than the Big East right now. And don't get me started on fan support; Tech isn't one of the most massive schools in the country, but those kids show up. Can't always say the same thing about the Bearcats, who can be a little spotty at times.
Anywho, I'm wasting breath at this point. Personal opnion — I think it's a silly move unless Tuberville and Tech simply couldn't stand each other anymore. The bigger news now will have to be who Tech hires in Tuberville's place — a move that will be (at least for now) the pinnacle moment for Tech AD Kirby Hocutt.
Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes would have been an ideal choice, but he's taken the job now at Cal; that ship has sailed. So now we have two names at the top of everyone's list — Texas A&M OC and former Tech QB Kilff Kingsbury and Clemson OC Chad Morris, a one-time Stephenville head coach. Both are still fairly new to the college coaching game, but both bring unique West Texas ties and both would have Tech faithful smiling (I think).
Any other guys out there y'all are pining over, Tech fans? Let me hear it. Just do me one favor — eliminate Gary Patterson (TCU), Art Briles (Baylor) and Chris Petersen (Boise State) from your desires. None of them are leaving their jobs for anything other than a top five job in the country, and even then that might not happen. So let's keep in smart, folks!
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