Monday, December 10, 2012
Q&A: Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville
By Matt Fortuna
Cincinnati wasted little time finding its man. Just one day after watching Butch Jones leave for Tennessee, the Bearcats hired Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, who was introduced Saturday night. Tuberville used to coach Auburn, where he knew Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock, who was then an assistant athletic director for development with the Tigers.
Tuberville follows three successful coaches who all left Cincinnati after three years on the job -- Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly and Butch Jones. And he will look to continue to build off the Bearcats' recent stretch, which has been the greatest in school history.
Tuberville spoke with ESPN.com Saturday night upon accepting the job.
Tommy Tuberville was 20-17 is his three seasons leading Texas Tech.
Cincinnati, as you know, has gone through a series of three-year coaches. Do you intend for this to be your last job? Do you intend to make this a destination point?
Tommy Tuberville: Yeah, I sure hope it is. My wife's family lives here. We've got personal connections. It's a great place to live. I've got two boys, one who's a freshman in college, one is a 10th-grader in high school. And I've got a lot of years left, but I'd sure love for this to be it. There are a lot of possibilities here.
Offensively, do you plan on bringing the same style you had at Texas Tech to the Big East?
TT: Well, we were the No. 2 passing team in the country this year, and I'd sure like to have the ability to do that. I don't know the talent here enough. I don't know the league well enough yet to figure out what we need to do. I've talked to several people about being the offensive coordinator but I haven't decided on it yet. I'm not sold on any one offense yet. They all start with the quarterback, and what kind of starting quarterback we have. At Texas Tech we had Seth Doege, who was an excellent quarterback, threw for almost 4,000 yards this year. So I really don't know yet.
Have you gotten a chance to speak with the players a whole lot?
TT: I met with the team tonight for about 10 minutes and just kind of gave them a little bit of insight into who I am. They don't have a clue. These are 18-, 19-year-old kids that are looking at a 58-year-old guy going "Who is this guy," you know? But I explained a little bit of my philosophy. I want to be here long at Cincinnati and I want each one of them in my office so I can visit with them. It's kind of a growing process. It will take awhile for me to kind of find out what kind of players we have or we need. We're jumping right into recruiting.
Can you describe your relationship with Whit Babcock?
TT: Whit and I go back to the early 2000s, back at Auburn. And he's the reason I'm here today. A young athletic director's not going to hire somebody that they don't know, that they don't understand. That's one of the reasons that I'm here today is because I know and understand, and he explained the situation around here, the possibilities. And we did it, I'm here tonight, we're ready to go.
This move seemingly came out of nowhere. Can you describe as best you can where this all came about?
TT: Twenty-four hours ago I was the head coach at Texas Tech getting ready for a bowl game. And as we talked, there wasn't a lot of interest early, but we talked about the program here, the people. You know, it's all about the people. He talked about the enthusiasm, how emotional they are about their sports here, which is a great city to live in. I've spent some time here with my wife's family, which lives across the river in Indiana, and so it was kind of a growing process on me for the last 12 or 14 hours, and it's funny how things happen so quickly.
Lastly, obviously you know about this program's success: four conference titles in the last five years. They're on the greatest run in program history. How invigorated are you by maintaining that and exceeding those expectations, and to keep this program moving upward?
TT: Yup, we preached that before. There's been a lot of success here and we're going to have to keep that. I understand, I've been in places where they've got that kind of success. One thing you can't do is rest on what you've done, you've got to worry about what you do in the future, and that all starts with building. How do you parlay what you want to do, from your philosophy, how you formulate your staff -- your staff has to be all on the same page -- and then you have to create the foundation of recruiting. So that's where it all starts.