Saturday, January 9, 2010
Tuberville named to coach Red Raiders
ESPN.com news services
The search is over in Lubbock.
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville has been named the next football coach at Texas Tech, the school announced Saturday.
His deal is for five years and in the range of $2 million a year, a source told ESPN.com's Chris Low.
"It's great to be back in the game again," Tuberville told ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel when reached on his cell phone in Auburn, Ala.
Texas Tech made the offer, and Tuberville accepted, a little before 2 p.m. EST.
A news conference was set for 3 p.m. ET Sunday in Lubbock. Tuberville and his family flew in Saturday night.
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Tommy Tuberville's solid history and reputation won't make his new job any easier thanks to the expectations created by Mike Leach, ESPN.com's Tim Griffin writes. Blog
"After 25 years of coaching you need to recharge your batteries," he said inside the lobby of his Lubbock hotel. "Last year being out was great for me. I'm fired up, looking forward to it."
Tuberville, 55, became a strong candidate when it was determined he would not insist on hiring his own staff, a source told ESPN.com's Maisel. Tuberville also will not cost Tech a contract buyout.
Tuberville was expected to meet with Texas Tech staff before the news conference and then travel to Orlando, Fla., for the American Football Coaches Association convention, slated for Sunday through Wednesday.
Tuberville and Auburn parted ways in 2008 after his team went 5-7 in his 10th season at the school. In 2004, Tuberville received national coach of the year awards after leading the Tigers to a 13-0 record. Tuberville averaged 8½ victories in his 10 seasons, taking Auburn to eight consecutive bowls and posting an 85-40 record on the Plains.
Last week, Tech athletic director Gerald Myers told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal 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.
Tuberville replaces Mike Leach, who was fired last month after 10 years as Tech's coach amid an investigation into his treatment of a player with a concussion.
"This is my third time...and starting a program over with new vigor," he said.
Before going to Auburn, Tuberville coached at Mississippi and compiled a 25-20 record in four years after inheriting a program under serious NCAA scholarship sanctions.
Asked if it was the Red Raiders offense or defense that drew him to West Texas, he said it was neither.
"You know, I'm a salesman, and you have to have a great product to sell," he said. "And obviously Texas Tech is a great place, got a great tradition."
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 other candidate for the Texas Tech 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 receiver Adam James -- son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.
Leach and his attorneys have filed claims in state district court, alleging university officials libeled and slandered him to intentionally harm his reputation.
Information from ESPN.com senior writer Ivan Maisel, ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press was used in this report.