WHO'S NEXT? Auburn search is under way
Posted by Charles Goldberg, Birmingham News December 03, 2008 10:36 PM
Who's going to replace Tommy Tuberville as Auburn's head coach?
We've got some names, but, first, we're going to tease and/or scoop Birmingham News columnist Kevin Scarbinsky from his Thursday column:
``Say this about the ending to the Auburn chapter of Tommy Tuberville's coaching career:
The divorce was more amicable than the marriage.
``After 10 years of a relationship that too often looked better in front of the neighbors than it did behind closed doors, both sides are better off going their separate ways.
``Tuberville can take a year off to reboot.''
The rest of the column is in Thursday's newspaper. Oh, yeah... The names:
But first, this is how my main story in Thursday's Birmingham News begins:
Tommy Tuberville's last day as Auburn University head football coach was one of reflection and tears.
Tuberville, who resigned Wednesday after a 10-year run that included the best season in school history, said he became emotional when he told his players of his decision during a short team meeting.
``I'm doing fine, but then you suddenly realize you're not a coach anymore,'' he said. ``I had a tough time with the players. I almost didn't get through it.''
The search for his replacement has begun. Someone familiar with the process said he expected a replacement to be named ``pretty quickly.''
The rest of that story is in Thursday's newspaper, too.
The names? OK. But first, at least four players who committed to Tuberville's staff have de-committed, according to recruiting websites. That's predictable after a coaching change. Many times those guys come back into the fold.
OK. The NAMES. Kevin Scarbinsky dug up this:
A coach becomes a realistic candidate for a head coaching job in one of two ways. Either he expresses an interest in a school or a school expresses interest in him.
Based on interviews with coaches, athletic officials and other college football insiders, The Birmingham News has identified five potential candidates who may be on Auburn's radar or might like to be as the school searches for a successor to Tommy Tuberville.
They are, in alphabetical order:
1. Derek Dooley
Head coach and athletics director
May also be a candidate at Mississippi State.
Father, Vince, is a former Auburn player who might like to see his alma mater consider his son for the job the elder Dooley almost took in 1980 before Pat Dye was hired.
2. Jimbo Fisher
Offensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting
$2.5 million buyout if he leaves FSU now before succeeding Bobby Bowden as planned.
Turned down the West Virginia head coaching job last year.
Former Auburn assistant under Terry Bowden.
3. Mike Leach
In his ninth year at Tech, has two years left on his contract.
Reportedly talking to Washington officials about that job.
Source said Auburn made unofficial contact with Leach's camp and Leach, a former Kentucky assistant, is interested in returning to the SEC.
4. Will Muschamp
Defensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting
Spent 2006 and 2007 in Auburn as Tuberville's defensive coordinator.
Recently named Mack Brown's future successor with an increase in salary from $425,000 to $900,000 starting in January.
Source said unlikely to return to Auburn with Jay Jacobs as AD.
5. Bobby Petrino
Former Auburn offensive coordinator.
Auburn tried to hire him in 2003 to replace Tuberville as head coach.
Sources said Auburn made unofficial contact with Petrino's camp but his Arkansas contract would be hard to break.