LUBBOCK, Texas — Tommy Tuberville will inherit a proven spread offense when he returns to the sidelines next season as Texas Tech’s new coach.
After a year away, Tuberville is taking over the reins of the Red Raiders. He replaces Mike Leach, who was fired last month amid allegations he mistreated a player who suffered a concussion.
The school announced the hiring in a release on Saturday and said that Tuberville would be introduced on Sunday.
Tuberville, who abandoned his attempt at implementing the spread offense halfway through his final season at Auburn in 2008, will lead an offense that routinely sends numerous receivers downfield and consistently put up gaudy numbers in the past 10 seasons.
Tuberville stepped down at Auburn in December 2008, ending a 10-year tenure that included a perfect season and a string of teams that contended for Southeastern Conference championships.
The 55-year-old Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn, including a 13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2, won the SEC title for the first time in 15 years and Tuberville was named AP Coach of the Year.
Tuberville and his family were flying to Lubbock later Saturday, a person close to the decision to hire Tuberville told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to discuss the decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.
No contract has been signed, the person said, but Tuberville and the university have “an agreement in principle in place.”
Voice messages left on the cell phones of athletic director Gerald Myers and Kent Hance, the university system’s chancellor, were not immediately returned Saturday. Tuberville also didn’t immediately return messages left on his cell phone.
Tuberville will be officially introduced as the new coach at 2 p.m. CST Sunday at the school’s basketball arena by Myers and Guy Bailey, Texas Tech’s president.
In 2000 Leach brought a pass-happy offense to Texas Tech that put up gaudy numbers in his spread offense. Every quarterback but two led the nation in passing in his 10 seasons.
Last week, 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.
Before going to Auburn, Tuberville coached at Mississippi and compiled a 25-20 record in four years after inheriting a program under NCAA scholarship sanctions. 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 only other candidate for the post was defensive coordinator 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 on Dec. 30, two days after it suspended him while the school investigated claims of mistreatment of Adam James – son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.
Leach has denied he mistreated the sophomore receiver and his attorneys have filed claims in state district court, alleging university officials libeled and slandered him to intentionally harm his reputation.
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