Yesterday morning I posted three entries to my Facebook page that provided some insight into how Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville is adjusting to life as the Red Raiders head football coach.
The entries were entirely based on conversations with three different sources, two of whom are current football coaches at major college football programs and an athletic department staffer also at a major football school. All three know Tuberville personally and have talked to him about the Texas Tech situation.
From those conversations, it was made clear to me that Tuberville was not entirely pleased with how things were going at Tech. In fact, as I said yesterday, Tuberville was downright “miserable.”
Tuberville is absolutely miserable at Texas Tech. Wishes he hadn’t heeded advice of Under Armour folks and taken TTU job. One of his complaints is ADs Myers/Hocutt are powerless to keep admins and boosters in check. Leach refused to kiss their rings, and you see what that got him. #tubs has told multiple sources he wishes he’d taken USF job over TTU.
As time goes by, Mike Leach is only going to look more and more like the genius he really was at Texas Tech. He didn’t need great players to win, which is why he was such a great fit there. BCG will be similar. Recruits to his system, which works. Don’t need blue chips to win. #tubs another story.
How’s this for awkward: #tubs backchanneled interest to Miami after Shannon was fired. The Miami Athletic Director at that time? Kirby Hocutt, who was just hired as new Texas Tech AD.
Tuberville told KCBD-TV’s Pete Christy:
“I don’t know where that came from. How about this weather here? Whoever wrote that blog needs to come down here. He probably doesn’t have weather this nice.
“But no, this is a great place. We’re gonna build something here that people can be proud of, but I think that comes from a lot of people who probably would hope we would pack up and leave.
“We’re looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a tough challenge the next couple of years getting it to where we want to get it to, but I would imagine that’s coming from across the river somewhere that they would hope I would go somewhere else.”
Two things stand out from those comments.
1) “It’s gonna be a tough challenge the next couple of years getting it to where we want to get it to.”
Tuberville inherited a program from the winningest coach in Texas Tech history not just in football, but in all sports at the school. (Mike Leach.) The 2010 team Tuberville led to a barely bowl-eligible season had 14 returning starters, including eight on offense.
Leach’s final season the Red Raiders had the highest graduation rate of any major college football program in the country.
So Tuberville being handed that program is a “tough challenge” that will take at least three years to “get it to where we want to get it to“?
2) “I think that comes from a lot of people who probably would hope we would pack up and leave.”
Reality has set in for Texas Tech fans who held out a scintilla of hope that Leach might return as coach. Those fans, though disappointed by Tech’s performance under Tuberville in 2010, fully support him as their head football coach now.
So who are the “people” who “hope” Tuberville “would pack up and leave“?
Can’t imagine it would be opposing coaches or players, as Tuberville’s TTU team last season was less competitive than the teams Leach consistently fielded at Tech.
Tuberville has support of the TTU fans and the local media. The national media hasn’t seen enough yet to make a steadfast judgement on his performance in Lubbock.
The only “people” many Tech followers would “hope would pack up and leave” are the TTU administrators and boosters who forced Leach out over what was purely a personality conflict.
The same delusional TTU administrators and boosters who put their own egos above the football program and the school in using the James family to manufacture Leach’s ouster are also the same folks who are the root of my Facebook posts about why Tuberville, at least in part, is “miserable.”
Former Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers in his latter years was a figurehead and had little to do with Leach’s departure. Similarly, new AD Kirby Hocutt lacks the authority of a typical athletic director at a major college athletic department. Hocutt couldn’t leave Miami fast enough, where substandard facilities, an impossible college market and a kooky school president had him ready to crawl to LBK if that’s what it took.
The Billy Gillispie hire was in the works, as I’ve noted for several months, well before Hocutt arrived in Lubbock. (His first official day at the school was Monday.) Gillispie was essentially hired by TTU boosters, donors and Chancellor Kent Hance. Hocutt’s involvement in the hiring process was mostly the observance of protocol.
Tuberville’s “misery” is based on two things:
1) Inability to control the boosters and non-athletic administration from meddling with the football program.
2) His personality. Tuberville is a “grass is always greener” guy.
On the latter, Tuberville is like basketball coach Tubby Smith. Ever notice how Smith’s name pops up for seemingly every high profile opening during the basketball offseason? It isn’t a coincidence. Smith wants to continue to cement his leverage at his current school while also receiving the attention and respect he thinks he doesn’t get enough of at his current job.
Tuberville has the same personality profile.
The greatest irony in all of this is that Leach would’ve been much more likely to stay in Lubbock indefinitely - at least compared to Tuberville - who will likely jump ship as soon as the opportunity presents itself. It’s no coincidence that Tuberville has uber-aggressive agent Jimmy Sexton in his employ. (See Mike Anderson.)
Though in order to get another high profile job, #tubs will have to somehow live up to what he yesterday called the “tough challenge” of taking over Leach’s wildly successful program.