Willie Taggart coached Western Kentucky to consecutive winnings seasons for the first time since the program joined the FBS ranks, so a program like USF showing interest in him is no surprise. What is surprising is the reported news that Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville is headed to Cincinnati to replace Butch Jones.
CoachingSearch.com‘s Pete Roussel broke the story midday on Saturday.
Breaking: I have learned that Tommy Tuberville has accepted the head coaching job at Cincinnati. CoachingSearch.com
— Pete Roussel (@coachingsearch) December 8, 2012
RedRaiderSports.com tweeted it has confirmation via the TTU athletic department.
— Aaron Dickens (@AaronDickens) December 8, 2012
The immediate question a Tuberville move begs is…why? Tuberville is 20-17 in three seasons since taking over for Mike Leach at Texas Tech, a Big 12 program. In BCS hierarchy, the Big 12 is simply more prominent than Cincinnati’s home conference, the Big East. Moreover, when the postseason shifts to the playoff system in 2014, the Big East is on the outside of both the tournament and the more lucrative bowl games.
With the increasingly demanding expectations on head coaches, perhaps Tuberville recognized a troubling trend with his tenure in Lubbock. The 2012 Red Raiders raced into the top 25, but finished the season on a 1-4 skid.
That’s been the MO for the last three Red Raider teams: start strong against lackluster competition, struggle in conference. Tuberville is 1-7 in the month of November the last two years. Its losing streak relegated Tech to a sub-.500 record in the Big 12; Tuberville has yet to finish with a winning record in the league.
Tuberville drew some unwanted attention last month for a sideline altercation with a graduate assistant that drew a reprimand from the conference.
Before coming to Texas Tech, Tuberville went 85-40 at Auburn. The zenith of his time on the Plains was a perfect 2004 team, but just four years later was forced out after a 5-7 campaign. His time at Auburn became a point of contention in 2011, when former Tiger players spoke of improper benefits gained while he was head coach.