CINCINNATI – Tommy Tuberville wasn’t expecting a call from an old acquaintance. A few hours later, he was headed north for a new job.
Tuberville, 58, left Texas Tech to become Cincinnati’s football coach Saturday, moving away from a Big 12 school to one that has an uncertain future with conference realignment. He left the Red Raiders after three years to coach at a school where his recent predecessors have lasted no longer.
Two hours after Cincinnati’s 11th-ranked basketball team won its ninth game of the season, the Bearcats hauled out their Big East trophies and held a pep rally – complete with cheerleaders, band and several hundred fans – for the new coach at midcourt.
There’s always a next step, Tuberville said. I’m going to get the question: Why did you come to Cincinnati? That’s exactly it.
His quick hiring ended a whirlwind week in Cincinnati, after coach Butch Jones interviewed at Purdue and Colorado before accepting the job at Tennessee on Friday morning.
Athletic director Whit Babcock called Tuberville – whom he worked with for three years at Auburn on Saturday morning to see if he was interested.
South Florida hires Hilltoppers coach
Willie Taggart is taking over as South Florida’s football coach after establishing himself as one of the nation’s top young prospects by turning around a losing program at Western Kentucky.
Taggart, 36, grew up in the Tampa Bay area before playing and later coaching at Western Kentucky. He replaces Skip Holtz, who was fired after the worst season in USF’s 16-year history.
Taggart led Western Kentucky to a 7-5 record this season. The Hilltoppers, who named defensive coordinator Lance Guidry interim coach Saturday, will make their first postseason appearance since joining the Football Bowl Subdivision when they face Central Michigan in the Little Caesars Bowl.