Tommy Tuberville’s transition from the sideline to the broadcast booth has presented some, uh, interesting circumstances.
Tuberville, the former head coach at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati, has had a few unceremonious exits over the course of his coaching career, leading to some underlying awkwardness during his first season as a color commentator for ESPN.
He’ll be on the call on Saturday night when Ole Miss hosts Texas A&M. That led to this tweet from the official Ole Miss football account:
ESPN2 crew for Saturday: Mike Patrick, Paul Carcaterra & former Rebel coach Tommy Tuberville. Word is they’re traveling to Oxford via pine box. pic.twitter.com/FzMcoJWBif
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) November 13, 2017
If you don’t get the “pine box” reference, it goes back to Tuberville’s time in Oxford. In 1998 (current Ole Miss coach Matt Luke’s senior season), rumors swirled connecting Tuberville to the opening at Auburn. In response, Tuberville infamously said, “They’ll have to carry me out of here in a pine box.” A few days later, he left Ole Miss for Auburn.
Yeah, Ole Miss hasn’t forgotten about that one, and now Tuberville will be back on campus for the first time in a while later this week.
Earlier in the year, Tuberville was in the booth for Texas Tech’s trip to Houston. Tuberville coached the Red Raiders from 2010 to 2012 before abruptly (he literally left visiting recruits at a dinner) accepting the Cincinnati job. His tenure at Cincinnati lasted a year longer than his time at TTU. After stepping down from his role at Cincy, he flirted with Alabama politics and made the media rounds (taking another jab at Ole Miss in the process) throughout the summer.
In one particular radio appearance in May, Tuberville said coaching in Lubbock (where TTU is located) “looks like Iraq” and was “like going to Siberia.” Naturally, that didn’t sit well with Texas Tech fans and Tuberville, who went 9-17 in Big 12 play at TTU, quickly apologized. Four months later, he was on the call for the Red Raiders’ game against Houston.
Kliff Kingsbury, Tuberville’s successor at Texas Tech, was quick to acknowledge the awkwardness of it all, especially the upcoming pregame meetings where Tuberville would be speaking with Red Raiders coaches to prepare for the broadcast.
— David Collier (@CollieronTV) September 19, 2017
We’ll see how Tuberville is received — or if he addresses the elephant in the room — on Saturday.
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