Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville wins Alabama Republican Senate runoff

Nick Bromberg
·3 min read

Tommy Tuberville is set to face Sen. Doug Jones in November’s general election.

The former Auburn coach defeated Jeff Sessions in a Republican primary runoff for Sessions’ old U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday night. Tuberville had the endorsement of President Donald Trump and his win comes a day after Trump infamously referred to Alabama coach Nick Saban as “Lou Saban” in an endorsement call.

Tuberville, who has never held political office, aligned himself with Trump and it worked thanks to the cold feelings between Trump and his former attorney general. Sessions ceded his Senate seat when Trump appointed him as attorney general after winning the 2016 presidential election. But Trump took issue with Sessions’ recusal in an election interference investigation that led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller and Sessions lasted less than two years in that position.

That led to Trump’s endorsement of Tuberville in March ahead of the runoff originally scheduled for March 31. But it was postponed to Tuesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville greets Brigham Young head coach Kalani Sitake following Cincinnati's 20-3 loss in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Tommy Tuberville's last college football game as a head coach came in 2016. He resigned after Cincinnati went 4-8. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

Tuberville was at Auburn for 10 years

Tuberville was Auburn’s coach from 1999-2008. The Tigers’ best season under his watch came in 2004 when Auburn went 13-0 but missed out on the BCS Championship Game. After a Sugar Bowl win, Auburn ended the season at No. 2 in the AP top 25.

Auburn was 11-2 in 2006 and won nine games in 2007. But Tuberville parted ways with the school after a 5-7 campaign in 2008.

He was 85-40 in his ten years with the school — the best winning percentage he posted at any of his four head coaching stops in college football. Tuberville came to Auburn from Ole Miss and coached at Texas Tech and Cincinnati after leaving the Tigers. He has a career coaching record of 159-99 and coached his last season in 2016 with Cincinnati.

The Bearcats were 4-8 that season before Tuberville resigned.

Tuberville declared Senate run in 2019

Tuberville announced he was running for Sessions’ old Senate seat in April 2019. Jones won a 2017 special election to finish Sessions’ original term, which expires at the end of 2020. While Jones will enter the general election as the incumbent, Tuberville will be the favorite. Jones was the first Democrat elected to an Alabama statewide office since 2008 and the first Democrat to serve as a Senator for the state since 1997.

Before he was appointed to Trump’s administration, Sessions had represented Alabama in the Senate for over 20 years. He was first elected in 1996 after he served as the state’s attorney general following a long stint as a United States Attorney.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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