Cincy seeks higher pro­file

Big East pro­gram is hop­ing the hir­ing of Tu­berville will help to fill sta­dium seats.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - AL BEHRMAN / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Tommy Tu­berville’s next chal­lenge is to turn Cincin­nati’s al­ready suc­cess­ful foot­ball pro­gram into some­thing in­ter­est­ing enough to bring out the crowds and get other con­fer­ences in­ter­ested, too.

It would help if he stuck around for a while.

The 58-year-old coach from Texas Tech brought a high-pro­file name to the foot­ball pro­gram when he was hired as head coach on Satur­day. His pre­de­ces­sors were up-and­com­ers — an as­sis­tant at Ohio State, two Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence coaches — who used the job as a ca­reer launch point.

The Bearcats hope Tu­berville helps them be­come more than just a step­ping stone.

“His re­sume, his ex­pe­ri­ence speak for them­selves,” se­nior quar­ter­back Bren­don Kay said. “I think it’s go­ing to al­low us to buy into what he’s sell­ing right away.”

Mainly, he has to sell the pro­gram.

The Bearcats (9-3) have won or shared the Big East ti­tle in four of the last five sea­sons un­der Brian Kelly, who left for Notre Dame af­ter three years, and Butch Jones, who left for Ten­nessee on Fri­day af­ter his third sea­son.

Even though they’ve been a success on the field, they’ve strug­gled to fill 35,000-seat Nip­pert Sta­dium. They’ve had to set­tle be­ing a low-pro­file cham­pi­onship team stuck in a con­fer­ence that’s coming apart be­cause of de­fec­tions.

The Bearcats even tried to leave a few weeks ago, lob­by­ing the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence. It chose ri­val Louisville in­stead.

Tu­berville’s hir­ing gives it a rec­og­niz­able face for the foot­ball pro­gram that could make it more at­trac­tive to out­siders.

Tu­berville wasn’t turned off by Cincin­nati’s con­fer­ence in­sta­bil­ity, in­sist­ing a win­ning pro­gram is at­trac­tive to any con­fer­ence.

“Things will change and they’re go­ing to change ev­ery day for the next few years, and ev­ery­body knows where it’s headed,” Tu­berville said.

He went 20-17 in three sea­sons at Texas Tech, where at­ten­dance in­creased af­ter he was hired. The school sold 46,565 sea­son tick­ets for his first year, a school record. Bab­cock hopes that Cincin­nati, which drew only 21,171 fans for the fi­nal home game this sea­son, will see a jump in at­ten­dance as well.

Ath­letic di­rec­tor Whit Bab­cock was en­cour­aged that ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 fans showed up at UC’s bas­ket­ball arena for a pep rally wel­com­ing Tu­berville on Satur­day night, chant­ing “Tommy T” when he was in­tro­duced.

Auburn: New coach Gus Malzahn hired Clem­son co-de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and de­fen­sive backs coach Char­lie Har­bi­son to the same po­si­tion.

Har­bi­son spent the past four sea­sons with Clem­son and pre­vi­ously worked with Auburn de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor El­lis John­son dur­ing one of two stints at Alabama and an­other at Mis­sis­sippi State. He re­placed John­son as Mis­sis­sippi State’s de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in 2008.

Har­bi­son coached de­fen­sive backs at Alabama from 1998-2000 and wide re­ceivers from 2003-06.

Iowa: De­fen­sive back Micah Hyde had an­other run-in with po­lice over the week­end and now faces a dis­or­derly con­duct charge.

The Quad-City Times re­ports that Hyde was tick­eted Sun­day af­ter Iowa City po­lice re­sponded to a loud party in his apart­ment build­ing.

Hyde, who started 38 games for Iowa be­fore his ca­reer ended last month, was also ar­rested in Oc­to­ber on sus­pi­cion of pub­lic in­tox­i­ca­tion and in­ter­fer­ence with of­fi­cial acts.

Hyde pleaded guilty to in­ter­fer­ence and was or­dered to pay nearly $400 in fines, but he faces a Dec. 27 court date on the in­tox­i­ca­tion charge.

Dur­ing Tommy Tu­berville’s first sea­son at Texas Tech, sea­son tick­ets reached a school-record 46,565.

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