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