Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unsportsmanlike Conduct

About a month ago, someone asked Tommy Tuberville if he would like to return to a coaching position in the SEC. He replied that he was happy at Texas Tech, that he was tired of moving his family around, and that he wanted both of his sons to graduate from Texas Tech. (His son, Tucker, is a redshirt freshman on the Tech football team.)

One week ago, Tommy Tuberville was in Houston for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas press conference. He talked about how Tech was looking forward to its late December meeting with the University of Minnesota, and generally did all the things you'd expect from a coach who is preparing his team for a post season bowl.

Friday afternoon, in a meeting with Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt, Tuberville "looked Hocutt in the eye" and reaffirmed his commitment to Texas Tech and the Red Raiders. That night, he and other coaches took recruits to dinner at The 50 Yard Line Restaurant. According to reports from those at the dinner, the party ordered their food(mind you, the least expensive steak on the menu is $15) and then Tuberville left the table and never returned.

Saturday morning, the recruits were told by an assistant coach that Tubs had accepted the head coaching job at the University of Cincinnati effective immediately. This came 30 minutes before the story broke in the media. Not only were the recruits left dazed and confused, so was Kirby Hocutt. You could see it in his face at a press conference held later that afternoon.

Saturday afternoon, Hocutt met with the Tech assistant coaches and received assurances from ALL of them that they would remain at Tech until after the December 29th bowl game. Sadly for the Red Raiders, some of those coaches took their cues from Tuberville.

Sunday, Offensive Coordinator Neil Brown resigned to assume a similar position at the University of Kentucky. Monday, strength and conditioning coach Joe Walker resigned to follow Tuberville to Cincinnati. Another offensive coach resigned to follow Brown to Kentucky. All of these resignations are effective immediately. I seriously doubt that Cincinnati and Kentucky would have minded if their new hires had finished out their responsibilities at Texas Tech with regards to the bowl game.

My daddy always told me that you are only as good as your word. If you make a commitment, then you keep it. If I were the AD at Cincinnati and Kentucky, I would be wary of my "new hires." They have proven by their actions at Texas Tech that their word means nothing. They left Tech in the midst of preparations for a bowl game less than 3 weeks from now. TIf past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, don't be surprised if they end up leaving your schools in the lurch as well.

For their actions, Tommy Tuberville and the departing coached get flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.


  1. Seems to me there could be something written into a coach's contract about how and when he or she is allowed to leave while the contract is still in effect... Since money is usually a big factor with people, perhaps the contract should include a clause tied to a large sum of money, like a balloon payment of sorts that would be paid at the end of the coach's contract. The balloon would be forfeited if the coach leaves early. There has got to be something that can be used for reparations in a case like this... Many big time football coaches are lacking when it comes to ethics and then they sit in a prospect's home and tell the parents how they plan on helping their child grow as a person... Yeah... Right...

  2. Most Division I schools have buy-out clauses in their contracts which specifies an amount that must be paid if the coach leaves before the end of the contract. The buy-out is usually paid by the coach's new employer (i.e. the U of Cincinnati is paying Tuberville's buy-out). It's a common thing these days. The problem here is not that Tubs left- and I for one am glad he's gone- but the manner in which he left. He still had one more game to play at Texas Tech. Had he left AFTER the bowl game, that would have been fine.