Texas Tech hires Tuberville to coach Red Raiders

Published 7:35 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Tommy Tuberville was hired on Saturday by Texas Tech to replace Mike Leach as the Red Raiders’ coach.

The school announced the decision in a release and said that Tuberville will be introduced on Sunday.

Leach was fired last month amid allegations he mistreated a player who suffered a concussion.

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Tuberville stepped down at Auburn in December 2008, ending a 10-year tenure that included a perfect season and a string of teams that contended for Southeastern Conference championships.

The 55-year-old Tuberville was 85-40 at Auburn, including a 13-0 season in 2004 when the Tigers finished No. 2, won the SEC title for the first time in 15 years and Tuberville was named AP Coach of the Year.

Tuberville and his family were flying to Lubbock later Saturday, a person close to the decision to hire Tuberville told The Associated Press. The person was not authorized to discuss the decision and spoke on condition of anonymity.

No contract has been signed, the person said, but Tuberville and the university have “an agreement in principle in place.”

Voice messages left on the cell phones of athletic director Gerald Myers and Kent Hance, the university system’s chancellor, were not immediately returned Saturday. Tuberville didn’t immediately return messages left on his cell phone.

Tuberville will be officially introduced as the new coach at 2 p.m. CST Sunday at the school’s basketball arena by Myers and Guy Bailey, Texas Tech’s president.

Before coming to Auburn, Tuberville coached at Mississippi and compiled a 25-20 record in four years after inheriting a program under NCAA scholarship sanctions. He also spent a year as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M when the Aggies finished 10-0-1 and were among the nation’s defensive leaders.

The only other candidate for the post was Ruffin McNeill, who was named interim head coach after Leach was fired and led the Red Raiders to a 41-31 win over Michigan State in the Alamo Bowl.

The university fired Leach, the school’s winningest coach with 84 wins, with cause Dec. 30, two days after it suspended him while the school investigated claims of mistreatment of Adam James — son of former NFL player and ESPN analyst Craig James.

Leach has denied he mistreated the sophomore receiver and his attorneys have filed claims in state district court, alleging university officials libeled and slandered him to intentionally harm his reputation.

Myers told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal last week that Tuberville told him he would keep the Red Raiders’ aerial offense in place and wanted to maintain continuity in the program, which hasn’t had a losing season since 1992.

Tuberville told the newspaper he would change some things defensively, drawing on success he had at Auburn