Tuberville's Decision Could Come Today

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas officials could learn today whether Tommy Tuberville will remain at Auburn or continue to be in the mix to replace former Razorbacks' coach Houston Nutt, sources close to Tuberville told The Morning News.

Tuberville has been mentioned as the leading candidate to be Arkansas' next coach, even though he was formally offered a two-year contract extension and a raise by Auburn on Friday.

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tuberville could make a decision in the next few days — perhaps today — as to whether he will stay at Auburn.

The sources said Tuberville is still a candidate at Arkansas, which is in the market for a new coach after Nutt turned in his resignation last Monday and quickly accepted the head coaching job at Ole Miss.

Tuberville didn't say much to shoot down the speculation about him leaving Auburn during a teleconference Sunday night to announce that the Tigers had accepted an invite to the Chick-fil-A bowl.

"There's never been any doubt in my mind that Tommy is going to be our coach for a long time," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said.

Tuberville's responded simply with, "I concur."

Tuberville was reportedly given a written offer for a two-year contract extension by Jacobs on Friday afternoon.

The offer, which includes a $200,000 a year raise, was delivered to Tuberville on the same day he returned to Auburn from a brief hunting trip in West Helena.

Tuberville reportedly agreed in principle to the extension early last week before he left for the hunting trip. But there are some issues that have prevented the deal from being finalized.

Tuberville's name continues to be mentioned as a candidate for the Arkansas job, even though his contract includes a $6 million buyout for him to leave Auburn.

Incoming Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long appeared last Wednesday to dismiss reports claiming that Tuberville was considering coaching the Razorbacks next season.

"They're fantasy," said Long, who has not publicly spoken about the progress of the coaching search since his impromptu news conference last Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, Arkansas interim coach Reggie Herring said Sunday night that he has spoken with Long. But Herring stressed that he was not a candidate at the moment to replace Nutt on a full-time basis.

"At the end of the day, whether I'm riding off into the sunset and a new guy was here, that's irrelevant," Herring said during a news conference to announce that No. 25 Arkansas had accepted an invite to play in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1.

"This place, for three years, I came here with great expectations, great desires, and I've seen a very proud program slip into a cloud of negativity and self-destruction," Herring said.

"All I ask is that it ends, it goes away, for the players' sake."

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