Housel Says Support Is There For Tuberville

Athletic Director David Housel comments on his role in recent developments concerning Tommy Tuberville and Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite calls from alumni and others asking for him to bow out at Auburn, David Housel said Monday that he plans to continue in his role as athletic director at Auburn University.

Housel made the comment on Monday following a press conference by Tommy Tuberville saying that he is staying at AU as head football coach. Housel had apologized to Tuberville last week and he did it again on Monday for his role in flying with President William Walker and two board of trustees members (Byron Franklin and Earlon McWhorter) to Indiana two days before the Auburn vs. Alabama football game to meet with Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino about the possibility of replacing Tuberville as head coach of the Tigers.

On Monday morning, Housel met with Tuberville and AU president Dr. William Walker at the president's office in Samford Hall to discuss the situation. Tuberville got a vote of confidence at that meeting from the two men who were looking to replace him last month.

"Dr. Walker, in no uncertain terms, gave his wholehearted support to Tommy," Housel said. "Not just for next year, but in the future. Dr. Walker understands the effects this could have on recruiting and also the appearance of the football program and he has pledged his total support."

Tuberville left immediately after his press conference for a recruiting trip. Sunday was the first day he and other college coaches are allowed to make in-home or in-school visits with prospects. The head coach says a primary concern is to overcome the damage that speculation about his job status has caused and secure a strong group of signees in February.

David Housel is shown on Monday afternoon in his office as he talks with sportswriters.

"Tommy Tuberville had done and has done a lot of good things and Dr. Walker is very much aware of those," Housel said. "I am not going to speculate as to what may have been. We are aware mistakes were made. We need to move forward."

When asked if he regretted a secret, middle of the night meeting at an Indiana airport with Louisville coach Bobby Petrino two days before Auburn's victory over Alabama, Housel said, "I am not going to try and justify anything we have done. Don't anybody say that I'm going try and justify anything that was done. I think there was a desire on everybody's part to minimize the chance of disruption either there or here.

"Looking back we have all got 20-20 hindsight, but in the academic world it is not uncommon to talk to their employer until they are one of the final two or the final three," Housel said. "That's in the academic world. I and everybody in the university have been part of those types of situations, but I say that not to justify or to try to excuse or to build a case for anything that was done. Mistakes were made and to say they weren't is just not realistic. Now we have got to go forward."

When asked if there was any change made in Tuberville's contract with the university, which was redone earlier in the year to give the coach a raise and more stability with a $4 million buyout clause, Housel said, "That was not discussed this morning. I think the only thing that was discussed this morning was to make sure that we cleared that air and got everybody on the same page and a recommitment from everybody to one another to move forward."

When asked if he believed that he could work in harmony with Tuberville, Housel answered, "I think we can, I'm confident we can. If we had just had a relationship of several months I think it would be a real problem, but Tommy and I have worked together for five years. And all of the professional relationships aside, Athletic Director-Head Football Coach, Tommy knows my high regard for him personally and my high regard for his values and what he stands for.

"And I would hope that he would have the same and I believe he does have the same high regard for me. Mistakes were made and there is some repair work to be done, obviously. But I think because of a relationship of five years and so forth it will be fine. But I think that is to a great extent a testament to the quality of man Tommy is."

When asked if he had the credibility to continue in his current position, Housel responded, "What happened was a very unfortunate mistake--no question about it, but if one mistake is going to destroy 34 years of work, credibility and dedication, that is the way it has to be if people feel that way."

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