A Sweeter Deal For Tuberville

AU officials worked out a new deal with Coach Tommy Tuberville.

Auburn, Ala.--A meeting with Auburn president Dr. William Walker earlier this week in New York City has led to an extra year on Tommy Tuberville's contract to coach the Auburn football Tigers.

Early this year, back in February, the head coach was granted a contract extension and a $250,000 per year raise to make his whole package worth $1.5 million per year. The new deal announced on Thursday does not include a raise, but added a year to Tuberville's contract, which now runs through the 2008 season.

An announcement of the deal was made on Thursday afternoon by Walker and Athletic Director David Housel, the two men who had been working behind the scenes to look for a replacement for the Tiger coach. Their interview of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino two days before Auburn's victory over Alabama caused such an uproar that it strengthened Tuberville's position as head coach. The result of that strengthened position is that Tuberville's extended contract.

Walker, Housel and Tuberville worked out the agreement while attending the National Football Foundation awards ceremony in New York City where Auburn senior linebacker Dontarrious Thomas was one of 15 college football players honored for his academic achievements.

Tuberville is shown walking into a meeting with Dr. William Walker on the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday. After that meeting, Walker announced that he was supporting Tuberville as head coach and Tuberville announced that he was staying at AU.

"It's been a difficult last several weeks for the Auburn family, but it's time we move forward," said Tuberville. "We need to come together and concentrate on the future of Auburn football. Dr. Walker, David and I have had extensive, positive conversations and we are in agreement about the goals for our program. Everybody associated with Auburn football is committed to achieving a high level of success. We are thankful for the contract extension and look forward to many successful seasons at Auburn."

Tuberville's job security was in jeopardy as the Tigers did not live up to high preseason expectations. Walker began considering a coaching change after the Tigers started 0-2. Auburn finished the regular season 7-5 and will play Wisconsin in The Music City Bowl on New Year's Eve in Nashville.

"We appreciate the good work Coach Tuberville has done in his first five years as our football coach," said Walker. "In particular, we appreciate the quality and character of the student athletes he has brought to Auburn and his concern for their academic success as well as their athletic success. We look forward to working with Coach Tuberville in his continuing efforts to build a championship program."

Walker has come under fire from Auburn alumni and fans for his part in a having clandestine meeting in Indiana with Petrino last month to discuss the Auburn coaching job. Two board of trustees members, Earlon McWhorter and Byron Franklin, made the trip to meet with Petrino as did Housel. Housel issued this comment on Thursday, "The contract extension and the opportunity to play Wisconsin in the Music City Bowl allows us to take strong positive steps towards the future of Auburn football," he said. "Dr. Walker, Tommy and I all believe that we will have a very bright future under Tommy's leadership."

Tuberville will receive a $200,000 completion bonus if he coaches the Tigers through the 2007 season. His base salary is $185,000 per year. The rest of his income is from a radio and television shows and endorsements.

Auburn had won or tied for the SEC West title the past three years before slumping to a 5-3 league record this season. Tuberville is still looking to win his first SEC Championship.

Tuberville will receive a $300,000 bonus if the Tigers win the national championship and $150,000 if the Tigers win the SEC Championship. He gets $100,000 if the Tigers appear in the league championship game and a $50,000 bonus if the Tigers win at least 10 games in a single season. The contract also includes incentives for compliance with SEC and NCAA regulations and for graduation rates.

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