Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and defensive coordinator John Lovett had been on his coaching staff during his four seasons at Ole Miss and three at Auburn. Mazzone, in particular, had come under fire from Tiger fans after the offense struggled most of the 2001 season as the Tigers finished 7-5 after losing four or their final five games.
Tommy Tuberville at the Peach Bowl.
"I met with both Noel and John and it was mutually determined that it was in their best interest and the best interest of the Auburn football program that they pursue other opportunities," Tuberville said. "I value the friendships that I have with both of them. I know that they have bright futures ahead of them."
Mazzone, who was under consideration for several head coaching jobs in recent years, told Inside the Auburn Tigers that he made a mistake by not taking one two years ago or last year. "It is obvious that I messed up," he said. Auburn finished seventh and 10th in the SEC in total offense the past two years. Mazzone also served as quarterback coach and his players set three single-game records and four single-season records.
"I want to thank Coach Tuberville for giving me the opportunity to coach with him at both Ole Miss and Auburn," Mazzone said in a statement he issued on Wednesday.. "I enjoyed my time at both places, but, it is time for me to move on and pursue other opportunities."
Noel Mazzone and quarterback Jason Campbell had a rough night in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl.
While replacing Mazzone is not a surprise, the move to bring in a new defensive coordinator was not as expected. The Tigers were fourth in the SEC in total defense in 2001 and third the previous year. This year's defense finished up the season with a strong performance in the Peach Bowl.
"Auburn has been a special place and I will value the friendships and memories I have made here," Lovett said in a statement on Wednesday. "I appreciate Coach Tuberville giving me the opportunity to serve as defensive coordinator. This was a difficult decision, but, I believe the best one for my future."
Tuberville said that he plans to talk with several candidates about the job at the national coaches convention that starts on Sunday and runs through Wednesday in San Antonio, Tex. He said he hopes to have both positions filled no later than the weekend of January 11, which is the first big official visit weekend of the recruiting season.
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