Tuberville Begins Search For New Defensive Boss

Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville talks about the loss of Gene Chizik to Texas and his timetable for a new hire.

Auburn, Ala.–-For the second time in four years Coach Tommy Tuberville will search for a new defensive coordinator after Gene Chizik's announcement on Monday that he's leaving Auburn for a job as co-coordinator with the Texas Longhorns.

"I just want to say that Gene Chizik did a great job for us at Auburn," Tuberville said. "I'm proud for him. I knew a few years ago when we hired him, I requested that he stay at least three years, that he was very goal oriented and wants to become a head coach. Obviously he feels like going to Texas will enhance his position by making the move and coaching in another conference. I did that one time when I was at the University of Miami and went to Texas A&M. I thought that would probably get to know different people in a different conference and it could be the same for Gene. I'm proud for him and his family. He did a great job. I hate to see him leave, but it's part of this business."

Tuberville said he's already started taking phone calls from around the country from coaches expressing interest in the job. With a load of talent returning on the defensive side of the ball it's expected that Auburn will have plenty of coaches interested, but there's little doubt that Tuberville has his eye on a few specific candidates already if the past is any indication.

"Now we have to move on and look out for the future of Auburn, which we will," Tuberville said. "My phone has rang off the wall. It won't be as easy time because we want to find somebody to run our defense here at Auburn and we want to make sure we get the right fit and the right person. You want somebody that's motivated and very experienced and we'll do just that.

"This is one of the best jobs in the country here at Auburn," Tuberville added. "It's a place where I think people can grow, coach very good athletes, and learn. We have a very good defensive staff and a very good offensive staff. They'll have the ability to come in and learn and also bring new ideas. That's what I'm looking for, some new ideas defensively. Obviously, I'm a defensive coach and I'm up on most of the guys around the country that are good and very good at what they do. This will be a search of several different places. I have a list that is fairly long, but I have a short list that I always keep on both sides of the ball that I'll look at first."

Just as Tuberville left Miami to head to Texas A&M, Chizik's leave looks to be about the professional side of the coaching ranks.

"I think what he meant was that what he's done at Auburn he's done well," Tuberville said. "Like I did at Miami, I was on three national championship teams and sometimes when you get a job offer you feel like if you can go somewhere else you can prove it again. Texas is not any better of a point to go from an assistant or coordinator to a head coach. It's a different place and he'll meet different people and learn new things. I don't think Gene quite meant it that way. Obviously people get head coaching jobs from Auburn because they have before. We're not going to make this about Gene Chizik. It's going to be about Auburn. Gene did a good job and I'm glad that he came, but we'll have somebody before long that will do as good or better."

Randy Shannon

Some of the names that could pop up as potential interview candidates include current Pitt Panther coordinator Paul Rhodes, who was offered the job before Chizik three years ago. Others that could be involved include Miami (Fla.) defensive coordinator Randy Shannon and Georgia Tech coordinator Jon Tenuta, who is the former secondary coach at Ohio State. Tuberville said he won't release any names to avoid causing other programs problems right before signing day and that the new coach would definitely come from outside the program.

"I won't bring up any names," Tuberville said. "Obviously, people are recruiting. I don't want to interfere with people's recruiting efforts. We'll have a coach in place pretty much after national signing day. It's going to take a couple of weeks because I'm busy on the road. You can't do a very good job of interviewing unless you're on campus. I want to get the people on campus and interview them there. I'll do some things on the telephone and on the road, but you're going to need to get them there where they can see the facilities and meet our administration like Jay Jacobs and possibly our president. It will be a couple of weeks, but we'll have somebody in hand that will enhance our program and be very good and very talented. We look forward to bringing new ideas to our football team."

A negative to the situation could be in recruiting where Auburn has loaded up on the defensive side of the ball. Tuberville said he doesn't believe Chizik's leaving will bother the Tigers at all because of the large numbers of players already committed and their love for Auburn. But, he wishes the decision could have been made after signing day.

"I'm a little bit different in this, I wouldn't have interfered recruiting, but that's part of it," Tuberville said. "It won't bother us. We've got a lot of solid commitments and they weren't coming to Auburn because of one coach. They were coming because of Auburn. It's a great place. We're going to win games and have won games. We're going to win championships and the players we're recruiting weren't really guys that were leaning to other places. They were sold on Auburn for a long time. They're coming because of Auburn, the education they can get, and the opportunity to play on a good football team. They will get coached and coached very hard no matter who we've got here coaching them."


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