James Willis, a former standout player for Auburn who is originally from Huntsville, certainly is familiar with AU and SEC football, two things that Tuberville has mentioned would be pluses for candidates interested in the job.
Tuberville said he is looking for a coach with a good reputation as a teacher and a recruiter, two of the reasons given by Temple coach Al Golden for choosing Willis when he hired the former Tiger and NFL player to work for the Owls.
Willis, who was SEC Freshman of the Year in 1992, was a three-year starter for the Tigers, who earned first team All-SEC honors in 1992. He is currently in his first season as an assistant coach with Temple after moving there from the University of Rhode Island. Temple hired him on Dec. 20th, 2005.
Willis, who is 34 years old, is also familiar with Auburn and Tuberville's staff in particular. While returning to Auburn to finish his undergraduate degree work, he helped as a student assistant coach for the 2001 and 2002 seasons. In 2003, he became a graduate assistant. He worked closely with Joe Whitt, whose move off the field to working in fundraising with Tigers Unlimited has opened another spot on the AU defensive coaching staff.
Willis is expected to interview on Monday with new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as well as Tuberville. Muschamp was hired on Friday from the Miami Dolphins to take over from David Gibbs, who agreed on Thursday to take a job with the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.
In addition to playing for the Tigers, Willis played in the NFL. He was with the Green Bay Packers for the 1993 and 1994 seasons. He moved to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995 and became a starter there for the 1996, 1997 and 1998 seasons.
The former Tiger played for the Seattle Seahawks in 1999 and wrapped up his playing days with the Birmingham Bolts of the XFL, where he was the team's defensive Most Valuable Player.
Willis coached linebackers the past two seasons for the University of Rhode Island before being hired by Temple just before Christmas.