There is a strong commitment by both Tuberville and Auburn to see the contract through to completion. It will cost Auburn $3 million to buy out the deal if the university wants to remove him as head coach during the next five years and it will cost Tuberville the same amount if he leaves Auburn before finishing the five years on the contract.
His team is coming off a 9-4 season, which included a Capital One Bowl victory over Penn State in Orlando, Fla. With most of the key players returning for the Tigers, Auburn is expected to field one of the nation's top teams in 2003.
"I am excited about the future of Auburn football and I am looking forward to get started with spring training to get ready for the upcoming season," Tuberville says.
As an incentive complete the five-year term of the new contract, Tuberville will receive a $200,000 completion bonus if he coaches the Tigers through the 2007 season. His base salary will remain the same at $185,000. The rest of his income is from a radio and television shows and endorsements.
"I want to thank David, President (William) Walker, the Board of Trustees and the Auburn people for their support of our mission and for allowing me the opportunity to stay at Auburn for many years," Tuberville said in a statement on Friday. "Auburn is truly a special place. There isn't a better place to coach, live and raise a family than at this university and in this community. Everybody associated with the program--from the administration to the fans--is dedicated to helping Auburn succeed. We look forward to many more championship seasons at Auburn."
Tommy Tuberville (right) enjoys a laugh with his defensive tackles coach, Don Dunn.
Auburn has won or tied for the SEC West title the past three years, but is still looking for its first SEC Championship under Tuberville, who started a major rebuilding program when he inherited a 3-8 team in 1999.
Housel and Tuberville and attorneys for the university and the coach have been working out the details of the new deal for the past month. In addition to the five-year bonus offered, there are others. He 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.
In making the announcement, Housel said, "Tommy and his family want to stay at Auburn and we want them to stay at Auburn--for a long time. We believe this agreement and the new contract will be a win-win for everybody, for Auburn and for Tommy. Tommy has done a good job and there are a lot of exciting days ahead. I have been at Auburn more than 30 years and very rarely has the anticipation and excitement of Auburn people been higher than it is right now. That is a credit to Tommy, his staff and the job they have done." Tuberville's teams have won or shared the last three SEC Western Division titles and defeated Penn State is this year‚s Capital One Bowl. Auburn has made three consecutive bowl appearances under Tuberville and has finished ranked in the Top 20 in two of the last three seasons.