Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com today:
Former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville will be named the next football coach at Texas Tech, a source close to the search told ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel.
A news conference is scheduled for Sunday in Lubbock, Texas. Tuberville’s family is flying to Lubbock Saturday night, according to the source.
An SbB reader also sent me this flight plan, claiming it is Tuberville.
I haven’t confirmed that Tuberville has been hired, but wouldn’t doubt it. In fact, I predicted Tuberville would be hired a week ago.
Tuberville would Mike Leach, who was fired by Tech after a complaint from the son of ESPN’s Craig James, Tech wide receiver Adam James.
Earlier this week I reported that Tech would hire Art Briles for the job, and sources told me at the time that Briles had been offered the job. After Tech offered Briles, Baylor donors ponied up an extension that included a second raise in less than a week for Briles. Briles now has a seven-year deal with Baylor.
Tech had no intention of offering Briles a seven-year contract, so the coach passed on the Red Raiders and re-upped with Baylor.
I was also told, in all seriousness, that Briles’ religious faith was a significant factor in his decision to remain at Baylor. Briles is well-known in college football coaching circles as perhaps the most religious major college football coach in the country. Baptist donors, along with upping Briles’ salary, appealed to his faith as a reason to stay at the school.
Not saying religion was what kept Briles at Baylor, but it was a significant factor to him passing on what many would classify as his dream job. If religion wasn’t involved, there’s a chance Briles could’ve taken a shorter contract and even less money to go to Tech.
What will be very interesting to find out is whether or not Tech allows Tuberville to hire his own staff, or the school forces Tuberville to take on existing assistants. I’ve been told that one of the reasons Tuberville was a leading candidate for the job is he told Tech officials that he was willing to keep some Tech assistant coaches.
That approach by Tech in the job search, along with the circumstances of Leach’s departure, turned off a lot of hot coaching prospects, like Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. I’ve been told that Sumlin didn’t think the Tech job was much of a step up from his current gig at Houston.
Tech’s lack of top-flight facilities in relation to the top schools in the Big 12 was also a factor in Sumlin’s passing on the job. I’ve confirmed that Tech was indeed interested in Sumlin, but the coach never returned the favor.
I originally predicted that Tuberville would get the job, but came off that prediction when I was told Briles was offered by Tech. But Baylor stepped up and countered Tech’s offer, opening the door for Tuberville. It’s a solid hire for the Red Raiders, but I’m not so sure it will placate donation-pulling alumni anytime soon.