Tommy Tuberville has formally accepted the head coaching position at Cincinnati.
Tuberville replaces Butch Jones, who left Cincinnati to become the new head coach at Tennessee on Friday.
Under Tuberville, Texas Tech went 20-17 in three seasons including 7-5 this season and earning a berth in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Tech began the season 6-1, but lost its final four games to close out the regular season. Tech went 9-17 in Big 12 Conference games, including 3-8 at in home games during Tuberville's tenure.
Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he was attending his son’s soccer match Saturday when he received a phone call from an Ohio phone number at 9:15 a.m. After not returning the call, Hocutt said he received another call at 10:30 a.m., this time from Tuberville, who at that time informed Hocutt of his resignation from Tech and intention to accept the Cincinnati job.
“I’ve enjoyed my time working with Tommy Tuberville,” Hocutt said at a 4:30 p.m. news conference at the football training facility. “Tommy is a good man and a man of great character. I wish well. I wish him nothing but success as he moves forward. I want to thank him for his leadership and his service to Texas Tech University and to our football program.”
Hocutt said he had no indication at all Tuberville was a candidate for the Cincinnati job until this morning. In fact, Hocutt said Tuberville affirmed his commitment to Tech football Friday when the two men met in Tuberville’s office.
“As recently as yesterday he looked me in the eye and gave me his commitment and dedication to Texas Tech football and leading this football program forward,” Hocutt said.
At this time no interim coach has been named, but Hocutt said a decision would be made in the coming days. He also said the assistant coaches remain committed to continuing to coach for Tech as the team prepares for its bowl game.
As for hiring a new head coach, Hocutt said there is no timetable. He said he feels a sense of determination to bring the best leader he can to Lubbock. He said the ideal coach would know the fabric of West Texas, position the program to compete at the highest levels competitively and motivate the student-athletes to succeed in the classroom.
On Twitter several players reacted to the departure of their coach. One player who had a particularly strong reaction is sophomore tight end Jace Amaro.
“Never felt more anger in my life,” Amaro tweeted. “ I vow, I swear, I will do everything I can next year, and Texas Tech will win the Big XII championship.”
Senior safety Cody Davis tweeted he feels bad for the younger players because the process of moving from one coach to another is never fun.
While many players reacted negatively, junior wide receiver Eric Ward tried to maintain a level head.
"One thing for certain we still Red Raiders around here no matter what," Ward tweeted.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege said through Twitter the team remains committed to winning its bowl game.
“It's about us right now and once we WIN this bowl game everything else will take care of itself,” Doege tweeted.