Interview with Tommy Tuberville

Wants to “finish (his) career (at UC)”

UC head football coach Tommy Tuberville was inteviewed by the Purple Quill before his speaking engagement at the Elder Sports Stag on March 13

Mr. Rogers

UC head football coach Tommy Tuberville was inteviewed by the Purple Quill before his speaking engagement at the Elder Sports Stag on March 13

When UC head football coach Tommy Tuberville visited Elder to speak at the annual Sports Stag on March 13, I was able to ask the coach a few questions.

Q:  Why did you accept Elder’s invitation to not only speak but be the main speaker at the Stag this year?

A: I enjoy speaking at banquets, stags, clinics. I’ve done it all over the country. I can’t count how many times I’ve had to give a speech over the years to just about everything. Even funerals, but I enjoy being around people who enjoy sports, athletics and academics. The Elder Stag is obviously an exceptional event because it does something very important and that is help raise money for the teachers and everybody involved with the school here. So, I am looking forward to being a part of it.

Q: The GCL is one of the best leagues in America. How much of a priority is recruiting the GCL South?

A: For us to be successful at the University of Cincinnati we have to be able to recruit a lot of players from the city and the community. Obviously that includes this conference  (the GCL) and Elder High School. This school has a lot of players that have played at the University of Cincinnati over the years. A couple last year in Austen Boujnoch, Tony Milliano, Corey Mason. All of those guys have been a big part of our program. It’s always good to build most of your base of your athletes from the surrounding area because it builds interest. I think it helps not only the University of Cincinnati but it helps the high schools. It builds something from the athletics program and the school that they somebody go off and be successful. They are close to home and it helps my recruiting.

Q: This program (UC) has seen Butch Jones go to Tennessee and Brian Kelly go to Notre Dame in the recent years. We also saw your good friend Whit Babcock take the Virginia Tech Athletic Director job. What do you tell the recruits that are wondering how long you are going to stay at UC?

A: The big thing about coaching is that you have to enjoy where you are at and I have been a lot of places. I have traveled and coached pretty much all of the regions. I think we can do something special at the University of Cincinnati. There have been a lot of wins at the University of Cincinnati in the last 7-8 years. But, we want to take it to another level. Also, I have some ties here. My wife and all of her family is from here. I want to finish my career here. I think I got eight, nine, ten more years of ability to coach. I want to build something here in Cincinnati that this school, Elder High School, and all of the other high schools in this community can be proud of. So, we are going to recruit those schools awfully hard. I plan on being part of it for a long time.

Q: The basketball team is successful right now. They have been in the top 10 multiple times this season. Does the basketball program’s success put any more pressure on you and your team to go out and get more wins and national exposure?

A: No. We don’t look at it that way. We hope all of our sports do great. Anytime we get any national publicity like our basketball team is getting it not only helps their program but it helps our basketball program and it helps our football program. It helps our university as a whole. It helps this city and it gives us a spotlight on the national stage. So, we are proud of Mick Cronin and his basketball program has done this year and we look forward to the rest of their season.

Q: Speaking of the national spotlight, the football team plays Ohio State this year. Do you see more matchups in the future, UC vs. Ohio State?

A: Well, we have a conference schedule and your four non-conference games are scheduled years in advance and so on the horizon for us we have the University of Miami (Fl), BYU, Michigan, and we are looking at the opportunity to go the west coast. Very far to the west coast and play a team in California. We are looking to down in Texas and continue to play some teams but its hard to schedule non-conference games because if you look at what Cincinnati’s done last 7-8 years. This program is one of the winning-est football programs in the country and so when teams are in a conference they look at Cincinnati and go ‘I don’t know if I want to put them in our schedule because they are a good football team. So, because of that a lot of teams won’t give us that shot. We are excited about going to Columbus next year. Looking forward to the University of Miami (Fl) and playing next year. We got a lot of good games coming up.

Q: Is the new playoff system a factor in you guys looking at a tougher schedule?

A: No, not really. The strength of your schedule is important but the main thing is winning your conference. You’ve got to win your conference. The other games play a small role but if you don’t win your conference it doesn’t make any difference. So, our number one goal is to recruit to win our conference. But, also be able to bring in teams to Cincinnati that are well known. We are re-doing our stadium as we speak. We are up to almost 45,000 seats and it’s going to be important we continue to build our fan base. To do that we have to win games but it helps to do that with players from the surrounding community.

Q: Are you a coach that is in favor of the new playoff system given what happen to you at Auburn? ( His 2004 Auburn team was left out of the national championship game despite winning the SEC and being undefeated.)

A: Well, I was the coach at Auburn and it was kind of a lonely feeling knowing we went through the SEC. We beat four teams that won their conference and we still didn’t get to play for the national championship. That hasn’t happened since and it probably won’t happen again. I think the entire country learned from that. This is the ten-year anniversary of that team in 2004 and it has taken us ten years to decide that we can have a four team playoff which we desperately need. Now I’m not for anything bigger than a four team playoff. An eight team playoff is too much. There is too many games, it takes too much time, too much away from academics. I think we can rightfully say we have a chance to pick out the best team in the country with four teams playing it off at the end of the year with all the other bowls still being the same.

Q: Do you consider that team the 2004 National Champions?

A: Oh yeah. We count it as a national championship because we won every game, we won the Sugar Bowl, and we ended up ranked second. Now, four years ago they took the national championship away from USC because they broke some rules and they decided to leave it vacant instead of give it to the number two team which was Auburn University. We bought National Championship rings for that team that year so we count it as a national championship. We couldn’t do anything more than what was asked of us and I will always think of it as a team that won the national championship.