Cincinnati has won the Big East Conference on multiple occasions and played in both the Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl in recent years. But with half their Big East peers defected to the ACC, it was clear the Bearcats thought inking Tommy Tuberville as their next head coach as its ticket to the big time.
The Saturday evening press conference, held in the basketball team’s Fifth Third Arena amid raucous cheers from the assembled fans, at times felt less like an introduction and more like a coronation.
“I’m proud to be a Bearcat,” Tuberville shouted in his opening statement. “You can do a lot of things with emotion and energy, and we’ve got it here.”
“I want to help this university go to the next level,” Tuberville continued. “There have been a lot of great wins here, but there’s always a next step. I want to help the Bearcat nation take the next step forward.”
“We’re excited where we are right now, but things are going to change,” said Tuberville.
Cincinnati is getting a proven commodity in Tuberville, who carries a 130-77 record in 17 seasons as a head coach at Ole Miss, Auburn and Texas Tech. His resume is undeniable, an 14-0 season in 2004 and a 6-3 record against Top 5 teams.
Saturday’s introduction didn’t delve much into specifics. Tuberville did indicate he plans to bring some of assistants with him from his Texas Tech staff, but did not speak much about what scheme he plans to implement. “My philosophy is to get the best scheme for your players,” he said.
Both Tuberville and Cincinnati athletic director Whit Babcock shared that the hiring happened quickly. Babcock indicated in his messages to Hocutt that if he could not lure Tuberville away in a one-day period, he would move on to his next candidate. Needless to say, he did not move on to his next candidate.
“I got my first phone call 10-12 hours ago,” said Tuberville. “That’s how quick things can change. This is not my first rodeo. In this business you don’t have time to react. “
Babcock attempted to reach Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt twice but was unsuccessful, saying, “I’m a bit embarrassed not to talk to Kirby directly.”
Tuberville did not take many questions on Saturday, and those he did were sandwiched around chants of “Tommy T!” from the Cincinnati students. After all, the red and black faithful arrived at Fifth Third Arena for a coronation.