The coaching carousel often makes for strange bedfellows, but none seem more strange this year than Tommy Tuberville and Cincinnati.
News broke Saturday morning of Tubs leaving Texas Tech to coach the Bearcats, catching the college football world off guard. Chris Level of RedRaiderSports.com reported that the move caught Tech off-guard and that few around the program had even an inkling that he had been talking with UC until the announcement was made around noon.
While the destination may be surprising, Tuberville making a move this offseason should come as no shock. His name had come up in connection with the Arkansas opening in the last month, and he had been under consideration at Miami last year prior to the hiring of Al Golden. Tubs generally appears to march to his own beat, and he always came off as uncomfortable in Lubbock.
The idea that he'd trade a Big 12 job for the uncertain future of a program in the Big East should give a good indication of just how itchy his feet really were. Given the incident with an assistant on the sidelines this season and his team's slide down the stretch, Tubs may have simply decided to get out before he got got.
Despite his middling success with the Red Raiders, Cincy probably looks at the hiring as a major coup. Not only did the Bearcats wrest away a coach from a Big 12 school, they got one with an undefeated season on his resume and a solid track record in the SEC. Tubs certainly has more skills on the wall than predecessors Brian Kelly and Butch Jones did when they arrived in the Queen City, and those guys seem to have done alright.
For Tech, Tubs going rogue just adds to the state of chaos that has been life the last few years in Tech's athletic department. Between lightning rod Bob Knight, his son Pat's mediocre stretch as head coach and the disastrous one-year Billy Gillespie era, the men's basketball team is a train wreck. Meanwhile, Tech has faced legal action after axing previous football coach Mike Leach under controversial circumstances.
The good news for Tech is that there should be a number of promising candidates interested in the opening. Candidates mentioned by FootballScoop.com: Baylor coach Art Briles, current Tech defensive coordinator Art Kaufman, Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury and Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Level is indicated that Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt will make Briles turned the job down, and he likely will. Given his history with Leach and the roll he is on at A&M, Kingsbury may pass, too.
As mentioned by Tulsa World columnist John Hoover, one name to keep an eye on is Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. The former Oklahoma assistant knows Hocutt well from the A.D.'s previous stops at Kansas State and Oklahoma. Venables has the Big 12 pedigree as a longtime lieutenant of Bob Stoops and extensive experience recruiting in Texas.
No matter who gets the job, Tuberville's departure may seem stunning now, but all involved could look back in a few years and realize it was for the best.