Tommy Tuberville ATLANTA – DECEMBER 31: Head coach Tommy Tuberville of the Auburn University Tigers reacts to a play against the Clemson Univeristy Tigers during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on December 31, 2007 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Auburn defeated Clemson 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Before he became a United States Senator from Alabama, college football fans remember Tommy Tuberville as the head football coach of the Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels, and Cincinnati Bearcats.

In Nick Saban‘s first year as head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Tuberville was still the head coach of Auburn, leading the Tigers to victory. By the following year, Alabama had won their first SEC West title and defeated Auburn 36-0, ending a six-game Iron Bowl win streak as well as the Tuberville era at Auburn.

Now, Tuberville says that he was the reason Alabama landed Saban in the first place. He also thinks that Alabama fans should vote for him as a way to say thanks for that.

“I told them, ‘First of all, you wouldn’t have Nick Saban, because I got the rest of them fired,’” he said. “When Nick came in, he changed the, I guess, the atmosphere in what Alabama had their possibilities of doing. He was the best guy for the job.”

It’s a bit of a back-handed compliment and Alabama fans probably see right through that. To be fair, Tuberville did offer a lot of praise for his former rival.

“You can’t say enough of about what he’s done and meant to football over the last 25 years, and what he’s brought to college football, in terms of notoriety, more television sets watching college football,” Tuberville said. “He’ll be missed.”

Tuberville also added that he knew Saban was about to retire because of NIL.

“I kinda saw it coming,” Tuberville said. “He never mentioned it, but he and I have been working on an NIL bill, along with a lot of other coaches, ADs, for the last couple of years. And he just got tired of it. It wasn’t just NIL. I think he got to a point where, you know, he wanted to do maybe something else. He had accomplished so much. And I hate to see him go from college sports. I think he will stay active in some way, I don’t know what it is. The success he had…it will never be duplicated, in our lifetime, anyway.”

Ironically, Alabama Democrats have made overtures that they’d want to put up Savan to run against Tuberville in the next Senate election. Although Saban has never disclosed his political affiliation, he is known to be a good friend of soon-to-be former West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) and has contributed to his campaign over the years.

Given his age and lack of political interest, it’s unlikely Saban will run for office. However, it doesn’t hurt that Saban has supported many Democratic issues, such as Black Lives Matter. Saban participated in a march with his players and did a video supporting Black Lives Matter after the murder of George Floyd.

While some Alabama fans were upset by this, most supported Saban and his players. So, while he may not run for public office, don’t be surprised if you see the former Crimson Tide head coach backing another Democratic candidate in the future, which would not be good news for Tuberville.


About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.