College Football’s 2004 Coach of the Year and two-time SEC Coach of the Year, Tommy Tuberville is most often recognized for his success on the field. But it is the legacy of his father, a highly decorated WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, that motivates Coach Tuberville to give back to the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
Tommy Tuberville began his football career playing for Harmony Grove High School, near his native Camden, Arkansas. He went on to attend Southern Arkansas University, where he was a letterman at free safety for the Muleriders. Tuberville also played two years on SAU’s golf team.
After graduating from SAU, Coach Tuberville remained in the region, taking his first coaching job at Hermitage High School. After two years as an assistant and two as head coach at Hermitage High School, Tuberville spent 1980-1984 as an assistant coach at Arkansas State University.
In 1986, Coach Tuberville started a long and successful tenure at the University of Miami. Beginning as a graduate assistant, he went on to become the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator in 1993. By the time he left Coral Gables, Coach Tuberville would see the Hurricanes win three AP national championships, solidifying their place as one of the most storied programs in college football history. Tuberville spent the 1994 season in College Station, Texas, as Coach R.C. Slocum’s defensive coordinator and finished with a 10-0-1 record.
In 1995, Tuberville became head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels. Coach Tuberville’s four seasons at Ole Miss were marked by continual improvement, and in 1997 he was named the AP’s SEC Coach of the Year.
Following the 1998 regular season, Coach Tuberville was announced as the next head coach of the Auburn Tigers. Tuberville’s time at Auburn was a success by any measure, as the Tigers captured eight consecutive bowl appearances, including five New Year’s Day bowl appearances, five SEC Western Division titles, one SEC Championship, and a 13-0 season in 2004, after which Coach Tuberville was once again named the AP’s SEC Coach of the Year. For his efforts during the perfect 2004 season, Tuberville would be named Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year, Associated Press Coach of the Year, Walter Camp Coach of the Year, and AFCA Coach of the Year, among others.
In 2008, Coach Tuberville was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame as part of the organization’s 50th anniversary class.