Thomas Hawley Tuberville (born September 18, 1954 in Camden, Arkansas) is a United States Senator-elect and a former college football coach. He led the Auburn Tigers football team for 10 seasons, from 1999 to 2008.
Tuberville was the 2004 recipient of the Walter Camp and Bear Bryant Coach of the Year awards for Auburn's 13–0 perfect season. He earned his 100th career win on October 6, 2007 in a 35–7 victory over Vanderbilt. He is also the only coach in Auburn history to beat in-state rival University of Alabama six consecutive times. His 2008 team posted a 5–7 record including the worst loss to Alabama (36–0) in 46 years.
Early life and coaching career
Tuberville is the son of Charles R. Tuberville Jr and the former Olive Nell Chamblss. He grew up with two siblings in Camden, Arkansas and graduated from Harmony Grove High School in 1972. He was a letterman for the Southern Arkansas University Muleriders and also playedon the golf team. He completed a bachelor of science in physical education in 1976.
That fall, Tuberville began his coaching career at Hermitage High School in Hermitage, Arkansas and was promoted to head coach in his second season. In 1980 he was hired as an assistant on the staff at Arkansas State University. He then went through the ranks at the University of Miami, beginning as graduate assistant and ending as defensive coordinator in 1993. The Hurricanes won three national championships during his time there. In 1994, Tuberville replaced Bob Davie as defensive coordinator under R. C. Slocum at Texas A&M University. The Aggies went 10–0–1 that season.
Tuberville got his first collegiate head coaching job at the University of Mississippi. He took over a Rebel team under severe NCAA scholarship sanctions and was named the AP SEC Coach of the Year in 1997. During his tenure, he acquired the nickname "The Riverboat Gambler" for his aggressive play calling, particularly on 4th down.
He left Ole Miss following the 1998 regular season to take the head coaching job at Auburn University. During his tenure at Auburn, Tuberville has guided the Tigers to the top of the SEC standings, leading the Tigers to an SEC Championship and the Western Division title in 2004. Under his direction, the Tigers made eight consecutive bowl appearances including five New Year's Day bowl berths.
The Auburn Tigers were a perfect 13–0 in 2004 including the SEC title and a win over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Coach Tuberville received Coach of the Year awards from the AP, the American Football Coaches Association, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.
In 2005, despite losing the entire starting backfield from the unbeaten 2004 team to the first round of the NFL draft, Coach Tuberville led Auburn to a 9–3 record, finishing the regular season with victories over rivals Georgia and Alabama.
Under Tuberville, Auburn has a winning record against its biggest rival,Alabama (7–3), and is tied with its next two most significant rivals,Georgia (5–5) and LSU (5–5). He led Auburn to 6 straight victories over in-state rival Alabama, the longest win streak in this rivalry since 1982, which was the year Auburn broke Alabama's 9 year streak.
Tuberville also established himself as one of the best big game coaches in college football, winning 9 of their last 15 games against Top 10 opponents (since the start of the 2004 season). In 2006, his Tigers recorded victories over two Top 5 teams who later played in BCS bowls, including eventual BCS Champion Florida. Tuberville has a 5-2 career record versus Top 5 teams, including 3 wins versus Florida. However, Tuberville also developed a reputation for losing games where he clearly had the better team. Examples include a humbling 24-point loss to a then 5-win Alabama team in 2001, and back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt (first time Auburn had lost to Vandy in over five decades) and Arkansas in 2008. In fact, after dropping 3 straight SEC games in 2003, Auburn booster Bobby Lowder, along with Auburn's President Walker and Athletic Director Housel, contacted then Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino to gauge his interest in taking the Auburn job, if Tuberville was fired. The press found out about the meeting, which occurred just prior to the 2003 Alabama game, and the episode has since been referred to as 'JetGate'.
Tuberville has coached 19 players who were selected in the NFL draft, including four first round picks in 2004, with several others signing as free agents. He has coached 8 All-Americans and a Thorpe Award winner (Carlos Rogers). Thirty-four players under Tuberville have been named to All-SEC (First Team). Eighteen players have been named All-SEC freshman. His players have been named SEC player of the week 46 times. He has also had 2 SEC players of the year and one SEC Championship game MVP.
Tuberville fired Tony Franklin as the offensive coordinator of Auburn on October 8, 2008. After the 2008 season, with a 5-7 record highlighted by losses to Vanderbilt, West Virginia, and a final 36-0 loss to Alabama, he resigned from Auburn.
On January 10, 2010, Tuberville was named head coach of the Texas Tech University Red Raiders, succeeding Mike Leach. Over three seasons he compiled a 20–17 record, winning 9 of 17 Big 12 conference games. He resigned at the end of the 2012 regualar season to accept an offer from the University of Cincinnati.
Tuberville's first two Cincinnati teams both claimed nine wins and went to bowl games, but the team's record declined over the next two years In 2015 he served a one-year term as the president of the American Football Coaches Association.
Head coaching record (159-99)
- Ole Miss Rebels (25-20)
- 1995: 6-5
- 1996: 5-6
- 1997: 8-4 (won Motor City Bowl, finished ranked #22 in AP & Coaches Polls)
- 1998: 6-5
- Auburn Tigers (85-40)
- 1999: 5-6
- 2000: 9-4 (won SEC West title, lost SEC Championship, lost in Citrus Bowl, finished ranked #18 in AP & #20 in Coaches Poll)
- 2001: 7-5 (lost in Peach Bowl)
- 2002: 9-4 (won Capital One Bowl, finished ranked #14 in AP & #16 in Coaches Poll)
- 2003: 8-5 (won Music City Bowl)
- 2004: 13-0 (won SEC West title, won SEC Championship, won Sugar Bowl, finished ranked #2 in AP & Coaches Polls)
- 2005: 9-3 (lost in Capital One Bowl, finished ranked #14 in AP & Coaches Polls)
- 2006: 11-2 (won Cotton Bowl, finished ranked #9 in AP & #8 in Coaches Poll)
- 2007: 9-4 (won Chick-fil-A Bowl, finished ranked #15 in AP & #14 in Coaches Poll)
- 2008: 5-7
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (20-17)
- 2010: 8–5 (won Ticket City Bowl)
- 2011: 5-7
- 2012: 7-5 (resigned before the team won the Meineke Car Care Bowl)
- Cincinnati Bearcats (20-22)
- 2013: 9-4 (lost the Belk Bowl)
- 2014: 9-4 (lost the Military Bowl)
- 2015: 7-6 (lost the Hawaii Bowl)
- 2016: 4-8
Personal and community
Tuberville married the former Suzanne Fette of Guilford, Indiana in 1991. They are the parents of two sons, Tucker and Troy. Tuberville purchased two condominiums in Panama City Beach, Florida in 2017. In 2012 the couple sold their home in Auburn and purchased a $750,000 house in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. He sold his house in Wolfforth, Texas two years later. In 2017 he bought another Auburn residence. After leaving the University of Cincinnati he and Suzanne used their Florida home as his primary residence, claiming a homestead exemption in 2018 and voting from there in that year's election. That same year they purchased a lake house and 90-acre property, dubbed Tiger Farms on Lake Martin on the Macon / Tallapoosa County line. He sold that property for $1.1 million in July 2023.
Tuberville is an active member of the Auburn Church of Christ and contributes time and resources to other organizations within the Auburn community including Storybook Farm, an equestrian-based program offering free therapeutic care to children with debilitating illnesses and those suffering from bereavement. Additionally, he hosts charity golf tournaments for Camp ASCAA, the Girls and Boys Club of Montgomery, the Auburn University Marching Band, and the Alabama Sheriff's Youth Ranch.
After leaving coaching, Tuberville was hired by ESPN as a color analyst for their college football coverage. Tuberville co-managed a hedge fund with Auburn-based commodities trader John David Stroud. Stroud pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and was sentenced to 10 years in jail. A lawsuit related to the fraud named Tuberville as a co-defendant. That portion of the suit was settled in October 2013.
In 2019 Tuberville launched a campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Doug Jones. He defeated former Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary. During the campaign he expressed support for President Donald Trump at public events. He declined to participate in debates, town halls and most news interviews. At campaign events he repeated a pledge to donate his salary to Alabama veterans. Tuberville won the seat in the 2020 general election.
In July 2021 Tuberville reported in a late filing that he had traded more than $1 million in securities during his five months in office, and in several cases had bought or sold shares in companies which have business before committees on which he serves. Among the stocks he sold was an investment of between $1,000 and $5,000 in the Chinese company Alibaba. He claimed that he instructed his financial advisors to sell the shares. His filing for 2021 showed that he and his wife had purchased between $115,000 and $250,000 in Alibaba stock in December. In August 2023 he disclosed more than $250,000 in futures trades involving wheat, corn, soy and cattle, all of which are influenced by the work of the Senate Committee for Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on which he sits.
Tuberville has led efforts to oppose administrative changes to Title IX that would seek to protect transgender athletes from discrimination. He has voiced his opposition to proposed rule changes to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and led efforts in the Senate to pass a "Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act" which would define "gender" as being "based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth."
As a senator Tuberville has frequently made false allegations about the Biden administration's border and immigration policies. In February 2023, after the Department of Defense issued a policy to provide paid leave and reimbursement of travel expenses for service members to be able to access abortion care, Tuberville followed through on a promise to place a hold on all high-level appointments in the department. By April he had blocked hundreds of promotions and appointments and earning harsh criticism from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer, and other Senators. Eric Smith, nominated to succeed David Berger as Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, assumed the office in an "acting" role in July due to Tuberville's hold.
In May 2023 Tuberville made several controversial statements such as endorsing white nationalists in the U.S. military, calling for an end to elections, claiming that Donald Trump being found liable for sexual assault made him want to "vote for him twice," and suggesting that most "inner city" school teachers are illiterate. In a July interview with Kaitlan Collins on CNN's "The Source," he struggled to clarify his views. After another wave of criticism he clarified the next day that he does believe that white nationalists are racist and that he opposes racism in the military.
A July 2023 Washington Post investigation found no evidence that Tuberville had upheld his campaign pledge to donate his salary to Alabama veterans, either directly or through his non-profit Tommy Tuberville Foundation. In October, during an interview for Newsmax, he blamed "the Democrats and Joe Biden" for "creating" wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, adding that "They've screwed up everything up all over the world since they’ve been in."
Bill Oliver (interim)
|Auburn University Head Football Coach
|U.S. Senator from Alabama
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- Whitmire, Kyle (October 14, 2020) "What did Tommy Tuberville know? When do we get to know it?" The Birmingham News
- Archibald, Ramsey (November 1, 2020) "Tommy Tuberville: ‘I do believe God sent us, and elected, Donald Trump’." The Birmingham News
- Stacy, Todd (November 12, 2020) "In the Weeds w/ Tommy Tuberville, Alabama’s next senator" Alabama Daily News
- Whitmire, Kyle (January 27, 2021) "What have you done now, Tommy Tuberville?" The Birmingham News
- Koplowitz, Howard (January 30, 2021) "Despite slamming China, Tuberville invested in company that developed its propaganda." The Birmingham News
- Everson, Zach (July 27, 2021) "Tommy Tuberville Files Late Stock Disclosure, Reports More Than $1 Million In Trades" Forbes
- Koplowitz, Howard (January 14, 2022) "Tuberville vowed to dump Chinese stock, then bought more." The Birmingham News
- Thornton, William (July 14, 2022) "‘We’re being invaded’ by migrants, Tuberville says; Flight claims contradicted by Alabama airports." The Birmingham News
- Griesbach, Rebecca (March 1, 2023) "Tuberville again pushes bill to block transgender athletes from women’s sports." AL.com / Dothan Eagle
- Woodall, Candy (April 25, 2023) "GOP Sen. Tuberville blocked 184 military promotions in his ongoing abortion fight with the Pentagon" USA Today
- Banks, Richard (May 8, 2023) "Tuberville defends hold on defense nominations, says Pentagon wrong to screen out white nationalists" WBHM.org
- Sharp, John (March 10, 2020) "‘Florida man’? Or Alabama’s next senator? Tuberville’s residency roils campaign" The Birmingham News
- Koplowitz, Howard (May 9, 2023) "Tuberville says Trump liable verdict in E. Jean Carroll case ‘makes me want to vote for him twice’." AL.com
- Thornton, William (May 26, 2023) "Tuberville on inner city teachers: ‘I don’t know whether they can read and write’." AL.com
- Koplowitz, Howard (July 10, 2023) "Tuberville responds to Kaitlan Collins on white nationalists being racist: ‘That’s your opinion’." AL.com
- Kulo, Warren (July 12, 2023) "Tuberville on white nationalist remarks: ‘I didn’t explain it well’." AL.com
- Kessler, Gleen (July 19, 2023) "Tommy Tuberville pledged to ‘donate every dime’ to veterans. He hasn’t." The Washington Post
- Kessler, Glenn (August 10, 2023) "Tommy Tuberville: Florida’s third senator?" The Washington Post
- Kulo, Warren (October 28, 2023) "Tuberville says Democrats ‘created’ wars in Ukraine, Middle East." AL.com
- Thornton, William (November 20, 2023) "Elon Musk blasts Tesla short sellers after Tuberville stock disclosure: ‘Gluttons for punishment’." AL.com