Second Chances: Tuberville or Franchione?

Sporting News columnists Matt Hayes and Dave Curtis explored the idea that certain coaches deserve second chances. Hayes argued former Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Dennis Franchione was worthy of a second chance. Curtis argued former Auburn Tiger coach Tommy Tuberville was worth another shot.

Hayes covers Franchione’s mistakes at A&M with the VIP newsletter, but concludes Franchione hasn’t done anything that would necessitate a long stay in the coaching wilderness.

Curtis defends Tuberville’s tenure on the Plains, but understands how the Tony Franklin fiasco doomed the coach. Curtis is blunt on Tuberville’s forced exodus from Auburn, “Of the 18 Division I-A coaches forced out in 2008, Tubs proved least deserving of unemployment. His teams won, his kids behaved (at least by SEC standards) and, between his openness with the media and his stint on the sport’s rules committee, emerged as one of the faces of college football.”

He is right. While there were reasons for Auburn to fire Tuberville, there were more reasons to keep him. Hindsight might be 20/20 (or 50/50 in Pat Dye’s case), but there is no way to say Auburn is better off today than it was under Tuberville. Isn’t that the way you judge a coaching change?

Alabama gained when it fired Mike Dubose. Alabama gained when it fired Mike Shula.

It is impossible to say Auburn upgraded when it fired Tuberville and hired Gene Chizik. Auburn regressed.

But as for second chances, both Tuberville and Franchione have drawbacks. Franchione is not ready for prime time. He is best suited for a program like Vanderbilt or Kentucky—programs where the spotlight does not shine so brightly. Tuberville needs an environment where he feels challenged and engaged. His biggest problem was complacency. He had achieved so much in his mind he had nothing else to prove.
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