Tommy Tuberville has decided to run for the governor of Alabama, a decision that makes sense given his charming ways and experience living in the public eye.
Tommy Tuberville becoming a politician and deciding to run for governor of the state of Alabama makes sense, and here is why: one-on-one, when he is talking to you in that Arkansas drawl and he’s looking directly at you, you find yourself in the palm of his hand. He could sell you on anything.
At least that has been the case in the numerous occasions I have met him. The slicked-back silver hair and tailored suits on his lanky frame reminded me not of a football coach, but a longtime district attorney or lobbyist. He is the Jack McCoy of the college football world.
Much like the politics of America, Tuberville has seen – and been – on the shady side of dealings during his coaching career. No head coaching position comes completely devoid of controversy.
No Ole Miss fan will ever meet him without bringing up a pine box, and his name will forever be attached to Bobby Petrino’s as rogue Auburn boosters – and some athletic department members – stabbed Tuberville in the back with a knife so large some thought he would never recover. A 13-0 season following the Petrino tryst, along with the resignation of longtime Tigers athletic director David Housel, made Tuberville seem invincible to wounds.
Texas Tech fans will remember him as a lying weasel who left a dinner table with Red Raiders recruits crowded around it to take the Cincinnati job. He would never return to that table.
Think politics are dirty? You couldn’t imagine what goes on behind the scenes when a 5-star linebacker is up for recruitment by major SEC programs. Tuberville has been part of those wars, so earning the trust of congressman and senators while dealing in backrooms and under the table should present no new challenge.
Of course, there is one small voting demographic that will be the most difficult to get behind the “Vote for Tuberville” campaign: Alabama fans.
Sure, Nick Saban has brought so much success to the Crimson Tide since he arrived in 2008 that it seems longer than a decade ago that Tuberville was walking off the field of Jordan-Hare Stadium holding up six fingers: one for each year in a row the Tigers claimed victory in the Iron Bowl. There might be a good reason an elephant represents the Alabama fan base, because they rarely forget.
Those Tide fans are most likely as sick as everyone else in the Yellowhammer State with the current government, led by Governor Robert Bentley, being more corrupt than 1920s Chicago. If Tuberville, who is genuine enough and seems like he is doing this for all the right reasons, can get the tide rolling his way, this could become interesting.
He’s a natural and, with his own experience recruiting not just football players but their entire families, will know exactly what to say and when to say it. In the world of college football, where he spent 30-plus years working, he was already a politician disguised as a coach.
It is a long road ahead, but knowing the determination and depth of his charm, I wouldn’t bet against Tuberville winning.