CINCINNATI -- You’ve got to fire him.
You don’t fire Tommy Tuberville for the failures on the field, though those have been many. The University of Cincinnati should not be getting hammered 34-13 at Temple or losing 20-3 to BYU at home.
But I don’t fire the guy for the on-field struggles. UC is in the AAC, not the SEC.
But Tuberville calling out a fan -- telling him to “go to hell” and “get a job” -- is going too far. You can forgive a successful coach for something like that, but Tuberville hasn’t produced at UC.
I’ll admit that I thought he was a great hire. His resume is impressive. He had the No. 1 team in the country at Auburn. He came up through the ranks of big-time college football.
He wanted to come to UC. You got the feeling that when he arrived, he was going to finish his career at UC. After the coaching carousel -- Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, Butch Jones -- stability seemed like a good thing.
Tuberville was that.
I’ve talked to him a few times. He’s a sheer delight. But you get the sense that’s he’s not going to put the time in like Dantonio, Kelly and Jones did. Coaching college football is a young man’s game in a lot of ways. You’ve got to put in 18-hour days. Tuberville has earned the right not to do that.
But that doesn’t work at UC. Dantonio, Kelly and Jones were chasing the next job and they got it. Michigan State, Notre Dame and Tennessee are about as good as it gets in college football.
I think UC needs someone who aspires to a job like that -- not someone who is closing out his career. It’s a shame, because Tuberville is a good guy.
The fact that he snapped a little bit when walking off the field Saturday is understandable. But it’s also unforgivable when you’re 4-5, and every fan in red and black is wondering why Gunner Kiel wasn’t the quarterback from day 1.
It’s hard to say what will happen. UC doesn’t have a permanent president right now. I’m guessing that one of the first things on the new president’s agenda will be what to do with the football coach.
UC’s spent a lot of money rebuilding Nippert Stadium. I’d guess that the fan Tuberville called out was not a big contributor. But he was someone loyal enough to buy a ticket. You’ve got to show respect for fans.
Tuberville went too far.
John Fay is a freelance sports columnist; this column represents his opinion. Contact him at email@example.com.