The writing appeared to be on the wall as the 2016 season continued to play out, but the end of the Tommy Tuberville era in Cincinnati appears to have been reached.
As reported by Football Scoop this morning, Tuberville has decided to step down as head coach of the program. USA Today has also reported this decision. The resignation comes at the end of a disappointing 4-8 season for the Bearcats, who once again fell well shy of a division championship in the American Athletic Conference. What is unknown at this time is how much of Tuberville’s buyout will be paid, as the date for a drop in his buyout terms was scheduled for later this week, dropping the buyout terms from $2.4 million to $1.5 million.
We also do not know if this is the end of Tuberville as a head coach. Perhaps a change of scenery would benefit Tuberville? Who knows. But the Cincinnati job now coming on the market puts an interesting job on the list of vacancies. Like Houston, the Cincinnati job appears to be one of the more attractive Group of Five jobs given what the university has invested in the program in recent years and has planned going forward. The Cincinnati program should be in a situation to compete annually for an AAC championship, despite what the past two years have shown. Early names floating around as potential names of interest include Western Michigan’s PJ Fleck (and yes, this would be a step up despite leaving Group of Five job for another) and Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm. Either would be fine additions for Cincinnati, but where Cincinnati falls in the pecking order with other suitors looking for a head coach is in question. The Cincinnati job may not quite be the Houston job, but is it better than Purdue? Baylor?
Every coach thinks differently about coaching jobs, so well wait to see where Cincinnati goes from here and what names are attracted to the job.
The 2016 season has been a frustrating one for Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville. After losing at home against BYU this weekend, Tuberville let his emotions get the best of him when he made the unfortunate decision to lash out a fan who was hurling insults in his direction as the coach walked off the field.
“Hey, go to Hell,” Tuberville yelled. “Get a job. Get a job!”
It wasn’t a great look, but Tuberville took time on Monday to make sure he addressed it with an apology before turning the page to move on to what’s next for the Bearcats.
“I don’t like losing any more than our fans, donors, players and supporters,” Tuberville said in a statement released via Twitter. “Emotions can get the best of us. I had a regrettable outburst at a moment of great frustration. I apologize for that and we will fix it.”
Cincinnati AD Mike Bohn also released a statement about the incident on Sunday, claiming Tuberville was in a no-win situation.
Cincinnati is 4-5 and just 1-4 in the AAC this season, putting the program at risk of missing the postseason bowl fun for the first time since 2010.
When Cincinnati faces Tulane Friday night, it could do so with quarterback Gunner Kiel back on the field to lead the offense. Kiel is probable for this week’s American Athletic Conference contest after having his ribs bruised in Cincinnati’s last game against USF.
“If Gunner is ready to go, and I’m pretty sure he is going to be, he is our quarterback,” Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville said Tuesday, per Cincinnati.com. “He is the guy that earned the starting spot.”
Kiel was forced to sit out the second half against USF last week. Fortunately for Cincinnati, Munchie Legaux proved to be more than capable of stepping in to lead the offense. This should come as no surprise, of course, as Legaux was Cincinnati’s starting quarterback last season before injuring his leg. Legaux has been a terrific teammate as he saw his starting job be handed to Kiel, and Tuberville should feel as confident as any coach in the country if he needs to use his back-up quarterback.
Tuberville said Legaux is expected to see some playing time as well. Legaux is a native of New Orleans, so a chance to play in front of his home town will be a nice reward for his leadership role on the team. He is expecting a nice cheering section to come to the game as well.
“Probably half the city,” Legaux said. “I have a lot of relatives who have been calling, texting me, asking me, ‘Can I get tickets for the game?’ ”
Cincinnati plays at Tulane on Friday at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
For the second time in a year the Cincinnati football program is mourning the loss of one of their own. Freshman running back Chamoda Kennedy-Palmore has been identified by police as the victim of a motorcycle accident. According to reports, Kennedy-Palmore was struck by another vehicle while riding his motorcycle.
Kennedy-Palmore walked on to the Bearcats team last year and had never seen a down on the field. There is not much more information to go on right now related to the accident, but reports say he was wearing a helmet and proper equipment when hit. The timing of it all is somewhat notable as well. It was just about a year ago to the day Cincinnati offensive lineman Ben Flick was killed in a car accident. Two other Cincinnati players, wide receivers Mark Barr and Javon Harrison were injured in the wreck as well.
Cincinnati is preparing to play on the road at Ohio State this weekend. The tragic loss of a teammate will no doubt bring a somber tone to a game figuring to have significant in-state bragging rights on the line. The game also carries some important weight in Cincinnati’s Group of Five race to a New Years bowl game. All of that will take a back seat as the team deals with this loss. Knowing Ohio State’s history and reputation, the Buckeyes will go all out in showing support for Cincinnati’s loss when the two teams take the field on Saturday night.
UPDATE (6:25 p.m. ET): Cincinnati has released a formal statement regarding the death of Kennedy-Palmore. You can read the full release here, but here is a statement released by head coach Tommy Tuberveille;
“Our football program and University has suffered another great tragedy,” Head Coach Tommy Tuberville said. “I’m a father first and a coach second and it’s always hard to put your thoughts into words during times like these. Chamoda was a talented non-scholarship player and a key member of our scout teams. He worked hard and earned his spot on the roster. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Cincinnati finally gets tits 2014 season started this week with a Friday night contest at Paul Brown Stadium against Toledo. On Tuesday Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville named Gunner Kiel his starting quarterback for the game, but expect multiple quarterbacks to get a chance to play in the season opener for the American Athletic Conference preseason favorites.
It had been half-expected Kiel would be the starter under center for the Bearcats this season, with the Notre Dame transfer embracing the opportunity to lead the offense over the summer. Kiel supplants last year’s starter, Munchie Legaux, and beats out junior Jarred Evans for the job. If all goes to plan, Tuberville will find snaps for all three players Friday night, but it appears as though Kiel has become the guy to lead the offense on the regular basis until he loses the job.
Legaux had his 2013 season end prematurely with a horrific knee injury early in the season. He has been working to get back to full speed, but even if he was at 100 percent it is possible Kiel would have won the starting assignment anyway. Kiel put on a bit of a show in Cincinnati’s spring game, passing for 300 yards and making his case for the starting job. Kiel has three years of eligibility remaining after transferring from Notre Dame, which means he will have plenty of time for the offense to be built around him moving forward.
The NCAA granted Legaux an extra year of eligibility, and Tuberville would be wise to find ways to utilize his athleticism in the offense.
Cincinnati is playing home games in Paul Brown Stadium this season while their home stadium is undergoing renovations. Cincinnati and Toledo are scheduled to play at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night on ESPNU.