The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 10, 2012

Tuberville’s challenge: Attract Cincinnati fans

(Continued)

CINCINNATI —

“But if it gives Cincinnati more visibility — a rising tide raises all the boats.”

Tuberville wasn’t turned off by Cincinnati’s conference instability, insisting a winning program is attractive to any conference. There are suggestions that the NCAA will eventually wind up with super conferences.

“Things will change and they’re going to change every day for the next few years, and everybody knows where it’s headed,” Tuberville said.

He went 20-17 in three seasons at Texas Tech, where attendance increased after he was hired. The school sold 46,565 season tickets for his first year, a school record. Babcock hopes that Cincinnati, which drew only 21,171 fans for the final home game this season, will see a jump in attendance as well.

Babcock was encouraged that approximately 1,000 fans showed up at UC’s basketball arena for a pep rally welcoming Tuberville on Saturday night, chanting “Tommy T” when he was introduced.

“I hope it energizes the fan base,” Babcock said. “He’s a great promoter, one of the most laid-back CEO-type of leaders I’ve ever seen. But he can be fiery, too. I like it. Time will tell.”

As for how long he’ll stick around ...

The last three coaches all left after three seasons, moving onto to bigger programs and bigger paychecks. Tuberville left Texas Tech after three seasons, one day after telling athletics director Kirby Hocutt that he was committed to staying with the Red Raiders.

The cycle of having a coach leave as soon as he’s had a few successful seasons has stamped Cincinnati as a career launching point, a place to build a reputation before moving on to something better.

Babcock is hoping that with Tuberville, that can change.

When Babcock called Tuberville — an acquaintance from their days at Auburn and his first choice to replace Jones — he got a good feeling about longevity right away.

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