If ever there was a non-politician poised to follow Donald Trump’s path to an executive office, it was Tommy Tuberville, who went an incredible 5-2 against Top 5 teams during his football coaching career.
Now he is not planning to run, adding to the problem with politics today, that many of the people who would be the best elected officials choose not to run.
A month after Trump was elected president, Tuberville resigned as football coach of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and moved back to the site of many of his greatest victories in Auburn, Alabama, where he was viewed as a potential gubernatorial candidate.
Tuberville praised Trump and his potential to bring crucial manufacturing jobs back to his home state and the rest of the country, and felt at ease in an interview with Breitbart about an outsiders “get the job done” approach he would take as a candidate for governor.
When I asked jokingly why any football fan of Alabama, which he defeated six times in a row, should vote for him, he showed Trump’s same focus on improving lives.
“Because unlike football this is not a game, it is about real life,” Tuberville said. “People have pretty much the same concerns wherever I’ve coached – Texas, Florida, Ohio or back home in Alabama, and I am going on a listening tour to hear what farmers, industry and people who rely on ports believe will help in their lives. We cannot afford the status quo.”
He also listened to the conservative solutions for campaign finance reform proposed at www.takeback.org, such as allowing people to keep the first $200 they were going to give the IRS and instead giving it to the candidates of their choice, and stopping the hundreds of millions of dollars in unverified credit card contributions flooding the political system to counter the “political-industrial complex” we fear is keeping career politicians from serving the people.
“President Obama’s overreach was a problem,” Tuberville said. “President Trump is working to give authority back to the states, and he will need to make some tough decisions. One thing I did learn in football that is relevant to governing is that organization is the key to victory.”
Tuberville won many of his biggest games at Auburn, which the Princeton Review states has the most conservative student body of any public university in America. When asked about the unique role a coach plays in getting to know youth on the recruiting trail and as part of the team, Tuberville talked about wearing many hats before considering politics.
“As a coach dealing with young people, you need to be a psychiatrist, father or babysitter at different times,” Tuberville said. “But you learn most kids really do want to figure out how to be successful, and athletics or the military can be part of that.”
Tuberville went straight into coaching, but he came from a military family and was eager to take his players overseas to see the military, to show them the real life and death choices made by other students their same age.
After his listening tour of the state, Tuberville reached a conclusion – he would not run for office.
Despite his interest in government, despite his focus on improving lives, the coach who won five of his last six bowl games at Auburn — including capping a 13-0 year in 2004 — decided not to run.
After our interview, Governor Robert Bentley resigned amid a sex scandal, and Lt. Governor Kay Ivey became governor. Tuberville believes Ivey is a great governor, and with her at the helm he no longer felt the need to run himself – so he won’t.
That’s the problem with politics today — too many of the people who would be the best elected officials choose not to run.