Veteran college football coach Tommy Tuberville will run for the United States Senate in Alabama as a Republican, sources tell CBS Sports.
The longtime Auburn coach had considered running for governor in 2017. Instead, he will begin his political career pursuing the senate seat currently held by Democrat Doug Jones. The Republican primary for the seat is March 3, 2020. If Tuberville makes it through, the general election is Nov. 3, 2020.
Jones won the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions in 2017 when Sessions became U.S. Attorney General. In a bitter, contentious special election campaign, Jones finally beat Roy Moore by half a percentage point.
Former Donald Trump press secretary Sean Spicer is working on Tuberville’s campaign.
Tuberville, 64, won 159 games in a 21-year head-coaching career at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. Throughout his time on the sidelines, he was known for his easy-going style.
Tuberville’s 2004 Auburn team won the SEC, finishing 13-0. Despite being undefeated, the Tigers were left out of the BCS Championship Game that year. They were beaten out for the game by USC and Oklahoma, both 12-0, who played for the BCS title in the Orange Bowl.
In what was perhaps a foreshadowing of his political ambitions, Tuberville worked the press box the night of the Orange Bowl seeking votes from Associated Press media voters to at least gain a share of a national championship. The winner of that game automatically became BCS champion. Then, as now, the AP Top 25 remained independent, and voters could have selected Auburn No. 1.
The fact that an undefeated SEC champion couldn’t play for the national championship riled Auburn and SEC fans as well as BCS critics. The result prompted the first serious discussion toward expanding to a four-team playoff.
Tuberville was most successful at Auburn, where he went 85-40 in 10 seasons. The Camden, Arkansas, resident won three national championships as a defensive assistant at Miami. As a head coach, he was national coach of the year (2004) and won two conference titles (SEC, AAC) as well as at least a share of five SEC West Division titles.