When the phone rang early on Saturday morning at the home of Irvin and Eva Fette on Turtle Creek Road, Eva Fette wasn’t sure what to think when she heard her son-in-law’s voice on the other end of the line.
“We knew nothing about it,” Eva Fette laughed. “You know, you aren’t supposed to talk. Saturday morning Tommy called me and he said, ‘Eva, I’ve got some news.’ I thought ‘Oh my gosh, what has happened?’ He said, ‘I’m UC’s new football coach.'”
Eva Fette said that the family had hoped that Tommy Tuberville would get the head coaching position at the University of Tennessee so that the family would be closer – but the Cincinnati job was even better.
Tommy Tuberville, the Fettes son-in-law, accepted the position as head football coach at the University of Cincinnati late on Friday night, and when he was officially introduced to an excited fan base on Saturday, the Fette family got a little closer geographically.
Tommy Tuberville is married to the Fettes daughter, Suzanne, and the couple has two sons: Tucker, a freshman at Texas Tech University and a member of the football team there; and Troy, who is a sophomore in high school and is looking forward to going to school with his cousins in Lawrenceburg once the family gets settled.
According to ‘Wikipedia’, Tommy and Suzanne Tuberville met in 1989 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tommy, on the defensive staff for the University of Miami, was in town as the Hurricanes were preparing to play in the Sugar Bowl.
Suzanne Fette worked for Newhouse Newspapers headquartered in Idaho, and was in New Orleans to organize a convention.
After leaving to University of Miami in 1993, Tommy Tuberville served one year as the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M University before accepting the head coaching position at the University of Mississippi in 1995. One of the most successful coaches in Ole Miss history, he moved on to the University of Auburn in 1999, where he began a 10-year run leading the War Eagles.
In 2004 his Auburn team went 13-0 but were left out of the National Championship game; but Tommy Tuberville earned both the Walter Camp Award and the Paul Bryant Award as the nation’s Coach of the Year. He is the only coach in Auburn history to beat rival Alabama six times.
After leaving Auburn, he became the head coach at Texas Tech University three years ago; where he was 7-5 this year and was preparing his team to play in its upcoming bowl game when he got a phone call.
Tommy Tuberville had worked with Whit Babcock, now the athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, for three years while both were at Auburn. When UC football coach Butch Jones left for the head coaching job at the University of Tennessee, Whit Babcock called his old friend.
The chance to move his family closer to Suzanne’s family here in Switzerland County was an extremely attractive option, so Tommy Tuberville accepted the head coaching job with the Bearcats.
And called his mother-in-law.
“It sure brings the family closer together,” Eva Fette said. “We went up there (to UC) on Saturday night and they had the press conference and all the team and everybody was there. Then we were escorted by the police to the gym, and when we got to the gym it was full. Cheerleaders, football players, people. They all gave Tommy a standing ovation, clapping and cheering and going on. It was something else.”
Eva Fette said that Tommy Tuberville will be spending the week at UC, but Suzanne and Troy have gone back to Lubbock so that Troy can finish his classes before Christmas break, and then they’ll return to the area.
“It’s all so exciting,” Eva Fette said. “We haven’t gotten over it yet.”