Club honors Tuberville

Published 10:59 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tommy Tuberville may not have left his old job on the best of terms, but Tuberville and those in attendance Tuesday at the Chilton Auburn Club’s Annual Unsung Hero Banquet could have fooled you.

Tuberville, who resigned late last year after 10 years as Auburn’s football coach, was given two standing ovations Tuesday at the banquet, had his praises sung by two former players and the team chaplain, wore a tiger’s eye pin on his lapel, and gave the crowd a rousing “War Eagle!” after a brief speech.

Oh yeah, Tuberville was also given the 43rd Unsung Hero award for his many contributions to Auburn.

“We proved that you can win games, and do it the right way off the field,” Tuberville said, echoing a theme that was begun by former players Bret Eddings and Ben Leard and Auburn chaplain the Rev. Chette Williams. “I felt like we were winners every time we walked on the field and off the field because of the way we did things.”

Tuberville won the most games (13) in Auburn single season history, in 2004, one Southeastern Conference championship, five SEC Western Division titles and eight consecutive bowl berths from 2000-07.

An estimated of 250 people paid to hear Tuberville, compared to an average banquet attendance of about 140 the last few years. The crowd included Tuberville’s wife, Suzanne, his mother, Olive, three of his former players and seven former award recipients–including radio personality Al Del Greco. The mood was far removed from a disappointing 2008 season and the ensuing divorce between coach and school.

Eddings: “Coach will always be an unsung hero to Auburn fans. He’s not popular among Alabama fans, but that’s a good thing.”

Leard: “I could talk for a long time about the times I should have been benched, but I can’t talk enough about what he did for me personally.”

Williams: “Everything he’s done in his 10 years at Auburn, you know as well as I do, he didn’t do it for me, he did it for the Lord.”

The Chilton Auburn Club raises money to provide a scholarship to the university for a local student.