Coach agrees to new deal worth $16M

Updated: December 27, 2004, 8:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

When Auburn collects its BCS check, Tommy Tuberville will also be rewarded -- with a $16 million contract.

The coach, whom school officials tried to replace in 2003, has agreed in principle to a new seven-year deal to coach the Tigers, as first reported by Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN The Magazine.

"We have almost finished a new contract, and I'm excited about that," Tuberville told The Associated Press on Monday. "I'm excited about the future."

Tuberville, this year's AP Coach of the Year, arrived in New Orleans on Monday, reiterating that he is not interested in the LSU coaching job.

"I told everybody last week: I'm going to be at Auburn next year," Tuberville told The Associated Press. "I'm excited about this past season. I'm excited about the Sugar Bowl, and I'm looking forward to many more years at Auburn."

Meanwhile, ESPN.com's Pat Forde reports that LSU has asked for and received permission to speak with Louisville coach Bobby Petrino regarding its coaching vacancy.

Tuberville led the third-ranked Tigers to a 12-0 regular season and their first Southeastern Conference championship in 15 years. They are playing Virginia Tech in the bowl on Jan. 3

The extension is a far cry from last season when it became public that Auburn officials, including the university president, had covertly courted Louisville coach Bobby Petrino to replace Tuberville.

LSU is seeking to replace Nick Saban, who announced Saturday he is leaving Baton Rouge to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

There were widespread rumors over the weekend that Tuberville was interested in the job despite having agreed in principle to a seven-year contract with Auburn that would pay him $16 million. The contract also reportedly would include a $7.5 million buyout.

Tuberville said he had not been in contact with LSU about the job and did not plan to be.

"We just now got our program going in full swing, and there's not a better place in the country to live and work and coach football," said Tuberville, who is 50-24 in six seasons at Auburn. "And I'm excited about being at Auburn long time."

Tuberville's current contract is five years at $1.5 million annually, and he is also in line for at least $300,000 in performance bonuses this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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