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Tuberville Wastes No Time Announcing Staff

Less than 48 hours after signing a contract to become head football coach of the Auburn Tigers, Tommy Tuberville had eight of his nine full-time assistant coaches on campus.

Tommy Tuberville
The first eight hires are all from Tuberville's Ole Miss staff. There is a possibility that outside linebackers coach Joe Whitt, the dean of Terry Bowden's and Bill Oliver's staff, could stay on as either an on-the-field coach or in some other capacity. Whitt has coached at Auburn since 1981. Oliver, the interim coach for Auburn's last five games, could be offered a spot on the new staff, Tuberville says. However, the veteran coach has said on several occasions he was not interested in staying at AU unless it was as head coach.

The only full-time coach from Ole Miss who has not made the move to Auburn is defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Art Kaufman. He was an original member of Tuberville's staff that the new Auburn coach put together back in December of 1994.

Replacing Jimbo Fisher as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, a position that Fisher assumed under Oliver, is Noel Mazzone. The 40-year-old, like the seven other new assistant coaches, spent four seasons under Tuberville at Ole Miss.

"These coaches are good people who love what they are doing," says Tuberville. "They have great personalities with very little ego and that is rare in this business. They believe in each other and enjoy being around one another. We won't miss a beat. All we are doing is changing offices and changing names. These guys will hit the ground running and they will sell this program. It is a great place to sell."

Tuberville told his assistant coaches on Sunday that he wants them on the road recruiting on Tuesday, when the NCAA no-contact period for football recruiting ends. Auburn has seven public verbal commitments and Tuberville says after studying film of those players he sees no reason why they won't be offered when he signs his first Auburn class this February.

Don Dunn, 44, replaces Pete Jenkins as the defensive tackle coach. He has coached at Nevada-Reno, Pacific, Montana State and Tennessee. Tuberville also has a defensive ends coach, Terry Price, a 30-year-old who has worked at Texas A&M and Western Kentucky.

Greg Knox replaces Larry Edmondson as both recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach. The 34-year-old has also coached at Stephen F. Austin, TCU and Northeastern State in Oklahoma.

Replacing Tyke Tolbert as tight ends coach is Joe Pannunzio. The 39-year-old has also coached at Minnesota, TCU and Mesa College. He will also be in charge of special teams.

Replacing Brother Oliver as the secondary coach will be John Lovett, 46, who has coached at Maine, Nevada-Las Vegas, Brown, Union College in New York and Cincinnati. He also interned with the NFL's New York Jets.

When Oliver fired Rodney Allison, the Tigers worked without a running backs coach. The new man in that spot is Eddie Gran, a 33-year-old native of California who has coached at TCU, Northeastern State in Oklahoma, Stephen F. Austin, Southeast Missouri State, East Carolina and California Lutheran.

Replacing Rick Trickett on the offensive line is Hugh Nall, 40, a member of Georgia's 1980 national championship team. He is the only member of the new Auburn staff who played college football at a Southeastern Conference school. Nall has coached at Georgia Southern and TCU.

"My coaching philosophy is pretty simple," Tuberville says. "We're going to be organized, disciplined and we're going to have a great work ethic on and off the field."

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