Jacobs says the two will have a close working relationship and Tuberville won’t have a stronger supporter in the Auburn family than Jacobs.
The new athletic director says he is appreciative of the support he has received from a variety of different people, including head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who was heavily consulted on who he wanted to work with after retiring athletic director David Housel stepped down.
“I think that in this league if the head coach and athletic director aren’t hip to hip, it is a recipe for failure,” Jacobs says. “Our relationship has always been great. The first time I interviewed with him, back in November, he asked me two questions and made one statement. He asked me, ‘Do you really want this job.’ I told him, “Yes, I really wanted it.’
“He said, ‘You can’t make everybody happy.’ I said, ‘You know, I have grown up in this business, I know how that goes.’
“The third thing he said is, ‘How can I help you?’ Our relationship has always been good. He is a solid guy. Anything that comes up from now on, the Auburn people just need to pat him on the back and love him, his family, and the assistant coaches and their families. Anything there is a problem with, they need to see me. I have got his back like the Roman soldiers talk about it. It is been unbelievable what he has done this year, what he has done for Auburn. We have to hook together like that (football) team.”
When Jacobs was announced as the new athletic director on Wednesday, one of the coaches attending the press conference was Tuberville. The head football coach stayed after the session and gave Jacobs a strong endorsement and said he was excited about continuing to work with Jacobs, who steps up from the top man at Tigers Unlimited to the top job in the athletic department. In his role at Tigers Unlimited, Jacobs was the chief fund raiser for the athletic department.
At his press conference, Jacobs singled out Tuberville to thank him for the support and pledged to do the same thing for the coach. “What I think we should do is about like that football team has done,” Jacobs said. “We all need to lock arms together, have each other’s back and be united. Tommy is here. I appreciate that. He has been working with Tigers Unlimited the last three years. We have raised more money than anybody the last three years--close to $60 million and we are all united. It is just time for all of us to lock arms together like that team and be united. That is what we have to do.”
Tommy Tuberville is shown at a celebration held last week honoring his SEC Championship team.
Jacobs, a former walk-on football player at Auburn for Coach Pat Dye in the early 1980s, grew up in LaFayette, Ala., and West Point, Ga., before finishing high school in Jacksonville, Fla., where he played for Wolfson High.
His says playing football at Auburn was an important part of his development. “Mentally and physically, it teaches you perseverance,” Jacobs says. “You may not want to go through that half-line drill or those chutes, but you just keep working at it and you get through it.
“The other perspective, which is as important if not more important, I know what those student-athletes are going through,” Jacobs adds. “I know what is happening with their time demands. I know what these coaches are going through having been the tight ends coach and the conditioning coach.”
Jacobs says, “It is an exciting time having come here and having an opportunity to walk on and start and play here and then virtually work in every aspect of this department for the last 24 years has been a blessing for me. It has enriched my life. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to lead this department forward. I am so appreciative of all of the former teammates, guys I have coached, classmates, co-workers that used to be here and a lot of you are here now for the continued support. It has been a wonderful experience for me.”