For all the high stakes and drama that come with coaching high-level college football, sometimes it’s the quiet moments away from screaming fans and TV cameras that coaches carry with them.
It’s some of these moments they will take stock of when it comes time to call it a career.
Such is the case of the two coaches who will take center stage at the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas inside Houston’s Reliant Stadium on Dec. 28. Texas Tech’s Tommy Tuberville and Minnesota’s Jerry Kill forged a relationship years ago while attending Glazier Clinics — football coaching clinics held each year around the country — more than 15 years ago.
Tuberville and Kill would both speak at the clinics that invited coaches — mostly assistants, Tuberville said — from all levels to enhance their knowledge of the game.
“You might speak at three in a weekend,” Tuberville said. “You might be in Boston one night, Cincinnati the next, then the next night you might be in Dallas.”
For all they got out of speaking to other coaches, both Kill and Tuberville said the most rewarding part of the experience amid all the travel was the time spent, when a day’s sessions were over, building camaraderie and learning more about the game.
That’s when men who loved football could sit around and break down the game to its core, without the bells and whistles.
“We’d go up to the room and eat sandwiches and chips and just talk football,” Kill said. “In coaching, it’s a fraternity where most everybody knows everybody. At the end of the day, those are the only friends we’ve got sometimes. You just get to know people, and that’s what made the profession great.”
Tuberville, too, said he got the most of the clinics after hours.
“It was fun going to those clinics because you’d learn more sitting up in the hospitality room talking about football and exchanging ideas and learning from the other coaches,” Tuberville said.
Though the two coaches remain friends, Kill said they haven’t crossed paths much in recent years. Kill began his career as a defensive coordinator at Pittsburg State, eventually becoming a head coach at Southern Illinois, then Northern Illinois, before taking the Minnesota job in 2011.
Tuberville was the defensive coordinator at Miami when he attended the Glazier Clinics with Kill, later coaching 14 seasons in the Southeastern Conference before landing at Tech in 2010.
Both Kill and Tuberville said they look forward to spending some time together later this month before their bowl game kicks off — eager for the chance to be a couple coaches talking football, just like they did years ago.
“It’s kind of the growing process of being a coach and learning your way around,” Tuberville said. “Coach Kill and I, we’ve both done that together and it was a lot of fun.”
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