Tommy Tuberville's mother told a newspaper her son was fired as Auburn's football coach, a claim that runs counter to public statements by the university that Tuberville left on his own.

The Opelika-Auburn News in Alabama quoted Olive Tuberville as saying her son told her he was dismissed after 10 seasons at Auburn.

"He didn't resign," the paper quoted her as saying. "He was fired."

Reached for comment yesterday by the Associated Press, Olive Tuberville wouldn't say whether the newspaper quoted her correctly. She did confirm talking with a reporter at Tuberville's house shortly after the coach's final meeting with Auburn officials last Wednesday.

"I'm sick of this mess. I'm not going discuss it anymore," she said.

Athletic director Jay Jacobs last week said Tuberville's departure was completely Tuberville's decision, and that he and the university president, Jay Gogue, each asked Tuberville to remain.

Jacobs said he and Gogue agreed to give Tuberville the same amount of money that would have been required to terminate his contract through a firing, $5.1 million, because they felt it was "the right thing to do."

Auburn spokeswoman Deedie Dowdle said the university stands by Jacobs' statement that Tuberville resigned.

Noteworthy

* Texas quarterback Colt McCoy confirmed that he'll return to the Longhorns for his senior season in 2009.

McCoy has led No. 3 Texas (11-1) to a Fiesta Bowl matchup against Ohio State with 3,445 yards passing and 32 touchdowns, both team records.

* Al Groh will be back for a ninth season as the football coach at Virginia, but his son Mike, the offensive coordinator the past three seasons, will not.

Mike Groh was among three assistant coaches who resigned in a shakeup brought on by his father's annual review, Al Groh said in a statement.

The Cavaliers were 5-7 in 2006 and 2008, each time failing to qualify for a bowl game. They were 9-4 in 2007 and played in the Gator Bowl.

* Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley was hired as New Mexico's football coach, becoming the fourth black coach at a major school.

* Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer has accepted a job as a special assistant to university president John Petersen.

* Central Florida football player Brandon Davis, who collapsed during training last week, is improving and could be released from the hospital as early as today, his father said. *