Dozens of Auburn University students and alumni marched across campus to the president's mansion yesterday to protest the school's treatment of former football coach Tommy Tuberville.

University officials say Tuberville resigned on his own last week after a decade that included an undefeated season and a Southeastern Conference title. But many demonstrators claimed that administrators and powerful boosters forced him out after a 5-7 record that included a 36-0 loss to Alabama.

"You don't throw a man's career away for one lousy season," said alumna Linda Ashurst, one of about 70 people who chanted and waved signs.

An organizer, freshman Taylor Jones, of Montgomery, said he believes boosters had Tuberville removed with the help of athletic director Jay Jacobs, and for some reason university officials are trying to cover up what happened.

"I believe he resigned, but I believe he was forced to resign," said Jones, who was called to a meeting with President Jay Gogue before the demonstration. Jones said Gogue expressed support for the students' right to protest but wouldn't discuss Tuberville's departure.

Tuberville hasn't publicly discussed details of what happened, but his mother told the Opelika-Auburn News her son was fired.

A university spokeswoman, Deedie Dowdle, said the school stands by Jacobs' statement that Tuberville resigned.

Noteworthy

* Penn State coach Joe Paterno has been selected as a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award. Paterno is among a field of 10 Division I-A coaches nominated for the honor. His Big Ten champion Nittany Lions are 11-1 and will play Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl.

* Villanova coach Andy Talley has been named American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2008 Region I Coach of the Year.

The AFCA recognizes five regional Coach of the Year winners in each of the association's five divisions (FBS, FCS, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA).

Talley led the Wildcats to a 10-3 overall record. They were eliminated in the playoff quarterfinals at top-ranked James Madison, 31-27.

* Wake Forest senior Aaron Curry has won the Butkus Award honoring the nation's top college linebacker. *