After losing their coach in the classiest of ways, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have responded in spectacular fashion: hiring a brilliant young offensive mind to lead their program.
Yes, there was a hint of sarcasm regarding how former coach Tommy Tuberville left (he pardoned himself in middle of a dinner with recruits to take the job with the Cincinnati Bearcats). But he’s done that before. If you’re not sure what I’m referencing to, ask an Ole Miss Rebel fan of the fashion he left Oxford for Auburn.
The brass at Texas Tech couldn’t have responded any better, however. In my eyes, they’re making an upgrade with the newly hired Kliff Kingsbury.
That name should sound familiar to any college football fan. Kingsbury was the star quarterback at Texas Tech not that long ago, leaving the school with seven NCAA passing records. He threw for more than 12,000 yards with 95 touchdowns while mastering coach Mike Leach’s ‘Air Raid’ offense.
Pro ball wasn’t much of an option for Kingsbury after getting cut by numerous teams, so he turned to coaching in the college ranks.
In 2008 he was the Offensive Quality Control Assistant for the Houston Cougars. Less than five years later, he’s the second youngest coach in college football at 33 years of age (Toledo’s Matt Campbell is one year younger than Kingsbury). Talk about a meteoric rise through the ranks.
This is truly a match made in heaven for both parties.
Kingsbury gets the chance he’s been waiting for to lead not only a BCS team, but his alma mater.
Texas Tech get’s a brilliant young coach who they know truly loves the program and won’t be leaving voluntarily any time soon (especially not for a lesser program in the Big East).
Kingsbury has mastered the offense that Tech has become known for, and for which they’ve had the most success. The ‘Air Raid’ offense built the school in northwest Texas from a downtrodden program to one that was within a game of playing in the National Championship, all courtesy of Leach.
Running that kind of offense is key to the Raiders success in the pass-happy Big 12, and nearly no one, save for Leach, knows the finer points of that scheme better than Kingsbury. Leading the Texas A&M Aggies offense this past year, his unit would be ranked 3rd overall in total offense (552 yards per game), in addition to producing the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner (Johnny Manziel) in history.
Kingsbury should also boost recruiting. Younger coaches are almost always better recruiters than the older guys. Understandably, they can simply relate and communicate better considering the smaller age gap. Kingsbury knows the state incredibly well. He’s from New Braunfels, Texas, and has recruited scores of Texas prospects while coaching at Houston and Texas A&M. Bottom line- knows the state and it’s high schools intricately.
More than anything, the Raiders are getting a coach with a passion for the school. You can’t replicate or fake that. They finally have one of their own leading their program.
Leach was a west coast guy. Tuberville was a southeastern guy. Kingsbury is a Texas Tech guy.