When Kliff Kingsbury was named the new head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, fans took to the streets of Lubbock to celebrate. The former Tech quarterback was coming home to restore the Red Raiders to their glory days when they were one of the highest-scoring offenses in the land and a tough out for just about any team in the Big 12. But as Kingsbury gets welcomed back as a conquering hero, he must also recognize the added pressure that title will place on him.
Kingsbury represents the pinnacle of success for the Texas Tech program being a former quarterback during their decade-long bowl game streak under former coach Mike Leach. The fans remember those times extremely fondly and Kingsbury, in their minds, is the key to getting back to that level when the Raiders won at least nine games in four of Leach’s final five seasons. That is the reason the fan base rejoiced when he was hired and it could be the reason they turn on him in a couple of seasons.
In three seasons as head coach, Tommy Tuberville never won nine games. He came closest in 2012 when the Red Raiders went 8-5, with the final win coming in a bowl game over the Minnesota Golden Gophers after Tuberville had already bolted for the Cincinnati Bearcats. He was never truly loved or accepted by the Texas Tech faithful, which isn’t a problem Kingsbury will have to deal with.
What he will have to deal with, however, is a roster that is decent, but is not one that looks on paper like it can contend in the Big 12 anytime soon. The love and memories that the fan base has for Kingsbury during his playing days are certain to buy him some wiggle room for the first two seasons as he attempts to build the team back up on the recruiting trail.
If he fails to notch a 10-win season or two in the next three to five years, however, Kingsbury could fine the popular opinion turn against him and irreparably tarnish his Texas Tech legacy. Can he handle the pressure of bringing successful football back to his alma mater?