Kliff Kingsbury the King of Lubbock
With a fractured fan base thanks to the controversial exit of Mike Leach and the unconventional hiring of Tommy Tuberville, the powers that be at Texas Tech had no choice but to swing for the fences when deciding on their next football coach. Mad fans in Raider Nation have been upset over the last couple of years in part, due to seeing the Red Raiders go from being consistent Big 12 championship contenders to falling to three year in a row of sub .500 football in conference play.
Luckily for the good folks in Lubbock, a famous alumnus happens to be former record setting quarterback-turned reigning two-time Footballscoop.com Offensive Coordinator of the Year, Kliff Kingsbury. Combined with the fact Kingsbury’s resume already includes playing a role in the NCAA’s all-time leading passer career, guiding a freshman to the Heisman trophy, along with being the architect of the best offense in the SEC in 2012, and you have a marriage made in heaven.
It does not hurt that Kingsbury is one of the most beloved Red Raider’s in recent history, with a genuine first class personality, and model looks.
“It's been amazing. The reception we've had from Texas Tech and watching all the fans get back on board and pushing this program in the right direction has been incredible,'' Kingsbury said during his first Big 12 Media Day as a head coach.
Kingsbury’s vision and presence alone has gone a long way toward mending fences for the die hard Red Raider faithful in Lubbock. More importantly, it has inspired a talented unassuming football roster who recognizes Kingsbury’s instant credibility.
“He’s been here, he’s won here, and he’s been successful on other fields with his coaching,” said a beaming an excited Texas Tech Senior Defensive Lineman Kerry Hyder. “So with him coming back, he really has a draw with the players and we really understand where he’s coming from.”
Not bad for a guy who at only thirty-three years of age is the youngest head coach of a team in an AQ conference, and the second-youngest head coach in college football. When asked about how he got his players attention from day one, a nice big grin appeared on Kingsbury’s face as he recalled his first meeting with the team this spring.
“I basically let them know I’ve sat in that same seat and faced everything you are going to face on and off the field ten times over,” Kingsbury said whilealso relaying how he feels. Facts and statements like this have a gained him instant street credibility with his Red Raiders.
Despite the excitement of bringing “King Kliff” back to Lubbock, the Red Raiders enter the 2013 slate with a lot of question marks, making them one of the greatest unknowns of college football this upcoming football season.
Along with getting a fresh start in the head coaching position, the Texas Tech program is fresh throughout the whole program from literally top to bottom. Everyone on Kingsbury’s staff will be enjoying their first football season in Lubbock this fall except Sonny Cumbie who was promoted to Co-Offensive Coordinator.
During our one-on-one segment, I was led to ask Kingsbury, has it hit him yet that he’s the man responsible for turning his alma mater around starting this fall?
"You have those (surreal) moments, but you try not to let it overwhelm you. You just attack each and every day. 'How can I make this program better today?' That's all I've done since I've been there,'' Kingsbury said.
I’m glad to report no matter what happens in the win-loss column this year, hiring a great person, a brilliant football mind, and a committed hard working coach like Kliff Kingsbury is a big major step for Texas Tech regaining its place of nation prominence.
After being around Coach Kliff Kingsbury a couple of times this summer, it’s easy to see why he’s treated like a King in Lubbock. He’s laying the foundation to being a great coach and turning the Red Raiders around, while being just as great of a person.
Kendrick Johnson is an independent sports television, radio, and print journalist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org on Twitter @kendrickjohnso
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