Former quarterback Kingsbury returns home as new head coach at Texas Tech
LUBBOCK, Texas -- New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has wanted to be back in Lubbock since he left a decade ago.
Late last week, Kingsbury, a former Red Raiders quarterback was watching film to prepare for Texas A&M's game against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and getting ready to accompany Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel to New York, where he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.
On Saturday, the Texas Tech job came open when Tommy Tuberville left after three seasons to take the Cincinnati job.
The next day Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt talked to Kingsbury about the job twice.
"It's just been a whirlwind but I couldn't be happier, beyond ecstatic to be back. It feels like home," Kingsbury said after landing in Lubbock on Wednesday night. "This is where I wanted to be, it's where I've wanted to be."
Kingsbury and Hocutt met in Austin yesterday and the deal was sealed there Wednesday afternoon. Hocutt announced the news with a video posted on Twitter not long after.
"Wreck `em Tech," Kingsbury said in the video, giving the school's "Guns Up" sign when the camera panned to him.
Hocutt and Kingsbury agreed to a four-year deal, the terms of which have not been settled. Kingsbury will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday.
Kingsbury was the Aggies offensive coordinator this year. If it was any other school, Kingsbury said, he would have stayed at A&M.
"He understands," Kingsbury said of Manziel. "He knows how I feel about him. He's as good a player as I've ever seen and probably the fiercest competitor I've ever been around, so it was definitely hard with that. But this is where I belong."
Kingbury was the first in a string of record-setting quarterbacks for the Red Raiders under former coach Mike Leach. Kingsbury passed for more than 12,000 yards at Tech.
He has never been a head coach and at 33, he'll be one of the youngest in major college football.
Hocutt called him the "right fit" for Texas Tech.
"He's prepared his whole life for this," said Hocutt, who was the same age as Kingsbury when he got his first athletic director job at Ohio University. "He's ready and I had no hesitation."
Not long after Kingsbury was hired former Texas Tech receiver Danny Amendola, now with the St. Louis Rams, tweeted: "We jus got our swagger back. Wreck em TECH. Lets ride."
Kingsbury flew back from Austin with Hocutt and other school administrators, who all were meeting with the university's regents late Wednesday.
Red Raiders fans never warmed to Tuberville. Texas Tech still emphasized the passing game and the spread offense under Tuberville, but many Tech fans had a hard time getting past the firing of the popular Leach.
There's no doubt about what kind of offense the Red Raiders will run now. Kingsbury has been part of some of the most prolific offenses in the country the past few years. His offenses spread the field and move quickly, favoring the up-tempo that is all the rage. Texas A&M is third in the nation in total offense at 552 yards per game heading into the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.
Before Tuberville came to West Texas, the Red Raiders had two coaches in 24 years -- Spike Dykes and Leach. Kingsbury becomes their second coach in four years.
Kingsbury will work with sophomore quarterback Michael Brewer, this season's backup to Seth Doege. Brewer played high school football under Chad Morris, who Hocutt interviewed for the Red Raiders coaching job Tuesday in South Carolina. Hocutt later flew to Nashville, Tenn., to meet with Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.
Kingsbury knows Brewer's talent, calling him a "winner" and a "heck of a player."
"I just got through coaching one of those up that was pretty decent, so hopefully we can get him going," he said of Brewer.
Kingsbury followed Kevin Sumlin to A&M from Houston, where he mentored quarterback Case Keenum and the 2011 Cougars led the nation in total offense, passing offense and scoring.
He is a Texas native from New Braunfels, not far from Austin.
During his years as Texas Tech's quarterback, Kingsbury put together some monster passing games. He still holds the school record for most completions in a game. Against Missouri in 2002 he completed 49 of 70 passes for five touchdowns and 510 yards.
Drafted by the New England Patriots in 2003, Kingsbury played for five NFL teams. He also played in the Canadian and All-American football leagues.
The past two seasons have seen the Red Raiders slide down the stretch. This year they lost four of their last five games and in 2011 they dropped five in a row to close the season for the program's first losing season since 1992. Under Tuberville, Texas Tech did not have a winning season in the Big 12.
The Red Raiders play Minnesota in the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 28 in Houston.
Chris Thomsen, who led the offensive line under Tuberville, will coach the bowl game