“This Is What Greatness Looks Like – Tech Hires Kingsbury”

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, December 15th, 2012

By Mike Kravik

“When Tuberville came to Tech he openly talked about the need to “change the culture” in Lubbock which was another way of saying “put away all the pirate shtick.”  A divided fan base was further polarized by Tuberville when he made the much maligned Taylor Potts his starting QB over the very popular (and much more effective) Steven Sheffield, a move punctuated by Tuberville telling the fans to “Get over it.” Continuing to play Adam James (“Boooooooo!!”), the flashpoint of this sudden culture change served as yet another agitation.

The fan base at Texas Tech is no longer divided. It’s shattered and you will hear more than one Tech fan tell you are they openly rooting for another bad season so Tuberville will be fired. “

-Mike Kravik, Sportspage Weekly August 2012

As legend has it, Tommy Tuberville went to dinner with several Texas Tech recruits last Friday evening and politely excused himself to go to the bathroom. Tuberville never returned to the table and didn’t show up the next morning for a campus tour.  The next time anybody saw him, he was in Cincinnati, pumping his fists like he was Kirk Gibson taking Eckersley deep in the ’88 World Series because he had just conned some other dolt into hiring him for a fat paycheck.

I was furious when Mike Leach was fired in 2009 but I was also on board with the Tuberville hire because he had gone 42-9 over a four year period (2004-2007) in the SEC. Coaches can get lucky in one year (Gene Chizik says hello) but if you can go 42-9 against that kind of competition, you probably know what you’re doing.

When Tuberville came to Lubbock, he talked about advancing the program, taking Tech to the next level and that he was about “winning championships.”  He presented himself as an all knowing “Don’t worry, I got this” defensive guru who also dabbled in special teams. Immediately, the mediocre defense that Tech fans were accustomed to became one of the worst in the country and the special teams play was a bad joke. Tuberville’s solution was to fire coordinators and make excuses for failure.

In the three years before Tuberville arrived in Lubbock, Tech went 29-10 (16-8 in the Big 12). During Tuberville’s three years in Lubbock, Tech went 20-17 (9-17 in the Big 12). Tuberville never came back to dinner because he knew this con had played out. The wolves were getting too close to the campfire and he didn’t have the guts to fight, so he ran to Cincinnati.

What was the lowest moment of the Tuberville Era? That’s like asking Hillary Clinton which one of her husband’s mistresses she liked the least.

Falling behind Kansas 20-0 in 2011? Losing consecutive games to Iowa State, including 41-7 at home?  Losing to Baylor for the first time in 16 years and then doing it again the next year? How about three straight losses to three mediocre Longhorn teams or the consecutive losses to the Aggies?  Personally, I consider falling behind Oklahoma State 49-0 (at halftime in Lubbock before eventually losing 66-6) to be the Monica Lewinsky Blue Dress Moment of the last three years.

Christmas came early for Texas Tech fans when Kliff Kingsbury was hired to replace Tuberville this past Wednesday. Gone was the gutless (and incompetent) football coach who slapped around a graduate assistant and deserted a table filled with puzzled recruits. In his place was the Quarterback Whisperer, the epitome of sideline cool and a great reason to be optimistic about the future of Texas Tech football.

Kingsbury is beloved by Tech fans not only because he had game as a player but he also had character. He had to be intelligent to run Leach’s cutting edge offense yet he also had to be tough enough to take the beating required when you throw sixty passes a game behind a porous offensive line. Fans would wince when he’d  get dough-popped by some behemoth yet Kingsbury always bounced back up with a smile.  We know we won’t see Kingsbury slapping a graduate assistant and then lying about it because his character won’t allow it. Kingsbury will remain cool (always) and when the stuff hits the fan, he won’t run away to Cincinnati.

On the Wednesday night that Kingsbury was hired, the twitter-verse exploded with approval from current and former players along with a knowing nod from The Pirate (“Stud!!”) up in Washington State. This is a great fit and if nothing else, Kingsbury will bring together a fractured fan-base that had long ago become disenchanted and apathetic.

Kingsbury is young (33 years old) but so were Darrell Royal, Barry Switzer and Tom Landry. If you’re going to be a great coach, age doesn’t matter. Kingsbury is one of those people you come across in life who are successful because they’re not only blessed with ability but they’re also smart enough to make their own luck. Kingsbury was lucky that nobody else but Texas Tech wanted him out of high school yet he ended up playing quarterback for one of the great offensive minds of this generation.  He didn’t make it big in the NFL but he was also lucky enough to tap into the coaching genius of Bill Belichik and carry a clipboard for Tom Brady. He went to the University of Houston and was Case Keenum’s quarterback coach. He becomes Texas A&M’s Offensive Coordinator and churns out the first freshman Heisman Trophy winner in the history of the award.

Kingsbury is not the lucky somebody who found a lottery ticket and cashed in. This is what greatness looks like and the only people who are lucky this time are current fans and future players of the football program at Texas Tech.

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