The news out of Lubbock on Monday of the dismissal of Texas Tech Head Football Coach Matt Wells shocked most of the college football media. The sacking comes two days after the Red Raiders fell 25-24 to Kansas State blowing two different 14-point leads against the previously hapless Wildcats. Wells finished his career at Texas Tech with a 13-17 record in nearly three seasons at the helm.
With the news came the customary cavalcade of drive-by national sports media to take their shots at Texas Tech and Lubbock. The surge of cheap shots rushed in faster than the rising inflation facing our economy and said more about themselves than anything that was said about Tech or Lubbock.
One such writer from Sports Illustrated opined, “Texas Tech aspires to do better, but should it?” The writer continued to name Tech one of the worst Power 5 jobs in College Football. The overriding narrative on Monday was clear, “Stay in your corner, Texas Tech. Don’t you dare try to improve your program.” The aristocracy of sports media proves not everyone deserves a national platform.
While times have been tough for close to a decade, Red Raider Nation mustn’t settle for being average either and should also ignore calls of returning to the days gone by of losing games to North Texas and bad Colorado teams. The road to being a year in and year out contender starts with being competitive week in and week out.
The likes of Kansas State under Bill Snyder and the current course of Utah Football show that Texas Tech can compete with their relative geography and should strive to do so. Bill Snyder was able to make the Wildcats into a consistent contender for conference championships with great coaching and wizardry on the recruiting trail finding players and building a tough team.
Much of the same can be said about current Utes Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. The Utes Football program has similar obstacles that Texas Tech faces, but there’s a blueprint of success that should be emulated. An identity of playing of smart, hard nosed football along has built the Utes into a perennial Pac 12 South contender and a consistent winner.
Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and the search committee have a tall task ahead of them for finding the right guy for the Football program. However, there are several items that Tech brings to the table that make the job attractive for coaches who believe they can succeed on the South Plains.
First, the Big 12 Conference is losing Texas and Oklahoma to the Mordor of conferences, the SEC. Instead of having to run through the gauntlet of OU and UT there’s a balanced field that will benefit the win/loss column for the Red Raiders.
Second, with the playoffs expanding in the near future it means getting into the College Football Playoff would be easier for whoever wins the Big 12. It won’t be sexy, but winning cures most everything in College Football short of scandals.
Third, the current facilities and the proposed new facility are among the best in the country. The commitment from donors and fans have made it possible for the Texas Tech job to be attractive to anyone wanting to try something hard, but that would have the necessary support to succeed and succeed quickly.
All of that said, Kirby Hocutt and the search committee have to make the right hire and one that has to start winning 7-8 games from season one and building something bigger that hasn’t been seen in Lubbock since the early 1970s. The minimum expectation was set on Monday and can’t be missed again without wholesale changes made at Broadway and University.
- Allen Corbin lives in the wilds of Utah, grew up in Lubbock and likes good whiskey and cigars. He doesn’t tolerate idiots. Much. . .