Kingsbury's hire heals old wounds

Kingsbury's hire heals old wounds
December 13, 2012, 11:45 am
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Contrary to popular opinion Kliff Kingsbury can’t walk on water, turn water into wine or beat Chuck Norris up. 

You might be hard pressed to believe otherwise if you’ve talked to a Texas Tech fan in the last day since he’s already done the seemingly impossible, make every Red Raider fan happy.

Ever since Texas Tech separated itself from Mike Leach following the 2009 season and hired Tommy Tuberville there has been a split between Red Raiders fans. While the split has since scarred over, the two sides have never been able to reconcile to any meaningful degree. 

For his part, Tuberville did his best to bring everyone together by being what Leach was not, user friendly. Tuberville did everything from a fundraising and PR standpoint with an ease and gusto that were foreign concepts to Leach. He cultivated a loyal following among supporters, saying exactly what they wanted to hear.

And while many fans followed the company line surrounding Leach’s dismissal and Tuberville’s hiring, a large group of fans never did. Though they went through the 10 stages of grief regarding Leach’s departure, forgave the university and rooted for the Red Raiders, they couldn’t forgive Tommy Tuberville for who he was not. Mike Leach.

Those fans could easily point to Tuberville’s failures, a 9-17 record in the Big 12 and more importantly, a 1-8 record against Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. Combine that with a 1-9 record over the last five weeks of the 2011 and 2012 seasons and there was plenty of ammunition.  

This divide between the fan base never narrowed in Tuberville’s tenure. That probably wore on him and helped drive him to seek a job that on its surface is less than the one he left.

Ironically his departure allowed for the one thing his presence prevented, unity among the fanbase. Kingsbury threw over 12,000 yards and 95 touchdowns as the first quarterback of the Leach era at Texas Tech. In the years since his graduation in 2002, Kingsbury earned a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots, became a successful offensive coordinator at a SEC school running the same high octane offense in the defense dominated league and coached a freshman to do something never before accomplished in the history of college football, win a Heisman Trophy.

Those ties to the Air Raid era and skins on the wall are enough to offset the fact that Kingsbury was a coordinator for only three seasons and has never been a head coach in the eyes of Red Raiders fans. That he comes with a million-dollar smile, easy going personality and affinity for West Texas is the icing on the cake.

Those same fans knew that failing to get Kingsbury into the fold this year likely meant never getting him to lead the program and are willing to give him the leeway to grow into the job that no other candidate could expect.  So while Athletics Director Kirby Hocutt spent the first part of the week interviewing other candidates, namely Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris, there was really only one option. 

Sink or swim, Texas Tech has one of its own in charge and Red Raiders fans wouldn’t have it any other way.

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