Kliff Kingsbury seamlessly becomes Charlie Weis. Not since Michael Jackson’s Black or White has there been anything so creepy. Some might argue it’s cool. I’d wager that all the recruits’ mothers who dream of a Guns Up visit from Kingsbury would disagree.
Mike Leach always keeps his quarterbacks in close company, and has never been shy about sharing his opinion, so it’s only natural that one of his former signal callers would have some great stories from his playing days.
Former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell was a special guest at the Red Raiders game against Kansas State last Saturday, and shared a couple of those stories during an interview as part of the AT&T Fan Zone Tour.
During the Red Raiders’ 2007 game against Texas, Harrell said Leach actually called then-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe from his cell phone on the sideline to complain about the officials. Tech lost the game 59-43, and Leach called to alert the commissioner he was going to rip the Big 12 officials after the game.
“I can remember in the third quarter, he’s pulling his cell phone out,” Harrell said. “He always talked to me between series, so he’s talking to me and he pulls his cell phone out. He called the Big 12 commissioner.
“He’s like cussing out the Big 12 commissioner, telling him like, ‘These refs are screwing us. You better watch my postgame press conference because I’ve got some stuff to say.’”
Leach let the referees have it after the game, noting head official Randy Christal lived in Austin, and was fined $10,000 by the Big 12 Conference — the largest fine in conference history.
In another story, also from the 2007 season, Harrell recalled that Leach essentially fired defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich in the third quarter of the Red Raiders’ defensive 49-45 loss at Oklahoma State.
“We go in at halftime and we had just crushed it offensively, and he goes over to the defensive coordinator and is dog cussing him in the locker room,” Harrell said. “Because I was in the coaches’ office which is where the quarterbacks went — he’s just talking down to Setencich. And I liked Setencich, but I was like, ‘Man, that’s rough. That’s nothing I want to see.’
“Then in the third quarter, we go score and it’s going back and forth again. He got on the headset and he told Lyle that, ‘This is probably your last game as a defensive coordinator.’ I was like, ‘Jeez. That’s not something I need to hear either.’
“He kind of fired him in the middle of the game.”
Texas Tech will wear these special edition uniforms on Nov. 9 against Kansas State in support of the Lone Survivor Foundation.
Founded by retired Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, the Lone Survivor Foundation supports service members and their families. The motto of the Foundation, “never quit,” will appear above each player’s numbers on the back of the jersey.
[dropcap]K[/dropcap]liff Kingsbury’s five-year contract with Texas Tech will pay him $10.5 million, but could be worth up to $13.5 million with bonuses.
In addition, Kingsbury will have “creative license” in uniform design, according to Texas Tech associate A.D. Blayne Beal via Twitter.
— Blayne Beal (@BlayneBeal) February 19, 2013
In January, Karson Land tweeted photos of a new white helmet design (above).
Kingsbury’s average salary at Texas Tech will be between $2.1 million and $2.7 million per season. At $2.1 million, it would ranked ninth out of 10 Big 12 head coaches in 2012. The high end of $2.7 million would be more than what six Big 12 coaches earned last year, including former former Red Raider coach Tommy Tuberville.
Kingsbury earned $400,000 last year as Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator. He made less than $30,000 as a quality control assistant at the University of Houston just five years ago.
The 33-year-old Kingsbury never has been a head coach. He’s the youngest head coach of a BCS school and the second-youngest in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind Toledo’s Matt Campbell.
In 2012, Kingsbury was Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach where he coached Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Salaries have been released for Kliff Kingsbury’s new staff at Texas Tech.
According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Kingsbury’s salary pool for assistants is the same as it was during Tommy Tuberville’s final season, $2.125 million.
Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt will be the highest paid assistant making $425,000. Kingsbury and Wallerstedt coached together on Texas A&M’s staff in 2012. Wallerstedt coached linebackers for the Aggies, and before that, was a defensive coordinator for a total of nine years, working at Wyoming, North Alabama and Air Force.
Co-defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who was hired from the New York Jets, will make $240,000. Trey Haverty, hired from TCU to be the Red Raiders’ safeties and special teams coach, will make $235,000.
Cornerbacks coach Kevin Curtis, who spent the previous three seasons on Sonny Dykes’s Louisana Tech staff, will make $205,000. John Scott, who coached defensive line and special teams at Georgia Southern the last three years, will make $175,000.
All of Kingsbury’s new offensive assistants will earn nearly the same amount. Running backs coach Mike Jinks will make $215,000, while co-offensive coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Eric Morris, and offensive line coach Lee Hays will make $210,000 apiece.
Jinks was hired from Byron P. Steele II High in Cibolo, Texas, where he had built one of the state’s most successful high school programs in recent years. Jinks took Steele from a new high school in 2005 to a state championship in 2010. He compiled a 76-18 record in six seasons, including a 43-4 mark the past three seasons with two trips to the state final.
Morris, considered a rising star in the coaching world, spent 2012 as inside receivers coach under Mike Leach at Washington State. Prior to joining Leach’s staff, Morris spent two years as a graduate assistant under Kingsbury at Houston.
Cumbie is the only hold-over from Tuberville’s staff. The $210,000 he will make is a a $50,000 raise from 2012.
Hays has been an offensive coordinator at West Texas A&M, Baylor and Tarleton State.
Below is a complete rundown of the new Texas Tech staff, their roles, and salaries.
|Matt Wallerstedt||Defensive Coordinator||$425,000||Texas A&M (LB)|
|Mike Smith||Co-Defensive coordinator||$240,000||N.Y. Jets (OLB)|
|Trey Haverty||Safeties, Special teams||$235,000||TCU (WRs)|
|Mike Jinks||Running backs||$215,000||Steele HS (HC)|
|Sonnie Cumbie||Co-Offensive coordinator||$210,000||Texas Tech (IR)|
|Eric Morris||Co-Offensive coordinator||$210,000||Washington State (IR)|
|Lee Hays||Offensive line||$210,000||Houston (OL)|
|Kevin Curtis||Cornerbacks||$205,000||Louisiana Tech (CBs)|
|John Scott||Defensive line||$175,000||Georgia Southern (DL, STC)|
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ormer Texas Tech defensive coordinator James Willis will be hired at the same position for Louisiana-Lafayette, according to media reports.
Willis, who replaces Greg Stewart at ULL, was defensive coordinator on Tommy Tuberville’s Texas Tech staff during the 2011 season. However, he resigned before the Red Raider’s bowl game following a domestic violence incident.
Willis has served as defensive coordinator for the UFL’s Virginia Destroyers since his resignation at Texas Tech.
Ragin’ Cajun head coach Mark Hudspeth announced last week that Stewart would not return for the 2013 season. In a release, Hudspeth gave no reason for Stewart’s departure, but thanked him for his contributions that led to the team’s 18 wins and two New Orleans Bowl titles over the past two years.
Stewart, who had been at ULL since Hudspeth was hired in 2011, said in a prepared statement, “I have decided to go a different direction (professionally), and I am looking forward to the future opportunities for both me and my family.”
A standout linebacker at Auburn, Willis was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fifth round of the 1993 NFL Draft. During an eight-year professional career, Willis also played Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, and the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the now defunct XFL.
When his professional playing career ended, Willis returned to Auburn to complete his degree and served as a student assistant in 2001-02. He became a defensive graduate assistant in 2003 under then-defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.
Willis was hired as linebackers coach at Rhode Island in 2004 and moved to Temple in the same capacity in 2005.
Willis returned to his alma mater when Tommy Tuberville hired him as linebackers coach in 2006. He remained at Auburn until Tuberville resigned in 2008, and Chizik, who was named the Tigers’ head coach, released all of Tuberville’s former staff.
Chizik changed his mind two weeks later, however, and re-hired Willis on December 26, 2008. Hard feelings from his initial release remained, though, and Willis caused a stir among Auburn fans when he left to join Nick Saban’s staff at arch-rival Alabama just a month later.
During his time at Auburn, Willis became known for his recruiting prowess, and was particularly successful recruiting the talent-rich Mobile, Ala. area. It was bad enough that a former Tiger legend was moving to their cross-state rival, but the fact that it happened just two weeks for 2009′s National Signing Day made it an even harder for Auburn fans to swallow.
Willis coached at Alabama for two seasons, including the 2010 BCS National Championship team, before being named Tuberville’s defensive coordinator at Texas Tech.