Thursday, December 20, 2012
Q&A: Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury
By David Ubben
It's been a little more than a week since Texas Tech brought in program legend Kliff Kingsbury to run its program. This week, he sat down with ESPN.com to talk about a variety of topics.
ESPN.com: Can you take me through the first few days on the job? What have you been up to since last Wednesday?
Kliff Kingsbury: It's been fast and furious, really. I've been behind closed doors just trying to put a staff together and maintain recruiting and try to get a focus on that.
What'd you think when you first got the call that Tech was interested?
"I've always thought that being young in this profession is a benefit," said Kliff Kingsbury, now the youngest coach in the Big 12 by eight years.
KK: I was excited to have a chance to even have the thought of coming back here as the head coach. It was a dream come true. I was up in New York doing that with Johnny (Manziel) at the Heisman deal, and my phone started ringing and things started happening. It's a crazy profession, but I couldn't be more thankful where I ended up.
When Tommy (Tuberville) left, did you expect that call, at least on some level, to come?
KK: Not really, not really. Like I said, I've been so focused on our season at A&M. I was so proud of what we accomplished that I was shocked that that had happened, but didn't really expect much to come from it.
Mike Gundy, your new peer at Oklahoma State, famously called his job his "New York Yankees" job. You guys had kind of similar stories at this point in your careers, but would you consider this your dream job?
KK: No question. It's a place that really changed me as a man and shaped who I am as a person. It's great to come back as a head coach and try to take this place to the next level. I couldn't really ask for a better opportunity.
As a guy who's eight years younger than any coach in this league, what's your response to people who might say it's too soon for you to be a head coach?
KK: I've always thought that being young in this profession is a benefit. I think you relate to the players and having played, and not too far removed from having played, I think you can relate to them and give you some street cred there. You just played the position and when you tell them how to do something, they'll listen because you've been there, where they are.
How would you describe these last five years, going from a new guy in the profession to a head coach at a BCS school?
KK: It's been fast and fortunate, I'll put it that way. I know how this profession works. By no means am I the smartest or greatest coach, and I know that's the case, I just try to work as hard as I can at all the places I've been and I've had things fall into place for me.
There's been so much talk about 'uniting the fan base' and that whole concept. What's your view on that idea after the controversy surrounding Mike Leach's exit?
KK: Yeah, I just think there's a lot of proud Red Raiders out there and we all just need to be pulling in the same direction. We all want what's best for this university and we all want what's best for these student-athletes and students, and it's just time for everybody to pull together once again and make this program the best that it can be.
How close are you and Mike still?
KK: We talk. We talk. He's been busy this year, obviously, getting that (Washington State) program rolling. I've always had a great amount of respect for him and what he accomplished and what he meant to me in my life.
What's he told you since you got this job?
KK: Just been excited. That's it. Fired up for me and some of the other coaches I'm bringing in that he's coached during their time. He's just really thrilled.
Come back later today for more from Kingsbury on the 2013 team he inherited, his attitude and thoughts on Tommy Tuberville's departure, and some thoughts on the search for his defensive coordinator.