Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Look for these names to emerge as Tech candidates
By David Ubben
Texas Tech officials plan to move quickly to fill the position vacated when Mike Leach was fired. Under Texas state law, the opening will need to be posted for at least 10 days, meaning it is still several days from being filled.
Chancellor Kent Hance plans to take an active role in the hiring. Here's a look at some of the most prominent names you'll be hearing about in the next several days:
- Baylor coach Art Briles: He played at Houston, but graduated from Texas Tech and coached there three seasons as Leach's original running backs coach before starting his head coaching career at Houston in 2003. His offensive ideas mesh well with what the Red Raiders' current philosophy. He also has the added benefit of being well-known and popular among high school coaches after winning four state championships at Stephenville High School.
- Texas Tech defensive coordinator/interim head coach Ruffin McNeill: Arguably the most popular sports figure in Lubbock -- even bigger than Leach. His transformation of the Tech defense has been the team's underrated strength over the past two seasons. He's also beloved by players and respected by other members of the school's administration. His hiring would be the easiest transition in the program, especially in maintaining recruiting continuity.
- Former Auburn/Mississippi coach Tommy Tuberville: Tuberville was out of coaching this season after he resigned at Auburn after last season. Insiders say he's itching to get back into college football and would be interested in the Tech job. He's familiar with Texas recruiting after coaching at Texas A&M in 1994.
- Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora: Born in College Station, Fedora has the background to be interested in coming to Tech. He was head coach at Garland High School for four seasons before serving as an assistant for six seasons at Baylor and three seasons at Oklahoma State before taking the Golden Eagles' head coaching job in 2008. He's led them to back-to-back trips to the New Orleans Bowl in his first two seasons there.
- Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes: A former baseball player at Tech, Dykes would appeal to many locals because his father is Spike Dykes, who coached there immediately before Leach. Sonny Dykes was on Leach's staff for seven seasons before he left to join Mike Stoops' staff at Arizona in 2007.