Thursday, January 14, 2010
McNeill, Riley sent packing in Texas Tech coaching change
By ESPN.com staff
The coaches who were most directly responsible for helping direct Texas Tech to the Red Raiders' victory over Michigan State in the Valero Alamo Bowl won't be a part of Tommy Tuberville's new staff.
Interim coach/defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill and inside receivers coach Lincoln Riley were among six coaches who were let go by Tuberville.
McNeill worked as the interim coach after Mike Leach was fired the week before the game. And Riley served as the Red Raiders' offensive coordinator, juggling the quarterback switch where Steven Sheffield was inserted in place of Taylor Potts in the middle of the fourth quarter to direct the comeback victory.
Other coaches from Leach's staff who won't be retained include running backs coach Clay McGuire, safeties coach Carlos Mainord, cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell and special teams coordinator Eric Russell.
Among former members of Leach's staff who survived the coaching switch included offensive line coach Matt Moore, defensive ends coach Charlie Sadler and Sonny Cumbie, who is a graduate assistant for the offense. Wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons also will be retained in some capacity with Tuberville's staff.
McNeill directed the transformation of the Red Raiders' defense over the last 2 1/2 seasons. The Red Raiders finished 2009 ranked fourth nationally in sacks, but only 94th in turnover margin.
Alabama associate head coach/linebacker coach James Willis appears to have the inside track on becoming Tuberville's new defensive coordinator. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that Willis has been Lubbock the last two days with his family attempting to get settled in the area.