Wednesday, June 12, 2013
First-year challenges for Kliff Kingsbury
By David Ubben
We're looking at first-year coaches across the country today, and the challenges ahead of the new guys in each league.
There's only one in the Big 12, but here's what I tab as the biggest challenge awaiting Kliff Kingsbury:
Expectations are the biggest hurdle for Kingsbury
It's not every day fans pile into the streets to celebrate a coaching hire, but when Texas Tech AD Kirby Hocutt posted a short video on Twitter of Kingsbury flashing a Guns Up to officially announce his new job, that's exactly what the Texas Tech faithful did.
Yeah, it was a celebration, but they were celebrating what was to come. A program legend was coming home, but he was bringing with him the promise that brighter days were to come. Mike Leach teams won at least nine games in four of his final five seasons. Tommy Tuberville never hit that mark in three seasons as the Red Raiders coach.
The fans' memories of and love for Kingsbury will give him a longer leash and more support than Tuberville received, but this is far from a rebuilding project. While Texas Tech struggled to a five-win season in 2011, the 2012 record was 8-5. Kingsbury was hired to take Texas Tech to the next level. He has a good roster, but not a roster that looks like a Big 12 title contender. He has to build through recruiting, but in 3-5 years, if Kingsbury hasn't carried the Red Raiders to a 10-win season or two, he's going to find the fan base restless. That's a tough task, and not one many coaches have to deal with. For a competitor like Kingsbury, it's surely a welcome challenge. But among Big 12 coaches, only Bob Stoops, Mike Gundy, Mack Brown and maybe Gary Patterson face the pressure of living up to those kinds of expectations.