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December 12, 2012

Kingsbury perfect fit to lead Texas Tech


MORE: Familiar face for Tech

Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

To get to Lubbock -- or the Hub City as it is known to locals -- you have to want to be going there.

That prevailing thought led Texas Tech to take a risk and hire one of its most storied players, Kliff Kingsbury, to take over as coach.

Chris Level covers the team for the website RedRaiderSports.com and said that the 33-year-old was the coaching move that made the most sense after Tommy Tuberville abruptly left for Cincinnati.

"It has been pretty nasty here since Mike (Leach) was fired," Level said. "Kliff was the best hire and maybe the only hire that could have been made."

Kingsbury was recruited to Texas Tech under Hall of Famer Spike Dykes and played under fan favorite Mike Leach. He cut his teeth in coaching under Dana Holgorsen -- a Leach disciple -- and Kevin Sumlin.

He spent his college playing days in the remote city and left with 39 school records, 13 Big 12 conference records, and seven FBS-level records; he returns with another record -- the youngest head coach in college football.

Ultimately, his history with the program was his greatest attribute.

"This was a fractured fanbase," Level said. "Kliff can tie it all back together. The old guard, the Leach fans, and the folks new to it all will welcome him in.

"I think Texas Tech realized that he was the right guy, right away. They had to look at it from a perspective that if the only knock against him is that he is too young, then it is better to take the chance and let him grow with them than against them."

Jason Howell covers recruiting in the state of Texas for Rivals.com. He said that Kingsbury will immediately bring a boost to the recruiting efforts of the Red Raiders.

"He was a recruit to the school and he played there so he knows all of the attractive things about the program," Howell said. "He will not need to fake it because he was sold on going to Lubbock and he can sell kids on going to Lubbock.

"More than that is that it isn't going to be the stepping-stone job that some other people may look at it as he will not be looking to move on after a couple of years. It is a great fit for him and for the school."

Texas Tech has 17 commitments for its Class of 2013 and that currently ranks ninth in the 10-team Big 12. It also ranks No. 55 nationally, which would be the program's lowest-rated class since Rivals.com began tracking recruiting classes with the Class of 2002 -- Kingsbury's last as a player.

Level said that the hire has been met with near universal approval.

"Facebook, Twitter, all of that stuff has been buzzing," he said. "People are really busting at the seams to have him back."

The rise from NFL castaway to BCS coach has been mercurial.

In 2011, only his fourth year in coaching, Kingsbury was named the Offensive Coordinator of the Year after his Houston offense lead college football, averaging 50 points and nearly 600 yards of offense per game.

This season while at Texas A&M he was instrumental in the development of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Jeff Tarpley covered Kingsbury for the website AggieYell.com and he told Rivals.com that most in College Station expected one more season with Kingsbury, but no more.

"I think everybody was prepared to lose him after next season," Tarpley said. "I think everybody assumed that the plan was that he would stay for next year, Johnny Manziel's sophomore campaign, that Texas A&M would make a serious run at a national title."

The plan changed when Kingsbury's alma mater came calling.

"It was appealing for him to come back to the school he played at," Howell said. "That says a lot as he was a very hot coaching name.

"He will sell kids on what they are used to seeing at Texas Tech. Neal Brown was allowed to be pretty open but it wasn't the same under Tuberville. Kingsbury will run a wide open offense and believe it or not it is important to recruits to know that the head guy is behind the philosophy."

Level said that more than the program getting back to its roots of an aerial assault is the drive and desire that Kingsbury will bring with him.

"Tech will never have to worry about marketing the program," Level said. "Kliff has so much energy and passion for it that he will feed the fans and really pump up the recruits.

"I figure he will hire a couple of young assistants and they will really be able to hit the ground running. After all it is a young man's game."



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