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The Man for the Job

Texas Tech gets it right

Photo CC: Texas Tech Athletics

Red Raider Basketball has enjoyed a great run of late. The sudden change of April 1st represented a pivotal moment. The University of Texas and its new coach attempted to uproot the entire program, move it to Austin, and claim it as UT’s own. For a moment, many thought they might be able to do that. Most of Beard’s assistant coaches departing, players entering the transfer portal, etc. All seemed lost, except for one tidbit of news that Beard’s best assistant didn’t hop on that plane to Austin.

Texas Tech’s warranted anger with the extremely hasty and questionable exit of a guy who had it all. The fan base needed a rallying point that was rooted in hope instead of hate. Coach Adams is exactly that.  Multiple former players immediately voiced their support of Adams as the prospective head coach.  Tech fans heard through the grapevine about how Adams was still in Lubbock rejecting the overtures from Austin.  All of Texas Tech began to seriously consider how qualified and deserving Adams was of the job.

Adams’ defense at Tech and his Junior College coaching stints are legendary in basketball circles. He has proven success as a head coach and as an assistant HC at the very highest level of college basketball. He has the strong support of his players, both former and current. As of this writing, there remain a few tug-of-war situations. Both Kyler Edwards and Kevin McCullar immediately voiced that they would be staying at Tech with the news of Adams being named HC.

It is still early in what will undoubtedly be a hectic offseason. Retaining some key pieces of the roster is a huge win for Coach Adams and Tech’s chances for continued success. Every player, recruit, and prospect for Texas Tech is now also being courted to Austin.

Each player that chooses to don a Tech jersey next year is important to avoid potentially having to play against them on an opposing Big XII team. There remains a Big XII rule on the books for intra-conference transfers sitting a year. Likely, any new additions to the UT roster will easily obtain the Big XII’s blessing on appeals. Time will tell what Adams is without Beard and vice versa. One program is known for doing more with less and the other is known for doing less with more. Despite the privilege UT has working for it at all times, the better bet may be on a man of substance at the place of substance.

What a former coach purported himself to be until demonstrating otherwise is what Coach Adams is in actuality. Mark Adams has his toughness roots in being a Golden Glove boxer. He once owned the Lubbock Cotton Kings minor-league hockey team. His childhood pit bull Sugarfoot was the inspiration behind the “street dog” mantra of Texas Tech Basketball. Conversely, UT’s new coach recently put on display several of the qualities that have arguably limited the Longhorn program over the years from achieving what the Red Raider basketball program has.

Still, Texas Tech’s focus should remain on itself, as anything the Red Raiders can do to build on the program’s present quality will also be felt beyond West Texas. The infrastructure for success is very much in place, with world-class facilities, a raucous fanbase, and existing momentum. With a coach in Adams who appears more than capable of being a fantastic fit. He has proven not to be interested in supposedly greener pastures the sky remains the limit.

Tech’s primary candidates for the head coaching job came down to a guy who will likely be an NBA head coach soon and very arguably the best assistant HC in all of college basketball speaks to the overall strength of the program in Lubbock.  Either man would be a tremendous hire for anyone, and Tech couldn’t have gone wrong either way.  Adams being the choice should afford the program maximum continuity through the transition.  There will unavoidably be changes. However, mitigating the turnover is a worthwhile effort for a program that certainly doesn’t need to mess too much with a good thing.  Coach Adams is off to a fine start.

For Mark Adams, this is his dream job. This is his home, and he is a Red Raider. Adams is as real as they come. Texas Tech and Lubbock will warmly embrace Adams as head coach. The chip that the culture of Red Raider basketball thrives on just became larger. A fire has been lit under an already passionate fanbase to fully get behind a leader who remained true to Tech, Lubbock, and West Texas. There may well come a day soon when the bully regrets the sucker punch that prompted the Tech community to prove how much it’s willing to fight for basketball. Coach Adams quite literally isn’t afraid to throw hands. He is also backed by a fanbase with the motivation and grit to stand firmly with him. Texas Tech seems more than ready for the fight.

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