Whew! What an off-season it has been in the Hub City. Texas Tech fans experienced yet another bad breakup with its head football coach. Matt Wells joined the ranks of Tommy Tuberville and Kliff Kingsbury who ultimately could not get this football program back to any sort of national relevance (sans the occasional explosive offense). Now, Joey McGuire has taken over the position. And with the 2022 Texas Tech kickoff finally here, Red Raider nation gets their much anticipated first look at this football team.
Change Can Be Hard
“Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the wind of change carry us.” -Mimi Novic
There are not too many places where the winds can carry you like the ones found on the West Texas plains. After the Leach firing, coach Tuberville came in and was looking to SEC-fi the program. It was a change when the winds blew way too hard. It brought an abrasive feeling to the fan base. Sometimes it felt as if the Tuberville era was a bit of a slap in the face. Texas Tech ultimately discovered they truly were just a rebound job for ol’ Tommy as he ghosted a recruit mid-recruiting dinner to take the job at Cincinnati. The Red Raider fan base was once again left sitting alone wondering where the love is. But the next one would be true love because one of their own was coming back to save the day.
Red Hot Start, Just Like All New Relationships
Whew, *collects breath*, Texas Tech got a lot hotter of a program overnight when the Red Raiders were able to wrangle then Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury back to Lubbock. Texas Tech kickoff in 2013 brought a renewed passion to the program. The fan base fawned (literally and figuratively) over their new head coach. The Red Raiders started the season 7-0 and climbed to number ten in the AP poll. If you talked to any Texas Tech fan during that time, it was no different than talking to a friend in a new committed relationship. Lots of “Oh it’s so great. He/She just seems to get me. We don’t argue about anything. We can’t stop thinking about each other.” They are playing the “No, you hang up first” game. Texas Tech was destined to marry Kingsbury.
But then, Kingsbury loaded the dishwasher wrong for the first time. A close loss to Oklahoma that year wasn’t anything to worry about, but it was the first water on the flame of passion. Then it turns out we didn’t like his taste in television. By the end of the season, Tech had lost five straight. The relationship was officially strained for the first time. But thanks to a weekend getaway to San Diego, and a 37-23 Holiday bowl victory, things were back to being hot and heavy.
Texas Tech Kickoff Was Never The Same For Eight Straight Years
After the first season, the honeymoon phase officially came to an end. There were plenty of moments of excitement. The offense was always fun to watch. But, holy moly, was the defense atrocious at times. The relationship officially moved into the, “I still love him/her, but…this should be better.” Consecutive seasons of four, seven, five, six, and five and no more bowl wins lulled the fan base into looking past the good looks.
“It’s not you. It’s me.”
Texas Tech finally realized the relationship wasn’t working and fired Kingsbury after the 2018 season. Red Raiders were hurting because they wanted it to work so, so badly. But they knew to achieve more, a change was made.
Did Not Rebound At All
Matt Wells was brought on to take the program to the next step. Most of the fan base did not know much about him. But they were willing to trust athletic director Kirby Hocutt. “Wait, I’m going on a date with who?” “Don’t worry, are we not friends? This will be good for you.” Spoiler alert, it was not good for Texas Tech. Four-win season in the first two years inspired zero confidence. In fact, Wells almost didn’t make it through the Covid-shortened season things were so bleak. But the “I promise I can change, look at all these changes I’m going to make for us” lines came out. Changes to the coaching staff were finally going to build positive momentum for this team.
Even with five wins early in the season, and the brink of bowl eligibility, Tech fans and donors saw just how hollow those five wins were. Apathy had long set in and there still was no spark to this relationship. The final straw came with a collapse for the ages against Kansas State at home. Texas Tech was not going to be stuck in this blah relationship any longer. Wells was fired.
After an extensive search, Hocutt matched with a Texas high school coaching legend. Momentum had started to build for Joey McGuire weeks leading into the official announcement. Before the 2021 season ended, McGuire was officially announced. If Texas Tech fans were nervous about this new relationship, McGuire won everyone over quickly at his introductory press conference.
“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you… But trusting them not to.” -Unknown
Since that time, McGuire has built what would be the best recruiting class since 2011. He has expressed real passion for the job. All reports are he is as genuine in private as he is in public. New facility upgrades have been announced that will make the football facilities second to none. There is palpable optimism in the program for the first time since Kingsbury was hired.
It is clear that the fan base has healed emotionally from the Kingsbury relationship. They have thrown themselves all in from the jump with this new relationship. “THIS is the one. THIS one is different. I can feel it.” Even Anna from Frozen would co-sign that this is true love. Eventually, McGuire will make the bed wrong. Or he will inevitably pick the wrong place to eat. But none of that matters right now. The 2022 Texas Tech kickoff symbolizes true love for the fan base. Emotionally, the past three relationships have been taxing. But they have matured and know exactly what they want.
Season ticket sales are over 27,000 and another 600 season ticket purchases would mark a five-season high for the program. Red Raider nation is ready to fill the Jones up and be loud. That first Saturday tailgate is going to have more than just smoked meats and hoppy air circulating through it. The winds of change finally are bringing welcome relief to everyone. So get your Guns Up and Let’s Gooooooo into the 2022 season recklessly in love with where this program is going!