Why Kingsbury is not leaving Texas Tech anytime soon

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The annual college football head-coaching carousel has begun to spin remarkably early this season as four FBS teams (Illinois, USC, South Carolina and Maryland) have all fired or lost their head coach mid way through the season. And one of the hot names being thrown about as a possible candidate to fill one of the open positions is that of Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Link

But Texas Tech fans should relax because Kingsbury is not going anywhere anytime soon.

For starters, Kingsbury is as emotionally invested in his current job as any coach in America.

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At his introductory press conference in December of 2012, Kingsbury referred to his two previous coaching stops, as an assistant coach at Houston and Texas A&M, as business decisions.

"“But being here now,” Kingsbury said, “this is personal to me, this is where I want to be.” Link"

As one of only seven current FBS head coaches coaching at his alma mater (Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern, Mike Gundy at Oklahoma St., David Shaw at Stanford, Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, Jim Harbaugh at Michigan and Paul Chryst at Wisconsin being the others), Kingsbury has a stronger personal stake in the success of his program. Making Texas Tech successful is not just about enhancing his resume, it is about making his alma mater proud and he is far from accomplishing what he wants to at Texas Tech.

Speaking of his accomplishments (or lack there of), Kingsbury’s relatively unimpressive head coaching resume is another reason he is not likely to be a candidate at schools like USC or South Carolina.

With a career record of only 17-15, Kliff Kingsbury lacks the skins on the wall that a big time program like USC will want its next head coach to have. It is also worth noting that USC has twice been burned by flashy young head coaches with little experience as the man in charge (Lane Kiffin 2010-2013 and Steve Sarkesian 2014-2015). Therefore, don’t expect USC to hire another coach of that ilk.

Likewise, South Carolina is now trying to replace a college football coaching legend in Steve Spurrier who has a national championship and seven conference championships to his name.

If and when Kingsbury accomplishes similar feats at Texas Tech, he will be an extremely sought-after candidate at high profile universities. But for now, many around the nation are waiting to find out if there is as much substance to Kingsbury as there is style.

Another factor ensuring that Kingsbury is at Texas Tech for the long haul is his contract. After a strong debut season in 2013, Kingsbury was rewarded with a contract extension through the year 2020. No other school will be willing to make that kind of commitment to the 36-year-old coach.

Kingsbury is guaranteed $24.2 million over the duration of the deal. Furthermore, he can earn yearly bonuses of up to $1.5 million per season. In all, Kingsbury could earn up to $34.7 million with his current contract.

To put it simply, Kingsbury has as much security at Texas Tech as he could ever hope to have at any job. His athletic director, Kirby Hocutt is his biggest supporter because Kingsbury was Hocutt’s first bold strike after being named AD at Texas Tech. And it is in Hocutt’s best interest to give Kingsbury every opportunity to succeed.

Meanwhile, other coaches with higher profiles and stronger resumes seem to be on the hot seat after just a few seasons on the job.

Prior to his team’s upset of Oklahoma, many were asking whether Texas head coach Charlie Strong would make it through his second year with the Longhorns. Unlike Kingsbury, Strong won two conference titles in the Big East and was named Big East coach of the year in 2010 and 2012.

Likewise, Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is feeling the heat in his third season with the school. Despite a resume that includes three Big 10 conference titles and a Big 10 coach of the year award, Bielema is likely coaching for his job in Fayetteville this season.

Kingsbury is beloved in Lubbock, Texas. Though the honeymoon between the head coach and the school has ended, Kingsbury is still the most popular person in West Texas. He has no reason to look over his shoulder or fear for his job. This is a luxury that almost any coach with a record hovering near .500 wishes he had.

The truth is that the Texas Tech head football coaching position is more of a stepping stone job than a destination job (just ask David McWilliams who left Texas Tech after only one season at the helm to be the head coach at the University of Texas in 1986.) But for Kliff Kingsbury, Jones Stadium is sacred ground and Texas Tech is home.

"“This is where I want to be and I couldn’t be happier,” Kingsbury said in a university press release after he singed his contract extension just last year.  “I can’t wait to take this thing to the next level.” Link"

As of now, Kingsbury is still trying to build the foundation of his program. He has not taken the program to the same heights as his own head coach Mike Leach did in the late 2000’s. And Kingsbury expects to do more than just duplicate Leach’s success. He expects to win big at Texas Tech.

Until that happens on a regular basis, Kliff Kingsbury’s job at Texas Tech will not be complete. And he does not seem to be the type of man to walk away from an unfinished job, especially one that means the world to him.

Next: Texas Tech's Tubby Smith Speaks at Conference Media Day