May 20, 2013 – Kirby Hocutt hires Candi Whitaker as Lady Raider basketball coach
Kirby Hocutt hardly had time to catch his breath after hiring Kingsbury when he was forced to make yet another head coaching hire. On March 11, 2013, Texas Tech women’s basketball coach Kristi Curry left abruptly for Alabama.
Taking a page out of the Tuberville playbook, Curry left as soon as her seat began to get warm. The woman who had been hired to take over for the legendary Marsha Sharp had struggled going 130-98 in Lubbock and overseeing the fall of the program from a national power to a middling Big 12 afterthought.
Hocutt again turned to a Red Raider alum as his choice. Former Lady Raider point guard Candi Whitaker, who played for two of Sharp’s Sweet 16 teams was brought on as the new head coach. After having been the head coach a UMKC at the age of 26, Whitaker had been on the Oklahoma State coaching staff as associate head coach prior to returning to Lubbock.
So far, many have been critical of this hiring by Hocutt. Whitaker has struggled to rebuild the Lady Raider program. However, it could be argued that the womens’ basketball program was in as bad of shape when Whitaker took over as was the mens’ program following the Billy Gillespie disaster.
Next year will be a pivotal season for Whitaker. With just a 34-58 record at Texas Tech, Whitaker is looking to next season as the point when the program turns around.
She will have virtually her entire roster returning and will add key transfers to the mix. Right now, this hire by Hocutt does not look good but he seems committed to Whitaker and is giving her time to reward that commitment.
But Whitaker’s hiring was just the prelude to a even bigger move Kirby Hocutt would make only a few weeks later.
Next: Another basketball hire