Texas Tech football: Is your ego more important than Red Raider football?

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 07: Running back Ta'Zhawn Henry #26 and head coach Matt Wells of Texas Tech stand in the tunnel before the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the UTEP Miners at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 07: Running back Ta'Zhawn Henry #26 and head coach Matt Wells of Texas Tech stand in the tunnel before the college football game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the UTEP Miners at Jones AT&T Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /

To the Texas Tech football fans who refuse to support this program because they didn’t get their way during last fall’s coaching change we ask, is your ego more important than seeing your school win?

Tuesday, I wrote a rebuttal to an article in which Don Williams of the Avalanche-Journal attributed the tens of thousands of empty seats at Saturday’s Texas Tech football game against TCU to a “not small” portion of the fan base that wants Matt Wells to fail.

While I still contend that the attendance issues stem more from a decade of bad football in Lubbock and declining interest in attending college football games among fans on a national scale, there have been more than a few Matt Wells detractors who have reached out to tell me just how much they hate the Red Raiders’ first-year head coach and that they do in fact hope he fails.

While I still don’t believe that there are enough people in that boat to cause the stadium to be at 50% capacity, I do acknowledge the way these fans feel.  I get the fact that you wanted someone else to lead this program.  So did I.

But what I can’t wrap my head around is why anyone would want any Texas Tech football head coach to fail.  Is that what we’ve come to?  Is our ego more important than the well-being of our university?  And make no mistake, the overall health of the football program benefits the entire school, not just the athletic department.

If you don’t like Wells, that’s fine.  I’m not here to convince you otherwise.  Personally, I have found him to be nothing but a decent man who has worked as hard as humanly possible to build this program.  He’s bought into everything that being a Red Raider is about, which hasn’t been the case with some of his most recent predecessors.  But sometimes, you just don’t like a coach.

I never liked Tommy Tuberville.  He just always came across to me as a carpet-bagger and as soon as he started openly complaining about Lubbock and Tech just months after his arrival, I was turned off.

But that didn’t stop me from supporting Texas Tech football.  At that time, I was living in Colorado and I still kept my season tickets and made every game.  Why?  Because I was able to remind myself that Texas Tech football is not about Tommy Tuberville, or Mike Leach, or Matt Wells, or any one person from the most anonymous fan to the freshman taking a history class in Holden Hall to a million-dollar booster.

It is bigger than any of us because it should be sum of all of us.  Sure, many of us wish we would have had some say in what Kirby Hocut did in last fall’s hiring search.  But we didn’t.

Just like most of us don’t have complete say over what happens in the company we work for, we have to live with Hocutt’s choice.  Somehow, we manage to get over that and support our company but we can’t find a way to pull for our university simply because the guy we didn’t want is the guy that Hocutt hired?  Really?

I remember when I was a student and the school hired Bob Knight as head basketball coach just a couple of years after he was accused of choking one of his players at Indiana.  At that time, many people also said that they were going to withhold their support of Tech athletics because they didn’t approve of that hire.

At least there was more concrete evidence to point to concerning Knight and his character as a reason for the disdain.  Wells has done nothing of the sort and before the Wells haters start crowing about the recent allegations made about his actions at Utah State, just stop.  We all know you had your minds made up about him long before that came to light.

Here’s what I can’t fully understand.  Why would any Red Raider want to see a guy like Gary Patterson saunter out of The Jones tugging up his khakis and sweating like a criminal in a lie-detector exam following a win the way he did Saturday?  In that same vein, how can anyone affiliated with Tech prefer to see Baylor’s Matt Rhule, who dresses like Teddy Ruxpin and pouts like a child who would own such a toy, prevail over any Tech coach?

The truth is that some people still have their feelings hurt.  But psychologists will tell us that the only way we can have hurt feelings is if we initially felt entitled to something and we didn’t get it.

I’m just a common fan.  I don’t donate anything to the program other than my season ticket revenue and too much money in t-shirts and hats for my wife’s liking.  Maybe that’s why I never felt like I should have any say in the process, to begin with.  I don’t feel entitled to any say.

But regardless of how prolific of a supporter one might be, if he actively roots for this program to continue to fail, he’s showing that his own ego, his desire to be proven right, is more important to him than his desire to see his alma mater succeed.  I just can’t grasp that.

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The reality that we all have to come to grips with is that Matt Wells is this program’s head coach and baring some sort of unforeseen scandal or a zombie apocalypse, he’s going to be in that position for at least the next three seasons.

This is Kirby Hocutt’s choice.  This is the coach that he’s staked his reputation on because this is his third shot at hiring a successful head coach and for the sake of his legacy and career, he has to get this one right.  Thus, he’s certain to give Wells as much time as he possibly can because…like many of you…his ego makes him want to be proven right.

So to the vocal minority that is actively rooting for Wells to fail, who are withholding support from the program the claim to love because of a personal grudge, I simply ask; is it worth it to continue to protest in vain in the hopes of eventually being proven right all the while teams like TCU and Iowa State leave The Jones with a win, in large part, because of a lack of a home-field advantage in the stadium?

What if you are proven right?  What if Wells is fired after next season?  What then?  Will you take joy in watching this program take yet another step back as it undergoes its fourth coaching change since 2009?

My favorite professor at Texas Tech, Dr. Carl Anderson, used to say that in life “inconsistency is a crazy-maker”.  That wisdom can certainly be applied to college athletics as well and that’s why coaching changes shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Matt Wells’ succeeding is the best possible outcome for every Texas Tech fan.  If he doesn’t win, the current malaise that this program finds itself in will only continue for a least another two or three seasons after he’s gone.  Personally, I can’t stand the thought of the Red Raiders remaining irrelevant for that long.

I don’t know if Wells will pan out.  I wanted to see Dana Holgorsen lead this program but given the circus he’s run at Houston so far, I’m not so sure that would have been a wise move.

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Coaching hires are a random shot in the dark.  Even if Wells fails, there’s no Nick Saban or Lincoln Riley waiting to save this program.  So it would be best for all of us if the current coach proves to be the right hire.  Even for those among us who care to be right more than they care to see their alma mater succeed.