Counting down the top 10 Texas Tech coaches of the Big 12 era

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Texas Tech Red Raiders mascot “Raider Red”. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

In the Big 12 era, these are the top 10 Texas Tech coaches regardless of sport.

College athletics differ from professional sports in many ways.  Most notably is the fact that in just about every sport, the coach is the face of the program.

With players guaranteed to last no more than just a handful of years with any school, college sports fans are more apt to fall in love with coaches rather than players.  That’s why people like Alabama’s Bear Bryant, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, and so many other legendary head coaches have come to be the defining figures in their school’s history.

It makes sense too because sports are the introduction most of America gets to a university.  For proof, just consider how applications for admission to Texas Tech more than doubled in April of 2019 over the previous April.  Why?  Because that was when Chris Beard’s basketball program reached the National Title Game.

Now, even coaches in non-revenue generating sports are seeing their stock…and salary rise.   In fact, those coaches have seen their rate of pay increase almost as much as football coaches.

According to an article by Steve Berkowitz, “USA TODAY Sports examined the total compensation each of the Power Five public schools reported paying head coaches in 23 sports other than football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball in 2013 and 2018. Including salaries, benefits and bonuses, the combined compensation for those coaches grew by about 43% over that time.

“The rate of increase those schools reported for their football head coaches over that time was almost 51%.”

Of course, this only makes it tougher for college athletic programs to make ends meet.  That’s because the rate of those coaches’ salary increases only puts their programs further in the hole financially, a hole that has to be filled by sports such as football and men’s basketball.

But when a coach brings home championships, his or her salary is forgotten about unless it is the subject of fans’ concern over their school’s ability to keep that coach in the fold.  After all, has anyone ever heard a fan complain that a title-winning coach is being paid too heavily?

However, the current global pandemic might put the brakes on coaching salary inflation.  Already, coaches across the nation are taking pay cuts.

Time will tell if that happens in the Big 12 though.  Certainly, if the 2020 football season is interrupted, delayed, or altogether canceled, it will take its toll across the board.

But for now, let’s put that off for another day.  Rather, let’s continue to celebrate 25 years of Big 12 athletics by looking at the 10 best Texas Tech coaches in the Big 12 era of the program.

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