Today, a new era of Texas Tech football dawns as Joey McGuire makes his debut as head coach. That makes it the perfect day for those fans who have become jaded and apathetic about the program to come back into the fold. In other words, it is time to emotionally invest in the program once again.
If the last 12 seasons of slow decline have left you feeling numb, if the post-Leach sting of poor coaching hires has left you cynical, if the years of irrelevance have left you uninterested…I get it. And I don’t blame you.
The simple fact is that since the day Mike Leach was fired in late December of 2009, the Texas Tech football program has been a mess. Three consecutive poor head coaching hires have decimated what was once one of the more improbable success stories in college football. And along the way, a huge portion of the Red Raider populace became fed up with the follies that came to define this program, so they simply stopped caring.
Given the string of poor coaches that have led this program in the last decade-plus, it’s easy to see why so many Tech fans turned their loyalty to baseball and basketball. Tommy Tuberville never truly wanted to be in Lubbock and openly complained about the fans, the weather, and the facilities. Instead of trying to unify a fan base that was deeply divided by the Leach saga, he jumped ship for a Group of 5 job at the first chance he got.
Kliff Kingsbury was a popular hire as Tuberville’s replacement but he wasn’t ready to be a college head coach. What’s more, instead of being the face of Tech football, he became increasingly reclusive and isolated himself from the community as his tenure wore on. And there was the little problem that was his lack of effort on the recruiting trail, something that he admitted to after his firing.
Meanwhile, Matt Wells simply didn’t deserve a Big 12 head coaching job. And the fan base knew it from the start. What’s more, his seemingly endless string of in-game gaffes and his inability to pick up any momentum either on the field or on the recruiting trail was maddening and he quickly became the most unpopular Texas Tech football head coach of the modern era.
As a result, it’s felt like this fandom hasn’t been united since the early days of the Obama Administration. The closest we came to pulling in the same direction was the first year of the Kingsbury era (2013) but those good vibes quickly dissipated when Tech went 4-8 in Kliff’s second season on the job. And just a couple of years later, he would be at the center of a heated and painful debate about whether he deserved to keep his job.
The unfortunate reality is that Tech football has been a source of pain and embarrassment for 12 seasons. Along the way, programs such as Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State have raced past Tech in the conference hierarchy leaving Red Raider fans to wonder just how long this program’s decline is going to last.
The good news is that for those who still haven’t bought in fully, who still haven’t found a way to give their heart back to Texas Tech football, today is the day to do that. Today is when everyone who bleeds scarlet and black should come together and look toward a brighter future.
McGuire is different. There’s something intangible about him that makes him the most magnetic and intriguing Texas Tech head coach since Spike Dykes.
Unlike Tuberville, he considers Tech to be his dream job. Unlike Kingsbury, he’s embraced being the face of the program. Unlike Wells, he was wanted by the fan base.
So give your heart to Texas Tech football again. Sure, that’s a risky proposition and at times, you’ll wish you hadn’t. But that’s the beauty of sports.
Still, it is safe to once again hope for a Red Raider rebirth. After all, all the signs are there to suggest that this program is on a fast track towards being healthy once again.
McGuire has united the fan base before ever coaching a single game. He’s also working on a top-25 recruiting class for 2023. Meanwhile, over $200 million has been pledged to the program for facility upgrades since he was hired. What’s more, Tech boosters have built one of the nation’s most progressive and innovative NIL collectives.
When McGuire interviewed for the Texas Tech job, he showed up with a large binder, a personal gameplan detailing how he would turn around the program’s fortunes. He titled it “Waking a Sleeping Giant”.
Now, it’s time for Texas Tech fans to do their part in that process and wake back up as well. This is a new day, the dawn of a new era.
It’s time to come back to Texas Tech football and give all of your passion to what McGuire is building. It’s time to emotionally reinvest in the most important program on campus. It’s time to toss tortillas and get your guns up. It’s time to believe in the magic of Jones Stadium once more.
It’s game day in West Texas and the beauty of a new beginning, one that will finally see the Red Raiders return to national relevance, shines across the South Plains. So in the words of Coach McGuire…Let’s Gooooooooooo!