It's sure funny how things work out. About this time seven years ago I had just finished covering spring camp for Mike Leach's 2004 Red Raiders as an employee of an early instantiation of RaiderPower. That gig, nice though it was, petered out directly after Sonny Cumbie and his mates powdered the much-vaunted Cal Golden Bears in the Holiday Bowl.
Fast forward to September, 2005. My wife and I, fresh out of graduate school, had just purchased our first home together, and as is often the case in that situation, were slightly apprehensive about making ends meet with a new mortgage hanging over our heads. But as seems to happen so frequently during times of concern, aid and comfort arrived like a bolt from the blue. I received a phone call, and the offer of a job covering Tech athletics for RedRaiderSports.
Thus began a satisfying six-year run reporting extensively on Red Raider football and basketball.
This particular stint began with the emergence of Dwayne Slay (probably the best Red Raider defender since Zach Thomas) and a gut-wrenching loss to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl, and concluded with Tommy Tuberville's first season on the High Plains and a wild win over Northwestern in the TicketCity Bowl.
Then coincidence struck like a thunderbolt. My better half and I had drawn up real and legally binding plans to close on our second house after which my writ with RedRaiderSports drew to an abrupt halt. But just as happened in 2005, help arrived in the form of a new commission covering Texas Tech sports, this time with old friend RaiderPower.
And so I have come full circle and am delighted to have done so. I've accrued a sizable fund of experience and have had the pleasure of getting to know dozens of Red Raider players, coaches and administrators.
I have also witnessed a tubful of remarkable games and many moments of high drama. As I'm sure all Red Raiders will agree, for instance, it was a tremendous blessing to be in The Jones when Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree and the entire region of West Texas knocked off the No.1 Texas Longhorns before a prime time national audience in one of the greatest games in college football history.
I've got a feeling we're poised for many similarly thrilling moments in the future, and in manifold different sports.
In his first season, Tommy Tuberville did not drop the ball but instead kept it rolling. He ensured that the Red Raiders kept to their winning ways and to their bowling habits.
Now, in his second season, the Tuberville foundation has begun to set and a magnificent façade has begun to appear in the form of what could turn out to be Tech's finest recruiting class in history. Early enrollees Ronnie Daniels, Blake Dees, and Marcus Kennard served notice that at least three members of this class will help immediately. And with the likes of Jace Amaro, Jakeem Grant, Desimon Green, Branden Jackson, Leon Mackey and Tony Morales due to arrive in August, an already solid Red Raider squad could be jolted to the next level.
Basketball too is very much on the rise. Billy Gillispie is a wonder-worker and you can be certain that Red Raider hoops won't languish long under his direction. Expect them to be competitive next season, and downright dangerous the year after.
And Kristy Curry may finally have gotten ahead of the curve with her Lady Raiders. Coach Curry unexpectedly led a very young squad to the NCAA tournament, and her team should be among the preseason favorites to win the Big 12 in 2011/12.
In short, excitement galore is ahead for Red Raider fans in the immediate future. And I'm honored to do what I can to help bring it to you on the top-tier forum known as RaiderPower.