Texas Tech All in with Kingsbury

How Kingsbury's contract extension could impact the program and recruiting.

Less than two full years into his initial Texas Tech contract, Kliff Kingsbury was offered and signed an extension that could keep him in Lubbock through the 2020 football season.

As of this writing the intricacies of the contract remain unknown, but it is known that Kingsbury’s salary will jump to $3.1 million in 2015. Various sources report that Kingsbury will receive a $200K raise each year after 2015, that the overall value of the contract could be as high as $34.7 million, and that in 2020 he will make $4.1 million. Additionally, it has been stated that Kingsbury is now the fourth highest paid football coach in the Big 12 behind Bob Stoops, Charlie Strong and Art Briles.

Not bad for a young man who has been a head coach for exactly 13 games.

Without knowing the details of the buyout clause and the extent to which Texas Tech would be required to still pay Kingsbury in the event the university fired him, a couple of things seem readily apparent.

The first is that Kirby Hocutt and every other administrator who was onboard with the extension is willing to roll the dice.

Kingsbury and his Red Raiders definitely showed some promise in 2013, going 8-5 and upsetting Arizona State convincingly in the Holiday Bowl. But the fact remains that Kingsbury’s track record as a head coach is exceedingly sparse and indeterminate.

Nobody can say with any degree of certainty just how well Kingsbury will do in the future. There simply is not enough evidence to make a concrete determination. Hocutt and company may have a very strong hunch that he will lead Tech to the Promised Land and justify the extension/raise, but it is nothing more than that. And hazarding millions of dollars of university treasure on little more than a hunch is most definitely a gamble.

Second, the powers that be have bought Kingsbury’s narrative. Kingsbury and his staff have indicated that they are trying to strike while their iron is hot. They understand that they have the “cool” factor working for them, and that this advantage accrues largely to their youth, tempting as it may be to think they are all a pack of Sonny Crocketts, James Bonds and Frank Sinatras.

But youth is a highly finite and perishable resource. Its glow and its halo will wane perceptibly as the coaches enter their late 30s and cease being part of the generation of the youngsters they are recruiting. What’s more, many coaches they will recruit against will be even younger—and hipper—than them.

What happens if Kingsbury and the Kinglings haven’t struck paydirt before the writ of their coolness goes void? Perhaps, just perhaps, they will have missed their one golden opportunity to storm the championship battlements when the gates were down. At that point, youth will no longer be on their side and they’ll just have to win a championship the old fashioned way like everybody else. Not the most appetizing scenario then.

But the reality is that the cool kids strategy is paying massive dividends on the recruiting trail right now. Already Tech has rock-solid commitments from two five-star recruits (perhaps the best prospects in the nation at QB and DT), and four four-star recruits. It is safe to say that Texas Tech football has never recruited this well, and coming on the heels of a fairly modest 8-5 season no less! How might Tech recruit next season if they win 10 games in 2014? Verily, it boggles the mind.

And clearly Hocutt and company are doing everything they can to help Kingsbury make hay while the sun is shining. Granting Kingsbury a generous contract extension only certifies in the minds of recruits that Kliff Kingsbury IS Tech football in the present, and he IS the future of Tech football. Now Kingsbury and his staff have another firing piece they can use in the rugged Texas football recruiting wars.

So the strategy seems clear on all fronts. Kliff Kingsbury is doing everything in his power to win big immediately, and Texas Tech University is supplying him with the resources to do just that. In the future there can be no excuses, only championships.

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