A former Red Raider shortstop, Red Raider quarterback and
Lady Raider point guard.
If taking a quick glance at that list, some might think it
is the list of candidates to be inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Fame.
They very well might end up in that prestigious group one
day but for now the three are the current head coaches for Red Raider baseball,
football and Lady Raider basketball.
Since taking over as Tech’s Athletic Director, Kirby Hocutt
has definitely been trying to keep it in the family when it comes to the last
three of four hires he has made.
After Dan Spencer couldn’t get the job done with a roster
that boasted nine Major League Baseball draft picks, Hocutt handed over the
reigns to Tim Tadlock.
Tadlock played baseball at Tech for former Red Raider great
Larry Hays, playing 120 games, batting .289 and going 28-for-41 in stolen base
attempts while helping Tech to its first-ever 40-win season in 1991.
After starting in the junior college ranks leading the
Grayson Vikings to back-to-back National Championships in 1999 and 2000 and a
successful tenure at Oklahoma, Tadlock returned to Lubbock and eventually got
handed his first division one head-coaching job.
Following the quick exit by Tommy Tuberville to Cincinnati,
Hocutt went and got arguably the quickest rising coach in the football ranks in
Kingsbury, who has been arguably one of the most popular
hires at Tech in the past decade, was a former gunslinger with the Red Raiders
and etched his name into the record books.
The second all-time leader in passing is only the third
player in NCAA history to record more than 12,000 passing yards and total
offense and more than 1,000 completions in his career.
After successful stints at the University of Houston and
Texas A&M, where he coached quarterbacks like Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel, Kingsbury will try and find the same success here at his alma mater.
And with the most recent hire, after Kristy Curry rolled to
Alabama taking the job to lead the Crimson Tide women’s basketball program,
Hocutt once again went with a former Tech Athlete in Candace Whitaker.
Whitaker played for Marsha Sharp from 2000-2002 and in that
stretch helped get the Lady Raiders to the Sweet 16 in 2001 and 2002 playing
the point guard position.
After six successful seasons at UMKC as a head coach, being
the youngest coach in the country when she was hired at age 26, Whitaker has
had a quick rise being an assistant coach at Oklahoma State for a season and
now the head coach of the Lady Raiders.
Some schools have started to go with this trend when hiring
new coaches in trying to grab alum of the program.
When Kingsbury was introduced in December, he called the
decision a personal one and the other, to go to Texas A&M with Kevin
Sumlin, was a business decision.
Another point that Kingsbury has made during the past few
months has been the ability to tell recruits what it will be like in Lubbock,
considering he and five other coaches on the staff have been through it.
Now if that’s the angle that Whitaker takes when speaking to
recruits, who knows but what will make each of the hires a success will be the
results on the field and court.
Kingsbury and Whitaker have some time still before they take
the stage with their new-look programs but the success has already worked with
Tadlock took over the Red Raider baseball program a year ago
after a dismal 2011-2012 campaign that saw Tech left out of the Big 12
In his first season at the helm of the Red Raiders, Tech
went 25-28 overall and 9-15 in Big 12 play which was an improvement in league
play after only winning seven games in conference last season.
Now no one knows if Kingsbury will be able to get the Red
Raider football program not only in a bowl but a more prestigious bowl or if Whitaker
will get the Lady Raiders to the NCAA tournament and win a game in 2013.
But one thing that can be marked down already as a win is
the fan base as bringing back former Red Raiders and now a Lady Raider seems to
have reenergized the fan base in Lubbock.
Now time will tell if the hires can be marked down as
successes in three to five years.
That’s when the question, if hiring former players, as head
coaches will be answered, and it will be answered in wins and losses, bowl
appearances, tournament appearances and ultimately conference championships.