Does it matter where a coach is from?
With baseball Tim Tadlock's 4-0 start to the season, I started to think about this idea of what makes a successful coach and maybe more particularly, what makes a successful coach at Texas Tech.
I remember when Dan Spencer was hired, I couldn't help but think that he had a tremendous pedigree who had so much going for him as the pitching coach for an Oregon St. team that had just gone to the College World Series. Spencer was a Texas Tech alum and he was the exact same hire that I think I would have made. Spencer had success as a pitching coach at Oregon St. and it just seemed to make sense. The biggest downside looking at things now is that he didn't have the Texas connections. He didn't know all of the Texas baseball coaches and I'd bet that it took some time to get to know all of them and for them to trust him as a coach and figure out what he was about.
Spencer didn't work out. I don't know if it was a talent issue or something else. I really don't. I'm not good at judging baseball talent other than looking at the wins and losses at the end of the day. Now enters Tim Tadlock. Also a Texas Tech alum, but the difference between the two is that Tadlock has been grinding in West Texas and the Texas area high schools and JUCO's for almost his entire coaching career. From Hill County, to Grayson County, Tadlock recruited this area for more than a decade.
You could make similar comparisons to Shanon Hays, who has been ingrained in the area, cutting his teeth at Lubbock Christian, and was an assistant basketball coach for the men's team under James Dickey for a couple of season. Go ahead and throw Kliff Kingsbury into the mix as well. Not from the area, but spent a large part of his life in Lubbock, has been coaching and recruiting Texas for almost all of his coaching career.
So is there something to that? The idea that a coach needs to be from the area, or have connections to and around Texas to really be successful?
Mike Leach and Tommy Tuberville were not from Texas and really didn't have any connection to Texas other than Leach coaching at OU and Tuberville coaching at TAMU. One got it, the other didn't. Kristy Curry is from Louisiana and had a lot of success at Purdue, but she's never really replicated that success at Texas Tech.
The men's basketball team is about to be faced with that very decision soon. Chris Walker is huge in the AAU basketball scene in the Houston area and he obviously knows the Dallas area as well, with visits from Keith Frazier and Kendal Yancy-Harris at the very least visiting the area. Walker is from the Houston area, so he definitely has connections and fits the bill in terms of having a clear understanding of the area. Walker also was an assistant coach at New Mexico for a couple of years, so he knows the area.
Is it important that the next men's basketball coach have ties to Texas? There are obviously plenty of really good coaches that don't have any ties to Texas. You could find incredible coaches at mid-major programs across the nation, in the midwest in particular, that have a very good coaching pedigree, enough to be considered as a head coach at Texas Tech.
So does it matter that the next head coach should be from Texas or have Texas ties?