While the 1960 season ended in one of Tech’s worst records ever with just one win and one tie, it also brought about a change in coaches. Gone was DeWitt Weaver and in came former Tech assistant, JT King. King entered the fray uncelebrated as many Tech faithful wanted a “big name” coach. However, as Polk Robinson, AD, tells it, “we were so broke at that time that we had to get permission from the Administration to make a long distance phone call.”
Born in 1922 in Wilmott, Arkansas, JT had played offensive guard for famed Dana Bible at Texas and began his coaching career at Kennedy High School south of San Antonio. He gained respect at Enid High School in Oklahoma putting up several very good teams. With stints at Tulane, Texas A&M and at UT, King arrived at Tech in 1957 as an assistant to Weaver.
Only 50 players greeted King in the spring of 1961. Underfunded and with little to pick from, King’s first season resulted in a record of 4-6. His next few years were not much better, but he was able to begin the long recruiting process to bring in better players. Over his nine seasons at Tech he was able to rein in the likes of no less than five All-Americans including Donny Anderson from Stinnett, Phil Tucker from Tulia, Kenny Vineyard from Amarillo High, Denton Fox from Claude, as well as Dave Parks from famed Abilene High Eagles coach Chuck Moser. He is also credited with signing Danny Hardaway, Texas Tech’s first black football player.
JT (the initials did not stand for anything), or “Jake” as he was called by his close friends, managed in his last four years to gain the respect of the Southwest Conference by beating Texas in Austin in 1967 by a score of 19-13 and again in 1968, 31-22 in Lubbock.
In 1970 King was named AD and began in ernest to find a new Head Football Coach, finally settling on West Virginia’s Jim Carlen. He remained on as Athletic Director at Tech until 1978. He passed in January, 1993, but not before being inducted in the the UT Athletics Hall of Honor in 1981.