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Kliff Kingsbury is the George Strait of College Football

Why Kliff Kingsbury is the George Strait of college football.


It is funny how these things happen.

The past few weeks, I was reading all sorts of good things. I promised myself that I wouldn't pick up a novel until I had read a as much as I could from saving things via Pocket (this is an app to save things to read later and if you don't have this, it's just terrific).

So I was reading this article from Fast Company about the secret to creativity, intelligence and scientific thinking and the short answer about creativity is that creativity is really about connecting the dots in our brains to various ideas. Here's Steve Jobs to explain much better than me:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.


That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.

I thought to myself, "Wow, that's really simplistic, but all very true."

I had bee putting off this Texas Monthly feature on George Strait, but decided to give it a whirl because I was running out of things to read. I wasn't putting it off for any reason other than I just wasn't sure how interested I would be while making it rain on the elliptical. Well, it was fantastic.  If you like George Strait, and who doesn't, then this is a great read about how he started.  The funny thing is that there isn't a quote from Strait in the entire article, but I still loved it. Halfway through the article, there was this passage about how Strait essentially became a household name in country music (emphasis mine):

That was 1984. If you were a country fan in Texas at the time, the idea that there might be any resistance to George Strait was unimaginable. I was a junior at Austin’s Westlake High School back then, and as far as I could tell, Strait was everywhere. His image hung at the boot store and in record shops, his music played over the PA between innings at baseball games and blared out of pickup trucks in the parking lot after school. There was a good-looking cashier at the grocery store who never asked for an ID when I tried to buy beer, chiefly because I always asked to see the backstage snapshot of her and Strait that she seemed to carry at all times. Then my friends and I would drive to vacant lots, drink the beer on open tailgates, and listen to George (the fact that his first name indicated "Strait" and not "Jones" proved he’d already crossed a key threshold for us). He had the exact appeal that Nashville execs always claim to be looking for: girls wanted to be with him, and guys wanted to be like him. One by one my friends and I made the leap from Levi’s and Tony Lamas to Wranglers and Justin ropers.

Dots connected.

That's it.  I've heard of that quote and about the appeal of certain folks and for Kingsbury, it's clear that he's got that appeal, but could never really figure out how to put it in words.  It's clear that Kingsbury has that certain appeal, but I've always somewhat struggled as to how to figure out why that was the case, despite the fact that Kingsbury's appeal is generally staring all of us in the face.  I read that quote, it just made a heck of a lot more sense.

It isn't any secret the reason why the girls love him and I have no problem admitting that.  The funny thing is that normally, this sort of thing would absolutely make guys want to resent him, especially guys from West Texas that appreciate a hard days work and that life doesn't come very easy, but that's not the case with either of them.

Fortunately for Kingsbury, he fits that bill too and it's why he's so endeared to Texas Tech fans. He is hard working. He gets up at 4:00 am and starts his day without distraction.  He looks up to and talks about his mother that passed away at an all too-young age. He remembers her spirit in interviews consistently.  Kingsbury appreciates his father, his first coach, who comes from a military background and where Kingsbury probably learned that success is about hard work.

So yes, I just wrote 700 or so words to write about how Kliff Kingsbury is college football's version of George Strait and this isn't some sort of bombshell that's intended to be overly insightful. More of an "ah ha" moment more than anything else.  Kingsbury's likability is directly related to the fact that me, as a guy, love the fact that he works hard and is successful and none of us resent him because he's basically like George Strait, but he probably can't sing worth a darn.