Red Raiders everywhere are in near-universal agreement that Kliff Kingsbury becoming head coach of the football team that he once led on the gridiron is a pretty cool story. Kliff is not alone amongst current coaches at Tech in being a former player turned head coach. Current women’s head basketball, Candi Whitaker, is another example of that scenario. College sports are littered with former players coming back to their school and coaching. However, many of those people never obtain that third leg of the athletics career “Triple Crown”, Athletic Director. However, Gerald Myers is one of the people who have achieved that “Triple Crown”.
While earning his bachelor’s degree in education from 1956-1959, Gerald was a three-year letterman on the Tech basketball team. As a guard, he became the first Texas Tech athlete to be named to the All-Southwest Conference for his efforts in the 1958 season. He has also a cool customer under stress. The 1957-1958 season saw him shoot 86.7% from the free throw stripe. Despite his individual successes, the Red Raiders did not make an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. During the next phase of his career at Tech, that would change.
After earning his Master’s degree from Tech, Gerald went into the coaching world. Following a short stint coaching at Lubbock Monterey High School, he became the second head coach of the men’s basketball team at Houston Baptist University. In his three years there, he posted a 32-43 record. Following the conclusion of the 1969-1970 season, he returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach under Bob Bass. That did not last long. The Red Raiders stumbled out of the gate, posting a 3-8 record to start the season. Bob Bass resigned and Gerald Myers was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season. As the interim head coach, the team posted an 8-5 record. Gerald was rewarded for his efforts and named the head coach. In the 20 years under his direction, the Texas Tech basketball team turned into a consistent winner. Four times (1973, 1976, 1985, 1986) he guided Tech to NCAA Tournament berths. Three of those four seasons Texas Tech was the Southwest Conference champions (1976, 1985, 1986). Perhaps, his top season was 1976. In addition to the SWC championship, Tech advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 1962. Following four consecutive losing seasons, he resigned in 1991 with an overall record of 326-261.
The Athletic Director:
Upon his resignation as head basketball coach, Gerald became an assistant athletic director. He would hold this position until June 11, 1997. On that date he was named Athletic Director for a troubled Texas Tech athletics division. The late 1990s saw Tech investigated by the NCAA for infractions. Infractions were found and many Tech programs were hit with loss of scholarships and post-season eligibility. He would lead the athletics program out from under the rug, and in a big way. Under his reign, Texas Tech began it’s “golden age” for athletics. In 1996 the athletics’ operating budget was $9 million. In 2006, it had increased to $42 million. SBC (now a part of AT&T) was brought on as title sponsor of the football stadium, which led to much-needed renovations to the Jones. A new basketball arena, United Spirit Arena, opened in 1999. He brought in Bobby Knight to revive the men’s basketball program, which led to four NCAA Tournament appearances in Knight’s six full seasons there. In 2004, the four “major” (football, men & women basketball, and baseball) sports all received NCAA post-season bids. The Olympic sports won multiple Big 12 championships during his tenure at Texas Tech. What he may, infamously, be best-known for is as the AD who fired Mike Leach, following the allegations that Mike allegedly mistreated a player. However, it is important to note that Gerald was also the man who hired Mike Leach and with that hiring began the best run in program history. In 2010, Gerald Myers announced his retirement as AD for the Red Raiders.
Next time you are at a Tech home basketball game and see the banner for Gerald Myers, think about all the great work he did for Texas Tech athletics. He truly is a legend for Texas Tech. Plus, he might be the only person whose tenure at Texas Tech is longer than that of the famous Mass Communication professor, Dr. Bill Dean. That itself is quite an accomplishment! Just think of all the change that Gerald has seen at Texas Tech from his first day on campus to now. Listening to him tell stories about the growth alone he has seen would be enough to entertain Red Raiders for quite a while. GUNS UP to Gerald Myers!
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