Never has a program been so closely identified with a particular offensive scheme or culture as Texas Tech has since 2000. When someone asks which program had the best offense in the last 10 years, Texas Tech is undoubtedly in the mix. Oh sure, programs have had good teams and offenses, but none with the consistency of the Red Raider football program. In our second look at former coaches who have taken the scheme and the culture from Lubbock and applied it elsewhere, we will find out just how far Tech's reach goes.
Ruffin McNeil (2000-2009), Currently: East Carolina Head Coach
McNeil started with Tech as LB's coach and though on the defensive side of the ball, his 10 years in Lubbock under Leach instilled the culture of Lubbock and Texas Tech. McNeil was beloved by the entire Red Raider team and soon thereafter, the fan base as well. In 2007, he took over as defensive coordinator for Tech and led the Red Raiders to an emotional 35-7 win over rival Texas A&M. The defensive improved so greatly under McNeil that Tech ranked 1st in total defense in Big XII play. At the end of the 2009 season, McNeil was named interim head coach for Tech's bowl game against Michigan State. A game which the team, fractured by the dismissal of Mike Leach, came together under McNeil's leadership and won 41-31. McNeil was considered for the Tech job, but ultimately was passed over in favor of Tommy Tuberville. McNeil wasn't out of a job for long as he soon after became the head coach of East Carolina University. Interestingly, McNeil's first order of business was to hire Tech interim offensive coordinator and IR coach, Lincoln Riley has his OC. Under McNeil's leadership, East Carolina has improved dramatically both offensively and defensively. In 2013, East Carolina won 10 games and has post wins of 8 or more in the last three seasons.
Lincoln Riley (2003-2009), Currently: University of Oklahoma Offensive Coordinator
Riley, finished his playing and academic career at Texas Tech in 2002. The following year he was hired on as a graduate assistant and in the years to follow became a the WR position coach for Tech from 2007-2009. After 2009, he joined Ruffin McNeil at East Carolina where his version of the Air Raid helped East Carolina rank 5th in total offense in 2014. Because of his success he was hired at the University of Oklahoma as their offensive coordinator.
Art Briles (2000-2002), Currently: Baylor Head Coach
Briles is yet another Texas Tech graduate on the list of coaches influencing college football today. He was hired by Mike Leach in 2000 to coach RBs and improved the rushing average from 66 yards a game to 99 yards a game by the time of his departure. In 2003, Briles took the head coaching job at the University of Houston where he started to turn the program around and make it the respectable offensive unit is to today (see also, Holgorsen and Kingsbury). In 2008, he was hired as Baylor's Head Coach and helped get Baylor off the door mat in the Big XII. It took a couple of years, but Briles turned Baylor into a juggernaut of late, including ranking 1st in total offense last year. (According to many Baylor fans, Baylor football didn't exist until a Texas Tech grad took over the program).
Sonny Cumbie (2009-2013), Currently: TCU Co-Offensive Coordinator
After being the second 5th year senior QB to start for Tech in 2004, between BJ Symons in 2003 and Cody Hodges in 2005, and leading Texas Tech to a Holiday Bowl victory over #4 ranked Cal, Cumbie, spent the next several years trying to make his playing career work before taking a job under Mike Leach as a graduate assistant. Over the next several years, he not only would grow in offensive coaching prowess, he would survive not one, but two coaching staff changes and remain as offensive coordinator under Kliff Kingsbury in 2013. In 2014, he was hired by Gary Patterson to try and reinvigorate a TCU program struggling in the Big XII. It didn't take long, TCU ranked tied for 5th in total offense with East Carolina. (Interesting note, Cumbie's co-offensive coordinator Doug Meachum learned the same offense at Oklahoma State under Dana Holgorsen's instruction.)
Bill Bedenbaugh (2000-2006) - University of Arizona and currently University of Oklahoma OL coach
Robert Anae (2000-2004) - BYU Offensive Coordinator
In our final installment, we will take a look at The Man and The Legend.