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In Praise of Kirby Hocutt

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Kirby Hocutt has done wonders for this Athletic Department. He's done wonders for the fans, too.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

On December 8th, 2012, Tommy Tuberville was announced as the new head football coach of the Cincinatti Bearcats. It was a shocking move for those of us who did not understand Tommy Tuberville's reputation as a mercenary, but for those of us who did, it wasn't surprising. Four days later, the story of Tuberville leaving recruits at dinner broke. Still angry at the sudden departure, Texas Tech fans were worked up into a frothing rage at the man who excused himself to go to the bathroom and never returned. Tuberville might as well have vanished into the toilet for all the deserved crap he caught.

In the first instance of Kirby Hocutt not screwing around, Kliff Kingsbury was announced as the head coach of Texas Tech later that day. It was a complete and total domination of the hiring process, and it wouldn't be Hocutt's last. Kingsbury was embraced with loving arms immediately by the Red Raider faithful, and despite a sub par 2014 season, has had moderate success so far at Texas Tech.

When Billy Gillespie retired amidst a firestorm of allegations of misconduct and NCAA sanctions, Kirby found Tubby Smith. Even after everything that went down in his eventual departure, I think it's hard to argue that Smith didn't improve this program. For the time he was here, it was a good hire. He brought us from perennial underdog to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.

On April 14th, Tubby Smith took the Memphis job. In less than 24 hours, Kirby Hocutt was visiting Chris Beard, the freshly minted head coach at UNLV. In less than 48 hours, Texas Tech was holding a press conference naming Chris Beard the new head coach of Texas Tech's Men's Basketball team.

Kirby Hocutt has earned a reputation of not just hiring great coaches, but also hiring Red Raider faithful. Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably knew that Kliff Kingsbury played football at Texas Tech before he coached here. If you're really invested in Texas Tech, you know that Candy Whitaker, the Head Women's Basketball coach was a former Red Raider athlete as well.

Kirby makes great hires, but that isn't his biggest contribution to the school. He was named the Chairman of the CFP Committee, but that's not what makes him great. Kirby Hocutt's greatest attribute is the way he cares about the fans.

It's not a mistake that Texas Tech is now 2nd in the Big XII in total donors and total funds raised. It isn't a coincidence that every single hire he's made has been met with a vast majority of the fans loving the move. Kirby Hocutt is a damn good AD.

Every single time our Athletic Department finds themselves in a bind, Hocutt comes through with a blisteringly fast hire, a new plan that gets the donations rolling again, or an improvement to our stadiums that actually benefits every person that comes in the doors, not just box seats.

The vast majority of us already know all of this. It's not a surprise that Hocutt is a great AD. I'm not breaking any new ground here. I know that. I just wanted to vocalize my appreciation of one of, if not the, greatest Athletics Directors in the nation.