Coming into this season, it was apparent that Kliff Kingsbury had to start winning if he wanted to keep his job. After a 5-2 start, most agreed that his job was about as safe as it could be. The defense was playing well, the run game was effective, and Alan Bowman looked to be steering the offense in the right direction for years to come. Many Red Raider fans thought this could be an 8 or even 9-win season with the way things were shaping up after 7 games.
Fast Forward 3 weeks; with 3 losses in a row and 2 of those being at home, it’s easy to speculate about Kliff returning as the head coach next year. It’s been six years since Kliff returned to Lubbock after being a guru of an offensive coordinator at both University of Houston and Texas A&M. Kliff currently has a 35-38 record as head coach at Texas Tech. At best he will be .500 through six seasons, and frankly it’s not acceptable.
I love Kliff Kingsbury. He runs a clean program and displays nothing but class for the university, but the performance on the field isn’t up to par. Fans have slowly started to give up on this program and it was apparent during last week’s game against the Longhorns. The Red Raiders were down 17 points and made a great comeback to tie the game, but there was nobody in the stands. The lack of fan support and faith in this program amongst the Red Raider faithful proves there is a growing unrest that people have with this team.
If Kliff were to finish these next two games 1-1 or 0-2 I think Kirby Hocutt and Texas Tech decide to move on. While there has been progress from the past few seasons, this team is going to finish with 7 regular season wins at best. Unfortunately, 7-5 isn’t going to cut it when the rest of the athletic department has shown vast improvements (i.e. Tim Tadlock and TTU Baseball, Chris Beard and TTU Basketball, etc.) during Kirby Hocutt’s tenure as Athletic Director.
Kliff will also be making the largest sum of money in his contract throughout the next 2 years. On the other hand, Kliff’s buyout will be somewhere around $3.7 million after this season. Is that a price that Texas Tech is willing to swallow in order to move on from the Kliff Kingsbury era? These are all things that Kirby Hocutt must be thinking about at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new coach in Lubbock next year.
On the other side of things, if Kliff beats Kansas State (which he should) and beats Baylor, who has proven they aren’t the 1-win team they were last year, then I see Kliff being retained for another year. If Kliff is retained he will likely need to win 8 or more games next year if he wants to stick around because fans are getting restless now that Texas is starting to turn a page, Baylor seems to be on the right track after the Art Briles era, and Iowa State is now a Big 12 title contender. Winning solves a lot of problems and if Kliff finishes this year at 8-5 with a bowl win, this discussion will likely be shut down.