Former quarterback Kliff Kingsbury will return to Texas Tech next season, this time as the team's new head coach.
ESPN's Joe Schad had the news:
Texas Tech confirms Kliff Kingsbury is the new head coach— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) December 12, 2012
Schad reported earlier on Wednesday that Kingsbury had emerged as the leading candidate for the Red Raiders job, which wasn't a huge surprise after it became known that he and Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris were the school's top choices.
Kingsbury will replace Tommy Tuberville after he left to replace Butch Jones as Cincinnati's new head coach. Followers of the Red Raiders had to be upset with Tuberville's abrupt departure, but Kingsbury seemed to make sense from the get-go.
Kliff Kingsbury's base will be $2 million per season at Texas Tech, according to a source.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 13, 2012
Not only was he a popular player as the team's record-setting quarterback from 1998 to 2002, but he also led one of the nation's most prolific offenses as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator last season.
UPDATE: Wednesday, December 12 at 7:39 p.m. ET by Mike Hoag
Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel gave his take on the situation, assuring the Aggie faithful that the team won't suffer as a result of losing Kingsbury to the Red Raiders (via Twitter):
To all the people worried about Coach K leaving..Coach Sumlin will always bring in the best and do anything to make sure we're successful— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) December 13, 2012
It's great to see Manziel supporting his school and playing the role of optimist. The loss of Kingsbury cannot be understated for the Aggies, though.
His offensive scheme produced the No. 3-scoring offense in college football that put up nearly 45 points per game. The only coordinators who put up more puts than his Aggies were Chip Kelly at Oregon and Tony Franklin at Louisiana Tech.
---End of Update---
The Aggies were third in the nation in total offense, totaling over 552 yards per game. The team was also first in the SEC in scoring. It's impossible to argue with those results, especially when you consider a football wunderkind was running the show.
It will be interesting to see how Kingsbury handles himself without fellow offensive whiz Kevin Sumlin calling the shots from above. Kingsbury came to the Aggies, along with Sumlin, from Houston's program, and the two work extremely well together.
Now, it's all on Kingsbury.
Kingsbury seems like the right choice for Texas Tech on multiple levels. He knows the program, and it's one that is known for pitching the ball around the field, which is right in his wheelhouse. He will likely enhance their current production while installing some of his own twists.
Walking away from a possible BCS candidate in College Station next season couldn't have been easy, but Kingsbury obviously wants to take the next step.
At 33 years old, he has his entire coaching career ahead of him. Texas Tech made the right choice by giving Kingsbury his first major gig, and success should be expected.