Texas Tech Athletics Needs to Change Its Philosophy for Red Raider Basketball
1340 The Fan’s Rob Snyder writes this week’s FAN Viewpoint
The Billy Gillispie saga is now over, with Gillispie tendering his resignation to Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt earlier today (Hocutt & Gillispie pictured during happier times). The 2012-2013 season will be a lame-duck year for Red Raider Basketball with an interim coach taking the reins a month before the season begins.
Red Raider fans have been hoping, wishing, dreaming, clamoring for a return of the success the team had in the mid-1990’s under James Dickey. Dickey’s best seasons were 1994-95 & 1995-96. In the latter, the team went 28-1 in the regular season. The Bob Knight hire before the 2001-2002 season energized a languishing fan base disenchanted with Dickey, but eventually left the program an empty shell after the Knight family association ended with Texas Tech after the 2010-2011 season.
With the respective hirings of both Gillispie and Bob Knight, Texas Tech took chances on two coaches on the downward trend of their careers. Somehow, Lubbock has become the retirement villa for out of work basketball coaches. The Pat Knight coronation was a continuation of the Bob Knight monarchy and it didn’t pan out either.
Here’s what Kirby Hocutt needs to do when he hires the next long-term coach for Red Raider Basketball: hire a young, energetic, up-and-comer, who has had tangible success with his previous teams. That means winning, graduating students, recruiting and fundraising. Hocutt shouldn’t hire anyone over 45 with over 10 years of collegiate head coaching experience. Because of the situation Texas Tech is in, he’ll have a whole season to put together a list of coaches and make a full-court press on the coach he thinks can lead Red Raider Basketball.
What this change also means is not being afraid of losing this coach to an elite program in three or four years if he has success. Red Raider Basketball is building from the ground floor again and when people are successful, sometimes you lose them to larger entities.
Whomever Hocutt hires will have many tools at his disposal. The United Spirit Arena is still a great facility and one of the best in the Big 12 Conference, a hungry fan base which can be very supportive and a team firmly entrenched in one of the power conferences.
While the 2012-2013 season starts in six weeks, I’ll be looking forward to April, to find out who Hocutt hires for the next chapter of Red Raider Basketball.