HCS Roundtable: Who Should be the Next Texas Tech Football Coach?

NCAA Football: Texas-San Antonio at Illinois

The Texas Tech Red Raiders fired head football coach Matt Wells on Monday. Wells, the former Utah State head coach, was picked to replace Kliff Kingsbury after the 2018 season and the Red Raiders are 13-17 under Wells. Along with the under-.500 mark, the Red Raiders are likely feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse after watching Kingsbury lead the Arizona Cardinals to an undefeated start to the 2021 season. But now their attention turns to who is next in Lubbock?

The Heartland College Sports staff went around the horn with their picks on who should be the next head coach for the Red Raiders.


Derek Duke: USC Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell

I think I have linked this man to every Big 12 job over the last couple of years, but I just can’t help myself once again. Graham Harrell is a Texas kid who played Texas high school football and made a name for himself at Texas Tech. Harrell was at North Texas as the offensive coordinator and once he left after the 2018 season, that program went downhill. He then went to USC for the 2019 season, and he helped the Trojans go from scoring 26.1 points per game in 2018 to 32.5 in 2019. And despite the point totals going down last season, his offense was the number one ranked passing offense in the entire Pac-12. I know his head coach Clay Helton was fired earlier this year, but believe or not, the Trojans still have the best passing offense in the Pac-12. There are some worthy candidates out there, but I think Graham would bring some energy to this program and he is a guy who knows it well having played at Texas Tech. He would bring back the fun exciting offense that can score points back to Lubbock.

Matthew Postins: Sonny Dykes, SMU Head Coach

After hiring an outsider in Matt Wells didn’t work (I think one could argue that Texas Tech didn’t give it enough time to work, but that’s another day), I think the Red Raiders are going to want some comfort food. And there’s nothing more comfortable than hiring Spike Dykes’ son. Now, this comfort food comes with a solid track record. He won 22 games at Louisiana Tech (and won more games in each of his three seasons), and in his latest stint at SMU he has led the Mustangs to a 10-win season in 2019 and they’re currently undefeated. In between, Dykes was at Cal, where he went 19-30, but won eight games in 2015. One could argue Cal was a bit impatient with him. While there’s no way the Red Raiders are going to re-hire fan favorite Mike Leach, Dykes is a good substitute. He learned his offense from Hal Mumme and Leach as an assistant coach. It’s not ‘sexy’ or the ‘high-rising’ name, but Dykes can make the Red Raiders respectable and fun to watch.


Pete Mundo: Jeff Traylor, UTSA Head Coach

I still cringe when I see the video from earlier this month when Matt Wells could not name one thing outside of his family that he likes about Lubbock, Texas. It was such a burn to the Lubbock community and all of West Texas.

You know who changes that immediately? Jeff Traylor, who is a Texas high school football legend after winning three 4A championships at Gilmer High School. He understands and knows Texas high school football as well as anyone, which is important from a recruiting and credibility perspective for whoever the head coach is to get kids out to Lubbock. Then you look at his on-field results this season at UTSA: He’s got his team off to an 8-0 start this season, which is tied for most regular-season wins in the program’s young history, and has the Roadrunners sitting in the AP Top 25 for the first time.

His path is very similar to former Baylor head coach Art Briles, minus all of the baggage. Also, don’t forget, Traylor was the Big 12 Recruiter of the Year in 2016 when he was on the Texas Longhorns staff under Charlie Strong. This is Tech’s guy.

Robert Graves: Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina Head Coach

First, I have to say that I feel Tech was too hasty in firing Wells. Was the outlook bleak with a murderer’s row to finish the season? Absolutely, but Tyler Shough will be back in a couple of weeks, and how much different does Tech look heading into the offseason if Wells had won even one of those final four games versus ranked opponents?

What’s done is done, however, so I think Tech should take a long hard look at Jamey Chadwell of Coastal Carolina and ask him to bring along his offensive coordinator, Willy Korn, and his defensive coordinator, Chad Staggs.
Coastal’s offensive scheme is a triple option spread with a dynamic passing attack built in. It’s unique, fun, and will get the attention of big time recruits. Just as the Air Raid offense elevated Tech in the past and caused tidal waves within the entire conference, Coastal’s scheme could give Tech a unique and explosive identity for a new and exciting era of Big 12 football. Oh, and Coastal is currently third in the nation in scoring offense. Coastal’s 3-4 defense could be very effective in the Big 12 as it is not much different than the stack defenses that are sweeping the league. Plus, Coastal currently ranks 13th nationally in scoring defense.

Red Raider fans may balk at the idea of bringing another coach up from a G5 program, but Chadwell and his staff will be moving to the Power 5 soon whether Tech is interested or not. I feel his resume merits strong consideration in Lubbock. 

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