Landon Hoefer’s father never coached him, but still had a great effect on him and what he wanted to do with his life — coach.
And now, the Stephen F. Austin quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, returns to his alma mater, the school he’s followed since he was a young boy, remembering the lessons he learned both from his father and as a Texas Tech Red Raider.
“My dad had a big effect on me,” Hoefer said. “My dad was never really my coach, but I probably learned more from him than anybody. The thing I love about coaching, I always enjoy seeing people do things the right way.”
A native of Abilene, Hoefer has followed the Texas Tech football program since he was young.
It helped that his uncle, Larry Hoefer, was the outside linebackers coach from 1994 to 1999 and helped him make numerous connections in the coaching business.
“I’ve known Sonny Dykes for a while,” Landon Hoefer said. “My uncle coached, was the secondary and linebackers coach for Spike (Dykes) in the ’90s. I grew up in Abilene and spent a lot of time in Lubbock at Texas Tech practices. My family didn’t miss any games.”
His time around the program helped his decision to not only attend Texas Tech but to walk on to the football team as a receiver.
“(Sonny) kind of got me to come up and check it out,” Hoefer said. “It was something I really wanted to do. I always followed whoever my uncle coaches. He spent a lot of time at Tech, so I’ve always been fond of Texas Tech.”
As a Red Raider, he spent most of his time on the practice squad; however, in his sophomore season in 2007, he played in two games and followed up his junior year with an appearance against Oklahoma.
“Well, I wasn’t very good,” Hoefer said. “I was able to do some good things early, but they eventually found better players than me. The great thing about my team was that they were able to learn how to give great effort. I learned how to handle adversity from Coach (Mike) Leach and his staff. I learned how to not give up. Those were the biggest things I took from being there. I made a lot of great friends. I got to play a little bit but not much.”
One of those friends was current Texas Tech co-offensive coordinator Eric Morris.
Morris also played wide receiver alongside Hoefer and is a coach’s kid as well.
“Hoefer’s a good kid,” Morris said. “He’s from Abilene and he’s been around Mike Leach’s offense and then Dana Holgorsen. So he’s been around the same style of offense that we run for a long time. So he’s a kid that’s smart. He’ll know what he’s doing. I’m interested to see how he calls plays.”
Even though Hoefer graduated in 2008, he still had a year of eligibility left on the football team and expected to play more of a player-coach role his final season.
However, his plans quickly changed when he received a call that August from the University of Memphis looking for a graduate assistant.
“I had known for a long time, since I was young, that I wanted to coach,” Hoefer said. “Really, I had talked to coaches about getting out and going into coaching the spring before. I graduated early in three-and-a-half years, but there was a little uncertainty about taking extra classes in the spring. So, I slowed down the job hunting process and decided to stay for my senior year. Then, I got a call from Memphis and it caught me a little off guard.”
That first step to Memphis took him to East Carolina for the next two years to help out with the offense.
In 2012, Hoefer reunited with his offensive coordinator from his college days, Dana Holgorsen, at West Virginia, working with both the quarterbacks and receivers.
“I learned the same things coaching with (Holgorsen) as when I played for him,” Hoefer said. “I learned some neat schemes. I got to see a guy who can call a game well and stays calm in the heat of battle. I learned some great play calling qualities from him. More importantly, I learned how important effort is and the ability to handle adversity.
“The misconception of people that run this offense is that it’s the x’s and o’s and you beat them because the offense is better, but more importantly, it’s about getting better every day at doing your job. Our head coach, J.C. Harper, is doing a great job of that. He’s putting together some game plans that can give us a chance to play well against Texas Tech. We want to correct things we didn’t do well last Saturday and get better at them this Saturday.”
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