Offensive line coach Lee Hays, one of the charter members of Kliff Kingsbury’s Texas Tech football staff, won’t return for the 2017 season and running backs coach DeShaun Foster is leaving for another job, Tech announced Saturday.
Foster, according to multiple reports, is returning to UCLA, his alma mater, as running backs coach. He played for the Bruins and was on their staff in an off-field role before Tech hired him last year.
Hays had been the Red Raiders’ offensive line coach for four seasons, Foster the running backs coach for one year. Tech announced their departures in a three-paragraph statement.
“We appreciate all that Coach Foster and Coach Hays have done for our football program,” Kingsbury said in the announcement. “We wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”
Theirs are the first two staff changes since the Red Raiders finished 5-7 in 2016.
Hays has spent his entire 20-year coaching career in Texas, not by coincidence. He said after Tech hired him that he’d always tried to fulfill his wife’s wish to remain in state, so he’s coached at Texas A&M-Kingsville, West Texas A&M, Baylor, Houston and Tarleton State in addition to Tech.
One offensive line coach with Tech ties is available: The Jan. 8 firing of California head coach Sonny Dykes broke up his staff that included offensive line coach Brandon Jones, the former Mike Leach-era Red Raiders center.
Foster’s departure puts Tech in the market for its third running backs coach in three seasons. The Red Raiders lost Mike Jinks, a charter member of the Kingsbury staff, to the head-coaching job at Bowling Green last off-season.
Hays, Foster and five other Tech assistants — all except defensive coordinator David Gibbs and special teams coach Joe Robinson — signed contracts in mid-August that were retroactive to March 1, 2016, and run through Feb. 28, 2017. Hays was making $210,000 for that 12-month period and Foster $175,000. Robinson signed a two-year deal through February 2018, and Gibbs continues to work under the terms of his original two-year agreement that expired earlier this month.
The terms of Foster’s contract stipulate he owes Tech $25,000 for taking another job before the contract is up. That buyout is due in one lump sum within 30 days of his starting the next job.