College football’s a dirty, cold-blooded business, yes, even at Texas Tech.
Last week, Tech announced six additions to its 2017 recruiting class. This latest group includes three offensive linemen ranked among the state’s top 100 recruits, with Frisco’s Jack Anderson rated among the nation’s top 100 prospects.
They were bound to the Red Raiders once they started spring-semester classes last Thursday after enrolling at mid-term. Less than 48 hours later, Tech announced their position coach, Lee Hays, won’t be back next season and all indications are the decision came from Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, not from Hays.
Unless Tech opens up about another side to how this went down, it’s done people wrong here.
First, the recruits: The Red Raiders courted those linemen — Anderson and Dawson Deaton from Frisco, Will Farrar from Richmond Travis — under the assumption that Hays was going to be their line coach. He’s had that role from the beginning on Kingsbury’s staff back in 2013. That’s not recruiting in good faith if Kingsbury knew at any time before last week that this change was coming.
Granted, recruits should choose a school — and most do, I believe — based on more than one guy. But it’s not cool to change one of the key variables the day after they’re locked up.
Once those young linemen were safely in the fold, the hammer fell on Hays.
True, Hays’ offensive line didn’t play great last season, but if showing up well last season’s the barometer for staying employed, there ought to be a crowd of coaches at the exit.
Now to the timing as it pertains to Hays.
Coaches typically get fired as soon as disappointing seasons end — in many cases, within a matter of 24 or 48 or 72 hours. Regardless what you thought when Kingsbury fired Mike Smith, Kevin Curtis and Trey Haverty after the 2015 season, they weren’t left twisting in the wind. They were out almost before the plane landed on the return trip from Austin — and they knew long before that.
Those assistants had plenty of time to look for jobs for 2016.
Tech tossed Hays overboard eight weeks after the season ended and less than two weeks until the February national signing period begins. Most programs already have all or most of their staffs in place for 2017. It’s not a great time to be looking, for any assistant and even more so for Hays. Unlike so many college coaches who are willing to go wherever for more money or a step up on the career ladder, Hays has spent his entire 20-year coaching career in Texas, for family’s sake.
Oh, I suppose it could all be a big coincidence: The recruits went to their first Tech classes on Thursday, Hays committed some unforgivable blunder on Friday and Tech issued its three-paragraph announcement on Saturday.
If that’s the case, Tech should elaborate on what happened and why Kingsbury took this course of action now.
Otherwise, you just look bad. I’m not holding my breath expecting that to happen, though. Among’s the program’s failing, lack of openness is high on the list.