Texas Tech has filled its football head coaching vacancy just weeks after parting with former head coach Matt Wells, and the hire is a former Baylor assistant coach.
Joey McGuire will leave Baylor immediately to assume his role as head football coach at Texas Tech. Sonny Cumbie will continue to serve as the interim head football coach for the rest of the season, but McGuire will likely spend the next few weeks getting settled in Lubbock and hitting the recruiting trail ahead of the early signing period.
Recruiting is likely a big reason why Texas Tech decided to hire McGuire, who has no former head coaching experience at the collegiate level. McGuire got his start in coaching at Crowley (TX) High School as an assistant in 1995. In 1997, McGuire took a job as an assistant at Cedar Hill (TX) High School and was promoted to head coach at Cedar Hill in 2003.
McGuire won three State Championships (2006, 2013, 2014) at Cedar Hill before leaving to become an assistant coach on Matt Rhule’s staff at Baylor in December of 2016. McGuire spent the last five years as an assistant at Baylor before making the jump to head coach at Texas Tech.
Why Oklahoma State Fans Should Care
When McGuire was hired to take over as the head coach at Cedar Hill, he took a program that had not won a playoff game in school history and hadn’t had a winning season in eight years and turned it into a perennial powerhouse, amassing a record of 141-42.
McGuire’s job now is the same beast but a different animal. Turning around a Big 12 program will be more complex than turning a Texas 6A program around, but McGuire has done it before. He knows how to build a program from the bottom up. That’s not to mention the two transitional periods he helped guide Baylor through.
When McGuire got to Baylor, it was going through possibly the toughest stretch it’s ever experienced in program history. The fallout from the scandal and the departure of Art Briles was massive and Baylor won just one game in McGuire’s first season on the staff. Baylor got it turned around and it culminated in a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2019.
Unfortunately for Oklahoma State fans, this isn’t another Matt Wells type hire. McGuire has the all the tools to rebuild Texas Tech into a contending program again. It comes at a perfect time for Texas Tech fans with the makeup of the Big 12 set to change with Oklahoma and Texas set to leave the conference.
Ask anyone who knows anything about football in the state of Texas and they should know who Joey McGuire is. McGuire was a 2020 inductee to the Texas High School Coaches Association Hall of Honor and has strong relationships with high school coaches in every corner of the state. McGuire has long been considered one of the best recruiters in the state of Texas. His strongest ties are in the talent rich Dallas/ Fort Worth metroplex when he coached for 21 years.
Recruiting the Lone Star State is critical for every Big 12 team other than maybe Iowa State and West Virginia. The Texas and Oklahoma schools wouldn’t be able to compete at the power five level without talent from the state of Texas. The Kansas schools would struggle without Texan talent. Ask Nebraska how life in the Big Ten is going without a pipeline to Texas. For those schools located in Texas, keeping Texan talent home should be the top recruiting priority.
Texas Tech hasn’t been recruiting the Lone Star State well as of late. In the 2021 class, the Red Raiders have just four commitments in the top 1,000 players. Of those four, two are from Oklahoma and two are from Texas. Texas Tech’s class currently ranks 75th in the nation and ninth in the Big 12, ahead of only Kansas. McGuire, on the other hand, has played a role in keeping Baylor in the top half of the Big 12 in recruiting class rankings since he arrived in Waco. Bringing in McGuire shows that Texas Tech recognizes its problem and the athletic department just made the best hire it could to address the issue.
It looks like McGuire is already putting in work on the recruiting trail just hours after it was announced he would be the head football coach at Texas Tech. Hebron (TX) High School athlete Carson Dean announced an offer from Texas Tech on Twitter and tagged McGuire in the tweet.
It was originally reported that Texas Tech was interested in UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor and SMU head coach Sonny Dykes. Traylor’s UTSA squad is one of just four teams remaining in college football with an undefeated record. The Roadrunners join Georgia, Oklahoma and Cincinnati as the remaining unbeatens in college football.
Traylor, like McGuire, was plucked out of the high school ranks in Texas. After spending 15 successful years as the head coach at Gilmer High School, where he won three State Championships and won 87 percent of his games, Traylor got his start in college football at Texas. He then moved on to SMU before helping Arkansas sign its first top-20 recruiting class in program history as the running backs coach for the Razorbacks in 2018.
Traylor almost exclusively recruits the state of Texas at UTSA. He has been an expert at identifying under-recruited talent and turning those players into stars at UTSA. Quarterback Frank Harris, running back Sincere McCormack and receiver Zakhari Franklin form a three-headed monster on offense that has powered UTSA to a 9-0 record. All three are from the state of Texas and Franklin is from Cedar Hill. Obviously McGuire will need to recruit above UTSA, but the blueprint is there.
Sonny Dykes’ formula at SMU has also revived the Mustangs program. The #PonyUpDallas campaign has helped in recruiting local kids to stay home and play for the Mustangs. SMU has put up billboards in every city around the metroplex that has pictures of SMU players from that city. I passed one last weekend driving down Interstate 635 in Mesquite. On top of that, the Mustangs have cleaned up the transfer portal leftovers from schools like Texas and Oklahoma. Ra’Shaad Samples, son of legendary Duncanville High School (TX) head coach Reginald Samples, has been a big part of that recruiting effort. Samples was named by 247sports.com. as a top-30 recruiter in the nation and has been instrumental in helping Dykes revive the SMU football program. McGuire will need someone like Samples on his staff to help him rebuild the talent at Texas Tech.
McGuire has spent more than a quarter of a century cultivating relationships around the state of Texas. He has incredible people skills and is an excellent hire to be the next head coach at Texas Tech. Many Oklahoma State fans likely haven’t ever heard of McGuire, but don’t underestimate him. McGuire isn’t Matt Wells. He isn’t Kliff Kingsbury or Tommy Tuberville. McGuire has what it takes to make Texas Tech a relevant football program again. He has the charisma, the connections, and the experience of turning a loser into a winner.
I have been waiting for the day McGuire would get his shot as a head coach in college football for the last few years. It was only a matter of time and Texas Tech made the absolute best hire it could with Traylor and Dykes out of the picture.
The path to success probably looks something like a mix of what has worked for UTSA and SMU over the last few years. Texas Tech desperately needs to become a recognizable and popular brand in the state of Texas, similar to SMU’s branding itself as Dallas’ team. McGuire will need to indentify under-recruited talent around the state and bring those players to Lubbock, and then start a pipeline at those schools. Once Texas Tech starts winning more games, McGuire can really fire up the recruiting machine to a position where at least Baylor and TCU are at now.
The road ahead won’t be easy for McGuire. He will have to start nearly from scratch with a roster mostly devoid of the talent it takes to compete at a high level in the Big 12 as it’s currently constructed. If there is anyone who can coach up that talent and turn that roster into a winner, McGuire is the man to do that also. McGuire’s former boss, Carolina Panthers head coach Matt Rhule, told Yahoo Sports that McGuire was the perfect hire for Texas Tech.
Matt Rhule to @YahooSports on Joey McGuire: “I think he’s one-in-a-million. The biggest winners in all this are the players at Texas Tech. There’s no one more committed to helping young people and developing them as players. He’s exactly who I’d want my kids to be coached by.”— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 8, 2021
Houston coming to the conference adds another power five mouth to feed in the state and will certainly take talented recruits from the Houston area away from the Red Raiders. It will take time, but Joey McGuire is the last person Big 12 fans should bet against when it comes to building up Texas Tech’s program.