Texas Tech Hires Joey McGuire: What New Red Raiders Coach Means For Recruiting and Rebuilding Program
Texas Tech has hired Baylor associate head coach Joey McGuire as its next head coach, the university said on Monday. McGuire, a legendary former high school football coach, arrives in Lubbock after five years with the Bears. The Red Raiders quickly hired their 17th coach in program history, announcing McGuire just two weeks after firing third-year coach Matt Wells.
In a rare move, McGuire will immediately join Texas Tech’s athletic department, although offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will continue to serve as interim coach until the end of the season.
“We are thrilled with this new chapter of Texas Tech Football under the leadership of Coach McGuire,” said Kirby Hocutt, athletic director of Texas Tech. “Our search committee was impressed from the get-go not only with their important connections throughout the state of Texas, but also with their enthusiasm and desire to become the head coach of Texas Tech. We are delighted to be able to host the Coach McGuire and his wife Debbie to our Red Raider family. “
McGuire was instrumental in rebuilding Baylor, under the guidance of head coaches Matt Rhule and Dave Aranda. Since a record 1-11 in Rhule’s first season, the Bears have gone 27-18 with a trip to the Big 12 championship game in 2019. Baylor is on a 7-2 start in 2021 and has entered the initial ranking of college football qualifiers at No.12.
Baylor still have three regular season games to play without McGuire, including a nationally televised clash with No.8 Oklahoma on Saturday. The Bears will face Texas Tech in the season finale on November 27.
Rumor has it that Texas Tech identified both EMS head coach Sonny Dykes and UTSA coach Jeff Traylor at the start of their search. However, Traylor has signed a long-term extension to stay in San Antonio, while Dykes is reportedly mulling between an extension and TCU work. McGuire, however, ultimately stood out due to his background in Big 12 and Texas relationships. Hocutt noted that he wanted to hire a coach who would bring the fan base together; McGuire is known as a unifier.
Texas Tech redoubles its efforts to recruit
The former Texas high school coach is considered one of the state’s top recruiters. Outside of a transition class in 2020 after Rhule left for the Carolina Panthers, Baylor did not finish below fifth among the top 12 teams on the scouting track during McGuire’s stint at Waco. Conversely, Texas Tech hasn’t landed a class that has finished in the top half of the Big 12 since 2015 – and the top two players in that class were transferred before contributing. The 2021 Red Raiders recruiting class placed last in the Big 12.
McGuire will now be tasked with rebuilding a pipeline to Dallas-Fort Worth, one of the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country. There were 23 top-notch rookies in DFW’s class of 2021, but Texas Tech didn’t land any. And only one of Lubbock’s five three-star rookies has signed with Texas Tech. Increasing recruiting is a must now that the Big 12 is elevating Houston to a Power Five program.
Making a decision this early has no doubt to do with giving the new coach time to compete for a recruiting class ahead of the early December 15 signing period. Texas Tech has just nine players entered in a class ranked # 74 nationally and # 9 in the big 12.
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McGuire is a well-known program builder
McGuire has experience on both sides of the ball during his time at Waco, coaching tight ends in his first two seasons before moving on to defensive ends and outside linebackers. His experience makes him likely to position himself as a CEO style coach with strong coordinators.
Before moving to college, McGuire was an elite high school football coach. In 2003, he took over a DFW-based Cedar Hill program that had never won a playoff game and made him a three-time state champion. He left for college football after his son Garret graduated from Cedar Hill. Garret went on to serve as a quarterback at Baylor and now works with Rhule on the Panthers staff.
After Rhule left for the NFL, McGuire was a runner-up for Baylor’s head coach position, which ultimately went to Aranda. McGuire was then approached by several other powerful players, including Oklahoma, but chose to help guide Baylor through the transition.
Texas Tech must do it right
This hire comes at one of the most significant moments in Texas Tech football history. The Big 12 is about to enter a state of transition with the departure of two blue bloods and four other programs joining the fold. The first years of the new Big 12 will set the tone for the next 10.
The Red Raiders struggled to gain a foothold after the final round of conference realignment in 2012, just as Baylor and TCU moved up to the national level. These struggles have left Texas Tech in the basement of the Texas recruiting pecking order, fighting more closely with Houston and SMU for rookies than Baylor, TCU, Texas or Texas A&M.
Now is a critical time to regain that momentum. TCU coach Gary Patterson stepped down after 22 years. Rumors continue to link Aranda with several Blue Blood opportunities. Houston has a few years before entering the conference. Finding early recruiting and on-field success under McGuire could completely reshape Texas Tech’s place in the Texas college football landscape.