When Joey McGuire was hired as the 17th head coach in Texas Tech football history before the end of the regular season, Texas Tech became the ninth FBS program in Texas to hire a former high school football coach (TCU just hired Sonny Dykes, another HS coaching alum.) The Red Raiders are no strangers to betting the farm on a Texas HS coach to lead its football program. Just look back at legendary coach Spike Dykes, who coached at the high school level in the state for 15 years before coming to Lubbock at leading Texas Tech from 1986-1999.
In his first press conference, McGuire affirmed his high school coaching roots and his overall football DNA: “I’m a high school coach that coaches college football; it’s not the other way around.” Joey McGuire, November 9, 2021. Sonny Dykes is no stranger to winning and spent 20 years at the helm at Cedar Hill High School where he led the Longhorns to 12 consecutive playoff appearances and winning state championship titles in 2006, 2013 and 2014. When Matt Rhule was hired to take over at Baylor in 2017, one of his key hires was plucking Joey McGuire out of the high school ranks and bring him on staff in Waco. This key hire helped Rhule cement a relationship with Texas high school coaches since Rhule came from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania prior to arriving at Baylor -about as far away from Texas as you can get. Rhule quickly learned that to survive the recruiting war in Texas for top players, you need to get along with Texas high school coaches and his hiring of McGuire was a prudent and strategic move.
Not all Texas high school coaching hires have worked out perfectly, however. Long time high school coaches Todd Dodge and Chad Morris failed in their coaching stints at UNT and Arkansas, respectively, and both are back in more familiar roles with Texas high school programs. UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor is a positive example of a coach who has successfully made the transition from high school to the college ranks, as witnessed by the meteoric rise in the Roadrunner program and their bowl appearance later this month.
Coach McGuire will now have to contend with the Red Raiders’ immediate needs which include building a full 2022 recruiting class; Tech’s Liberty Bowl appearance against Mississippi State later this month should pay dividends as a recruiting tool. As McGuire explained in his opening press conference, he does not plan to go anywhere else and for Red Raider fans, that continuity may help build a winning tradition again in Lubbock: “…I have been in four places. I was at Crowley (HS) for four years, I was at Cedar Hills for 20, I was at Baylor for five and I will die here at Texas Tech.” Joey McGuire, November 9, 2021.