Embattled Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury will return for his sixth season as the Red Raiders head coach.
Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt told reporters in Austin after the Red Raiders’ stunning 27-23 victory over Texas that Kingsbury will be back for the 2018 season.
“Kliff has led this program the right way,” Hocutt told reporters after the game. “We’re not where we want to be, but we’re not far off.”
Hocutt’s decision came after the Red Raiders finished the regular season 6-6 — a one-game improvement over last season.
The victory in Austin marked Kingsbury’s second consecutive road victory over the Longhorns. He becomes the first coach in Tech history to notch back-to-back triumphs in Austin.
Kingsbury, 38, has led the Red Raiders to a 30-32 record in his five-season tenure. He will be taking Texas Tech to its first bowl since losing to LSU in the 2015 Texas Bowl.
The Red Raiders started Kingsbury’s tenure with seven consecutive victories as they were ranked 10th nationally in 2013. But since then, Tech has notched a 23-32 record and a 16-30 record in Big 12 play. Its highest finish with Kingsbury came in 2015 when it was tied for fifth.
Hocutt, who is serving as the chairman of the College Football Playoffs this season, had declined to talk about Kingsbury’s job status before the final game of the season.
The decision might have come down to simple economics for the Red Raiders, who would have owed Kingsbury $6.8 million on the final three years of his contract if he had been fired after this season.
But the future looks bright for the Red Raiders, who started the season 4-1 and were ranked as high as 24th nationally. But a mid-season skid where they lost four consecutive games turned up the heat on Kingsbury’s job security.