While most collegiate football programs find themselves boasting the long winded resumes of their graying coaching staff, Texas Tech and their new 33-year-old head coach Kliff Kingsbury are adopting a different philosophy, “quality over quantity”. In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, senior writer Andy Staples examines how the growing number of youthful coaching programs like Kingsbury’s plan to take the gridiron by storm this fall.
Kingsbury’s age may be in the minority, but other coaches of similar age and background have continued to pop up around the country. Jake Spavital, 24, replaces Kingsbury as the offensive coordinator for Texas A&M this season and is no stranger to age centered awkwardness either. Upon his arriving at Oklahoma State as a grad assistant before the 2010 season, Spavital found himself teaching men twice his age the Air Raid offense Kingsbury hopes to bring to Lubbuck.
“It’s like the guy who created Facebook,” said Kingsbury. “It doesn’t matter how old you are if you’re great at your job.” (PAGE50)
But the suave youth of two other head coaches and 24 additional coordinators in their late 20’s and early 30’s is forcing its way on to the college football scene this season. While they can connect with players on a different level due to their proximity in age, they also run the risk of losing their sense of authority.
“You’ve got to walk that fine line of developing that relationship where they trust you and, at the same time, they know you’re their coach and they respect you” (PAGE 51), advised Rhett Lashlee, the new 29-year-old quarterbacks coach for Auburn University.
Staples concludes that no matter their age the new young coaches on the scene have the same goal as the older coaches they will square off against: to win.