After a 5-3 record to start the season, Texas Tech has decided to fire head coach Matt Wells. Here are five potential head coach candidates for the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
1. Sonny Dykes
Following the firing of Wells, it feels like Texas Tech might hire someone with more ties in Texas. Dykes is currently the head coach at SMU, who is undefeated this season. After starting off with a five-win season, he has ripped off three-straight solid season for the Mustangs. He also had success at Louisiana Tech as head coach, but did struggle to find success at California before getting the job at SMU.
Dykes will have ties in Texas after coaching at SMU for a few years and he graduated from Texas Tech. He also has an offense that airs the ball out, which is something that Texas Tech has historically done. SMU is going to be stuck in the AAC, while several teams are leaving, so Dykes might find this as a good time to leave the school for another power five job.
2. Jeff Traylor
Jeff Traylor has done a great job at UTSA and now has them ranked. He is in his second year as their head coach and has posted a 15-5 overall record. In his first season, he posted a 7-5 record, but this season the Roadrunners are undefeated at 8-0. Traylor has moved himself up the ranks from a high school coach all the way to a head coach and has succeeded in his first college football head coaching opportunity.
Traylor has proven he can coach and will likely be a candidate for a few jobs this offseason. He specifically makes sense for a team in Texas to hire because he came up as a Texas high school coach and spent time as an assistant at various colleges throughout the state. Traylor will not be the biggest name on the market, but he can be successful at Texas Tech.
Harrell is a former Texas Tech quarterback under Mike Leach. He passed for 15,793 yards, 134 touchdowns and 34 interceptions in his college career. Leach and Harrell led Texas Tech to some great seasons and Harrell even finished the 2008 season fourth in the Heisman voting. Since that time, Harrell has played in the NFL and been an offensive assistant. Currently, he is the offensive coordinator at USC.
Things ended poorly for Leach at Texas Tech, but there is a new regime in place. Harrell could be lured by his alma mater to come back given that he is on a few short lists to be a head coach. He has ties to the Texas area from his time as a player and as the offensive coordinator at North Texas. Harrell will run a similar style to Leach and could inject some life into the program.
4. Billy Napier
Billy Napier has done wonders at Louisiana. He has been there for four seasons. In year one, he went 7-7. That was followed by an 11-win and 10-win (during COVID) season. This season, Napier has led the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 6-1 record. They are in play to possibly make a New Year’s Six Bowl Game at the end of the season if they can keep winning.
Napier has proven he can get the most out of his teams during his time at Louisiana. With more resources at Texas Tech, he could do even better. Unfortunately, most of his ties are in the southeast rather than in Texas. If the Red Raiders decide to go with a new coach who doesn’t have too many ties to Texas, Napier wouldn’t be a bad bet.
5. Anthony Lynn
Anthony Lynn is the former Chargers’ head coach who is now an assistant for the Detroit Lions. He played at Texas Tech and then went on to play in the NFL in both San Francisco and Denver, winning two Super Bowls along the way. He has been a longtime offensive assistant in the NFL and has never coached at the college level, but might be lured back to Lubbock.
Lynn will have to establish recruiting ties, but at least he has experience in the area. He brings plenty of expertise after spending so much time in the NFL. Whether he would run an offense that is familiar to Texas Tech is up for question, but Lynn will at least be seriously considered if he is interested.
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