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Texas Tech University football
Current season Current season
First season 1925
Athletic director Gerald Myers
Head coach Tommy Tuberville
1 year, 0–0  (–)
Home stadium Jones AT&T Stadium
Stadium capacity 59,000
Stadium surface FieldTurf
Location Lubbock, Texas
Conference Big 12
Division South
All-time record 505–391–32 (.561)
Postseason bowl record 10–21–1
Conference titles 11
Division titles 1
Consensus All-Americans 11[1]
Current uniform
Colors Scarlet and Black              
Fight song Fight, Raiders, Fight
Mascot The Masked Rider /
Raider Red
Marching band Goin' Band from Raiderland
Rivalries Texas A&M football rivalry
Website Texas Tech Red Raiders

Texas Tech Red Raiders football program is a college football team that represents Texas Tech University (variously "Tech" or "TTU"). The team is currently a member of the Big 12 Conference, which is a Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The program began in 1925 and has an overall winning record, including a total of eleven conference titles. On January 10, 2010, Tommy Tuberville became the team's head coach, replacing Mike Leach. Home games are played at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas.[2]





Texas Tech played its first intercollegiate football game on October 3, 1925. The contest, against McMurry University, ended in a controversial 0–0 tie. Tech's Elson Archibald seemed to have kicked a game-winning 20-yard field goal but the referee ruled that the clock had run out before the score. It was later reported that the referee made the call to get revenge because he wanted to be the team's first head coach but the job was instead given to Ewing Y. Freeland.[3]

Over his four years, Freeland coached the team, known at the time as the Matadors, to 21–10–6 before handing the reins to Grady Higginbotham. Higgenbotham coached for one year, 1929, which saw only one win and two ties to seven losses. His winning percentage of .200 is the worst of any Texas Tech football coach. Pete W. Cawthon replaced Higginbotham in 1930 and led the team for the next eleven seasons. His winning percentage of .693 has not been surpassed at Texas Tech.[2][4]

For its first seven years, the program was independent, not belonging to an athletic conference. It was during Cawthon's service—in 1932—that Tech first joined a conference, the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association, which included five other schools at the time. Several other firsts occurred during Cawthon's tenure. In 1934, the team was first referred to as the "Red Raiders".[5] Three years later, the 1937 squad became the first team in college football to fly to a game.[6] Later that year, they received their first postseason invite—to the 1937 Sun Bowl, where they were defeated by West Virginia, 7–6. The following year, Cawthon led the team, which is the only one in the program's history to have an undefeated regular season, to the Cotton Bowl Classic where they lost to St. Mary's, 20–13.[7] Cawthon's 1939 team set a still-unbroken NCAA record for most punts during a single game. Playing in a driving rainstorm, Texas Tech punted 39 times, while their opponent, Centenary punted 38 times. The combined punt total of 77 is also an unbroken NCAA record.[8]

The next two coaches after Cawthon each held the position for a decade. Dell Morgan started in 1941, garnering a 55–49–3 record which included three bowl appearances that ended in losses. In 1951, DeWitt T. Weaver started his run. At the end of it, he held a record of 49–51–5. During his time, Weaver coached the Red Raiders to their initial bowl victories. The first came against Pacific in 1951 Sun Bowl. The next came two years later in the Gator Bowl. The 1953 Gator Bowl, a 35–13 win over Auburn, is most memorable for the first official public appearance of The Masked Rider:

According to reports from those present at the 1954 Gator Bowl, the crowd sat in stunned silence as they watched [student Joe Kirk] Fulton and Blackie rush onto the football field, followed by the team. After a few moments of stunned disbelief, the silent crowd burst into cheers. Ed Danforth, a writer for the Atlanta Journal and a press box spectator later wrote, "No team in any bowl game ever made a more sensational entrance."[9]

Texas Tech withdrew from the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1956 and was independent for the ensuing three years. The school had tried eight times to gain admittance to the Southwest Conference and had been denied. After the 1952 rejection, many Tech fans cut up their Neiman Marcus charge cards and mailed them back to the Dallas-based retailer. Legend holds that, in response, Stanley Marcus helped sway SMU's vote in Tech's favor.[3][10]


J. T. King became the coach of the Red Raiders in 1961. In his nine years, he fared no better nor worse than the man he replaced. With 44 wins, 45 losses, and three ties, his winning percentage of .495 was very close to Weaver's .490. One of the wins under King was on September 18, 1965, when the Red Raiders beat Kansas, 26–7, in the first intercollegiate football game to use instant video replay.[11] King led the team to two bowl games but they were both losses.

The win column saw an upswing under coach Jim Carlen (1970–1974) who finished his five years with a winning record of .644. Steve Sloan (1975–1977) did slightly better with .657. The team's second postseason win came under Carlen when Tech beat Tennessee in the 1973 Gator Bowl. The only bowl tie in the program's history came the following year in the Peach Bowl, 6–6 vs. Vanderbilt. The Red Raiders were not invited to a bowl in 1975 but returned to postseason play in 1976, losing to Nebraska by three in the Bluebonnet Bowl. Tech's appearance in 1977 Tangerine Bowl, where they lost 40–17 to Florida State, was to be the last time the team saw postseason play for nearly a decade.

With the arrival of Rex Dockery, the program would, for the second time in its history, enter into a period of two successive coaches who would return overall losing records. In three years, Dockery coached the Red Raiders to 15–16–2. Jerry Moore took the position in 1981. During his five years, he posted the second-worst record of any Texas Tech football coach, only .309. The final tally, though, only tells part of the story since many of the losses came in close games. In 1982, #1 Washington, playing at home, beat the Red Raiders by only a single touchdown. Later in the season, #2 SMU was also only able to squeak by on a single touchdown. In Moore's final season, four of Tech's seven losses were by a combined six points.[12]


Upon Moore's release, the job was given to David McWilliams. In spite of not even staying an entire season, he was able to garner a record of .636 and return the team to postseason play. McWilliams departed to become the head coach at Texas, and Spike Dykes took over at Tech just before the 1986 Independence Bowl where the Red Raiders were edged out, 20–17, by Ole Miss.

Dykes bowl game and the 13 complete seasons that followed set a record as the longest stay for any Texas Tech football coach. Although tallying 67 losses and a tie, his 82 wins also set a record as the most victories for a single Tech football coach.

It was in 1996, during Dykes's tenure, that Texas Tech joined the Big 12 Conference. The team has the distinction of being the only one in the Big 12 to have a winning season each year since the conference was created.[13]

When Dykes departed in 2000, Texas Tech hired Mike Leach, who eventually became the winningest coach in school history. He is also the school's all-time winningest coach in postseason play, competing in a bowl game each year during his stay and garnering a 5–3 record. Behind only the Texas Longhorns, the Red Raiders are second in the Big 12 for postseason wins since 2000, having won six of their last ten bowl games. In the 2006 Insight Bowl, the team defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers, overcoming a 31-point deficit in the third quarter to beat their opponent by three in overtime.[14] This made NCAA Division I FBS (formerly I-A) history as the largest come-from-behind bowl victory ever recorded.

Each year since 2001, the American Football Coaches Association has recognized Texas Tech for having a team graduation rate of at least 70 percent. The Graduation Success Rate figures released by the NCAA in October 2008 showed that Tech graduated 79% of its players during the period from 1998 to 2001. This placed it third among the 25 teams ranked in the USA Today Coaches' Poll at the time the data was released. Only No. 23 Vanderbilt and No. 19 Wake Forest ranked higher. It also placed Texas Tech at the top of the Big 12, followed by Nebraska (78%), Baylor (78%), Colorado (75%), Kansas State (67%), Oklahoma State (62%), Missouri (59%), Texas A&M (56%), Iowa State (55%), Kansas (53%), Texas (50%), and Oklahoma (46%).[15]

In July 2007, ESPN ranked all 119 FBS (formerly 1-A) football programs on performance from 1997 to 2006 and placed Texas Tech at number 32.[16] Also, with 13, the Red Raiders rank fourth nationally in consecutive winning seasons, trailing only Florida State (30), Florida (19), and Virginia Tech (14).[17]

Described as a program on the rise, the Red Raiders earned 56 wins from the 2000 season through the 2006 season. During the same period, only three other Big 12 teams had more victories—Oklahoma, Texas, and Nebraska.[18]

The Red Raiders, with returning quarterback Graham Harrell and redshirt freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree opened the 2007 season in Dallas on September 3, 2007, with a televised game against SMU.[19] Texas Tech defeated the Mustangs, 49–9.[20] After a 45–49 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the fourth game of the season, defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich resigned and was replaced by Ruffin McNeill, who took the position on an interim basis.[21] The season ended with a 34–27 upset of the #3 Oklahoma Sooners, an 8–4 record, and an invitation to the Gator Bowl, where Tech defeated the Virginia Cavaliers, 31–28, on an Alex Trlica field goal with seven seconds remaining.

College GameDay broadcasting from Texas Tech on November 1, 2008

Prior to the 2008 season, Ruffin McNeill was made the Red Raider's full-time defensive coordinator. The team remained undefeated for the first X games of the season and, on November 1, 2008, the Red Raiders (ranked #5 in the Coaches' Poll, #6 in the AP Poll, and #7 in the BCS Rankings defeated the #1 (in all polls) Texas Longhorns.[22][22] A pass from Graham Harrell to All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree with 8 seconds remaining in the game led Tech to a 39–33 victory. This marked the 500th win in program history and the first win over a #1 ranked team. Billed as the most significant game in Texas Tech history, the game was broadcast nationwide on ABC. It was the fifth-most viewed telecast of any regular-season game in ABC history, drawing a 7.5 rating, meaning an average of 8,590,000 households tuned in to the contest during each measurable segment.[23] It also attracted the largest home crowd in school history.[24][25] The win also catapulted the Red Raiders to the number-two spot in both major polls, as well as the BCS rankings (and as high as number one in some computer rankings). They also became the second Red Raider team to win eleven games in the regular season. However, Tech would go on to lose two games—a conference matchup at Oklahoma and the Cotton Bowl Classic versus Ole Miss.

A March 2009 announcement stated that Texas Tech and Baylor would move their next two games to the Dallas metropolitan area. The schools played November 28, 2009, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and will play again on October 9, 2010, at the Cotton Bowl Stadium during the State Fair of Texas.[26] There is also an option to extend the arrangement for an additional two years.[27]

On December 30, 2009, Texas Tech fired head coach Mike Leach for allegedly mistreating Adam James, an injured player.[28] Leach's record at Tech stands at 84–43. Following Leach's departure, Defensive Coordinator Ruffin McNeill was named the interim head coach and led the team to a 41–31 victory over the Michigan State Spartans at the 2010 Alamo Bowl. Texas Tech finished the 2009 season ranked #21 in the AP poll, and #23 in the USA Today poll.[29] On January 9, 2010, former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville was named the new head coach for the Red Raiders.[30] On January 12, 2009, Neal Brown, from Troy was selected as the new offensive coordinator.[31]

Logos and uniforms

The Red Raiders football uniform consists of any combination of the red, black, or white jersey with red, black, or white pants.

Texas Tech's 2009 uniform combinations


The football team has been affiliated with the following conferences:

Championship history

Conference championships (11)

Year Conference Overall Record Conference Record
1937 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 8–4–0 3–0–0
1942† Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 4–5–1 3–0–1
1947 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 6–5–0 4–0–0
1948 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 7–3–0 5–0–0
1949 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 7–5–0 5–0–0
1951 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 7–4–0 5–0–0
1953 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 11–1–0 5–0–0
1954 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 7–2–1 4–0–0
1955 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association 7–3–1 3–0–1
1976† Southwest Conference 10–2–0 7–1–0
1994† Southwest Conference 6–6–0 5–2–0

Divisional championships (1)

Year Conference Division Overall Record Conference Record
2008† Big 12 South 11–2 7–1

† Denotes shared title. References:[32][33][34]

Bowl games

Overall bowl record: 11–21–1 [35]

Season Bowl Opponent Result Score
1937 Sun West Virginia L 6–7
1938 Cotton Saint Mary's L 13–20
1941 Sun Tulsa L 0–6
1947 Sun Miami (Ohio) L 12–13
1949 Raisin San Jose State L 13–20
1951 Sun Pacific W 25–14
1953 Gator Auburn W 35–13
1955 Sun Wyoming L 14–21
1964 Sun Georgia L 0–7
1965 Gator Georgia Tech L 21–31
1970 Sun Georgia Tech L 9–17
1972 Sun North Carolina L 28–32
1973 Gator Tennessee W 28–19
1974 Peach Vanderbilt T 6–6
1976 Bluebonnet Nebraska L 24–27
1977 Tangerine Florida State L 17–40
1986 Independence Ole Miss L 17–20
1989 All-American Duke W 49–21
1993 Sun Oklahoma L 10–41
1994 Cotton Southern California L 14–55
1995 Copper Air Force W 55–41
1996 Alamo Iowa L 0–27
1998 Independence Ole Miss L 18–35
2000 East Carolina L 27–40
2001 Alamo Bowl Iowa L 16–19
2002 Tangerine Clemson W 55–15
2003 Houston Navy W 38–14
2004 Holiday California W 45–31
2005 Cotton Alabama L* 13–10
2006 Insight Minnesota W 44–41OT
2007 Gator Virginia W 31–28
2008 Cotton Ole Miss L 47–34
2009 Alamo Michigan State W 41-31

* In 2009, the NCAA vacated Alabama's 2006 Cotton Bowl Classic victory.[36]

Player accomplishments


Kliff Kingsbury, 2002
B.J. Symons, 2003
Graham Harrell, 2007
Graham Harrell, 2008
Michael Crabtree, 2007
Michael Crabtree, 2008
Bam Morris, 1993
Byron Hanspard, 1996
Wes Welker, 2003
Michael Crabtree, 2007
Graham Harrell, 2008

Red Raiders in the NFL

As of April 28, 2009, 14 Red Raiders are active in the NFL:[37]


  1. ^ NCAA (2009), NCAA Football Award Winnners, pp. 16,  
  2. ^ a b "Texas Tech Football History Database". Retrieved 2006-12-31.  
  3. ^ a b "Texas Tech A-to-Z". Retrieved 2006-12-31.  
  4. ^ As of January 1, 2008.
  5. ^ Making Matadors
  6. ^ Sherrington, Kevin (2008), "Red Dawn", Dave Campbell's Texas Football: 17  
  7. ^ "Traditions: Texas Tech Hall of Honor". Texas Tech Athletics. Retrieved 2008-08-16.  
  8. ^ "Texas Tech: Countdown to Kickoff". NCAA. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-16.  
  9. ^ "A history of one of Texas Tech's Oldest and Best-Loved Traditions". Texas Tech Center for Campus Life. Retrieved 2008-01-01.  
  10. ^ Athletics - Texas Tech Turns 75
  11. ^ "Sport's Illustrated 50th Anniversary: Statitudes". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-08-16.  
  12. ^ "Moore finds success that was elusive at Tech". Retrieved 2008-01-04.  
  13. ^ Big 12 breakdown: Texas Tech
  14. ^ ESPN - Down 31, Texas Tech rallies for biggest bowl comeback - NCAA College Football Recap
  15. ^ "Tech Football Grad Rates Lead the Big 12: 79 percent rate is third-best among the nation's top 25 teams in the USA Today Coaches Poll". Texas Tech Athletics. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-19.  
  16. ^ ESPN - Middling major conference teams, top mid-majors among Nos. 26-50 - College Football
  17. ^ - Texas Tech-SMU game facts 09/03/07
  18. ^ ESPN - Teams just outside top 25 include big names, underachieving programs - College Football
  19. ^ Football - Texas Tech Red Raiders :: The Official Athletic Site
  20. ^ Tech's defense has the answer | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | SportsDay: Colleges: Top Stories
  21. ^ Defensive coordinator steps down - Sports
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^
  24. ^ Mandel, Stewart (2008-11-02). "Texas Tech legitimizes program with win over top-ranked Texas". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2008-11-02.  
  25. ^ Ybarra, Alex (2008-11-03). "Biggest game in Tech history lives up to hype". The Daily Toreador. Retrieved 2008-11-03.  
  26. ^ Ybarra, Alex (2009-03-26). "Baylor, Tech game moved to Cowboys' new stadium". Retrieved 2009-03-26.  
  27. ^ George, Brandon; Carlton, Chuck (2009-02-12). "Texas Tech, Baylor discuss playing football series in North Texas". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2009-02-13.  
  28. ^ Ybarra, Alex (2009-12-30). "Tech fires coach Mike Leach". Retrieved 2010-01-09.  
  29. ^ "The Associated Press Top 25 Poll". 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-09.  
  30. ^ Staff, Daily Toreador (2010-01-09). "Tuberville to be next coach at Texas Tech". Retrieved 2010-01-09.  
  31. ^ Troy coordinator Brown to be offensive coordinator under Tuberville
  32. ^ "Texas Tech Composite Championship Listing".  
  33. ^ "2005 Texas Tech Football Media Guide" (PDF). pp. 182–183.  
  34. ^ "Southwest Conference Annual Standings" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-07-30.  
  35. ^ "Texas Tech Bowl History".  
  36. ^ Zenor, John (06-11-2009). "NCAA places Alabama football program on probation". Associated Press. Retrieved 06-12-2009.  
  37. ^ "NFL Players By College - T". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-06-24.  
  38. ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers Roster". Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Retrieved 2009-05-25.  

External links


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