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Dr. Saturday

Kevin Sumlin has a history of grooming new head coaches

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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From left: Kliff Kingsbury, Johnny Manziel, Kevin Sumlin (AP)

Kevin Sumlin and Kliff Kingsbury have been together since Kingsbury started his coaching career at Houston in 2008.

And in that time, Kingsbury has blossomed from a green assistant to the heir apparent to Dana Holgorsen, coaching the nation's top offensive quarterback in one of the nation's most prolific offenses, to coaching Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

Not a bad ascent.

So when it came time for Kingsbury to spread his wings and become the head coach at his alma mater, Texas Tech, Sumlin was a champion of the move.

"I'm extremely happy for him. For him to be able to go back to his alma mater and be the head coach, everything just happened at a very fast pace," Sumlin said Thursday afternoon. "It just was a great fit for him and I think that it's been everything that he wanted. I knew he was going to be a head coach and it just happened to be at his alma mater. That's just great timing for him."

Kingsbury is the third head coach to come from Sumlin's staff since Sumlin became a head coach himself in 2008.

Dana Holgorsen left Houston to become the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State and was then named the head coach at West Virginia. Holgorsen led the Mountaineers to an Orange Bowl win last year, and while their first season in the Big 12 was a little rough, he still got them to a bowl game.

When Sumlin left Houston a year ago, Tony Levine went from special teams/tight ends/wide receivers coach on Sumlin's staff to the head coach for the Cougars. He was 5-7 in his first season, but Levine's team showed improvement throughout the year.

And now Kingsbury has a chance to make Texas Tech a power player in the Big 12.

Sumlin said he didn't know who would fill Kingsbury's position on the staff, but that it would likely be an outside candidate after a nationwide search. He also said he hadn't decided who would call the plays against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl next month, but that that would be decided soon.

Sumlin has hit home runs with his offensive hires throughout his tenure and there are a lot of candidates that fit the Aggies' style of offense.

Overall, Sumlin stressed that Kingsbury's move spoke volumes about the type of coaches he's had on his staff and the opportunities for advancement with other programs.

"Any time you have success, that's always the case," Sumlin said of coaches leaving for head-coaching jobs. "Our program is at a point financially where we won't see guys making lateral moves. But if a guy wants to better himself and become a head coach, I'm all in favor of that."

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