Texas Tech AD on Big 12 expansion: We are financially stable, competitively challenged

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Next week the SEC will open up the football media day circuit with the start of SEC Media Days in Alabama. The Big 12 will get in on the fun the following week, and you might as well prepare for more discussion about whether or not the Big 12 will or should expand its membership. Oklahoma president David Boren recently lit a fire on the discussion by suggesting the Big 12 is psychologically disadvantaged in the new age of college sports. Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt did not exactly slam the door shut on expansion during a radio interview this week, but he did seem to plant a foot on the side against expansion.

“There’s a process that is led by [Big 12 commissioner] Bob Bowlsby, who I think is one of the best leaders in college athletics, as well as our president, and I know that we will continue to look at the landscape and be as strategic and proactive as we possibly can be,” Hocutt said, as transcribed by The Dallas Morning News. That is a very safe way of suggesting Hocutt is not actively pushing for expansion, but instead would be intrigued by the possibility if it seems to make sense for Texas Tech and the rest of the Big 12.

“We are financially stable, we’re competitively challenged,” Hocutt said. The Big 12 certainly can afford to remain at 10 members with the record revenue coming in this past year, thanks in part to the launch of the College Football Playoff and the money that came with it. But last season the Big 12 saw both Baylor and TCU, co-champions of the conference with one loss each, shut out of the playoff. The omission of Baylor and TCU in favor of Big Ten champion Ohio State sparked some in and around the Big 12 to push for expansion to regain a conference championship game.

Hocutt’s statements suggested the Big 12 would be unwise to not think about possible expansion moves that could benefit the conference in the future. The stability of any conference is dependant on leadership having not just a one or five-year plan, but a 10-year and a 25-year vision for the conference, so Hocutt’s idea the Big 12 should always be on the lookout for what’s best for the conference is solid advice.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”