November 7, 2013
By Mark Janssen
It's certain that Texas Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt has taken time to clue his first-year Red Raider football coach Kliff Kingsbury in on what to expect from a Bill Snyder-coached football team when the Red Raiders host the Wildcats on Saturday.
You might remember that Hocutt was an undersized but all-conference linebacker for Snyder from 1991 through 1994 when the Wildcats arrived on the bowl scene going to the Copper Bowl in 1993 and the Aloha Bowl in 1994.
They were both nine-win years, plus seasons when the Wildcats went a collective 9-4-1 in Big 8 Conference games.
Of the total K-State experience, the native of Sherman, Texas, said, "I have great memories. It's a place where I learned some life-long lessons that I'm now putting to use. When you have the opportunity to play your alma mater, it makes you think back to the place that helped form who you are today."
Those life lessons are Bill Snyder's "16 Goals for Success," which are still in place today.
"They resonate success. As you get older, you realize that," said Hocutt, who has also been an athletic director at Ohio University, Miami and now Texas Tech. "As a player, you get tired of hearing him talk about it, but as you get older and move forward with your life, you realize that there's not a secret formula for success. It's a basic work ethic within those 16 words... those 16 goals."
Today, Hocutt says of Snyder, "He's a man of great character and focused on doing things right. He expects to win and expects you to be the best you can be whether that's on the football field or the best husband or the best father. Those goals may sound simple, but they're not easy to fulfill."
He would add, "Coach Snyder is a great coach. His system works not only in college football, but in life."
At 5-foot-10 and weighing just 210 pounds, Hocutt needed every advantage on the field that he could find. After redshirting in 1990 and playing behind Brooks Barta in 1991 and subbing in 1992 for Brent Venables, Hocutt earned All-Big 8 honors the next two years posting 135 and 74 tackles, respectively, on the first two bowl games achieved in the Snyder-era.
"I'll never forget Tuscon and the Copper Bowl and how it was such a huge step for our program," said Hocutt. "We came out of the locker room and we saw that sea of purple. The stadium was powerful."
And, so were the Wildcats in rocking Wyoming, 52-17.
After the 1994 season, Hocutt attended a career fest in Kansas City when Ernie "Mr. K-State" Barrett approached him asking about what he wanted to do with his life.
"I told him I didn't know, but I wanted to stay in intercollegiate athletics," said Hocutt.
Barrett lined up an internship with the College Football Association in Boulder, Colo., working under recent interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas.
"Once I got a taste of administration, that's what I knew I wanted to do," said Hocutt. "It was being a part of a small component of higher education, which is something I believed in. I wanted to be a part of preparing young people to be a better person when they left the university where I was working."
Today, Hocutt is doing just that at Texas Tech where he's in charge of 11 head coaches and 388 Red Raider student-athletes.
"I see a lot of similarities with Manhattan and Kansas State, with Lubbock and Texas Tech," said Hocutt. "The people in west Texas and the people of Manhattan are the best people you'll ever find. They demonstrate such support and passion for their school."
REACHING 6 WINS: Five of the 10 Big 12 teams have already locked up the necessary six victories to be bowl-eligible, while only three other teams have somewhat of a realistic chance to win the needed six victories.
Kansas State (4-4): at TT, TCU, OU, at KU
West Virginia (4-5): UT, at KU, ISU
TCU (3-6): at ISU, at KSU, BU
BOWL PREP: Here's a listing of the postseason bowl games contracted to the Big 12 Conference for those thinking about traveling:
BCS Bowl: Fiesta Bowl, Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz.
Cotton Bowl, Jan. 3, Arlington, Texas
Alamo Bowl, Dec. 30, San Antonio, Texas
Buffalo Wild Wings, Dec. 28, Tempe, Ariz.
Holiday Bowl, De. 30, San Diego, Calif.
Meineke Car Care Texas Bowl, Dec. 27, Houston, Texas
Pinstripe Bowl, Dec. 28, Bronx, New York
NOT AS PREDICTED: In the preseason Big 12 poll conducted by the media, Oklahoma State was picked to win, followed by Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Baylor. The second division included Kansas State, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas.
As we speak in the Big 12, it's Texas (5-0), Baylor (4-0), Oklahoma (4-1), Oklahoma State (4-1), Texas Tech (4-2), Kansas State (2-3), West Virginia (2-4), TCU (1-5), Iowa State (0-5), Kansas (0-5).