Sports Texas Tech Alumni

Kliff Kingsbury

Former Coach Kliff Kingsbury looking up into the distance
Graphic by Zach Dallas

Kliff Kingsbury history from high school to present

In any conversation about Texas Tech Football Head Coaches many prolific names come about. From big names such as Mike Leach to the first coach the program coach ever had, in Ewing Y. Freeland. But one name that as of late topples them all, is the 15th head coach in the programs history, Kliff Kingsbury. With a long line of success stretching from his high school career to college to the present. It is a phenomenal story and a Texas Tech legend to say the least.

High School Years

The San Antonio native graduated from New Braunfels High School and played under his father Tim Kingsbury. As a multi-sport athlete he led his team to a 13-2 record in 5A Division 2 conference. Where the team was stopped in the semi-finals. In 2018, while at Texas Tech, Kingsbury was inducted into the Texas High School Hall of Fame, joining elite company. On top of being an exceptional athlete Kingsbury also was a top tier student in the classroom as well. Graduating 3rd in a class of 450 students he was the model for what a student-athlete should be.

College Years

Graduating from Texas Tech University in 2003 and playing for Tech from 2000-2002. Kingsbury has seen his share of success both on and off the field. While playing for the Red Raiders Kingsbury played in 43 games as the quarterback for the team. And completing 1229 of the 1881 passes he through throughout his collegiate career. Those passes tallied up to some interesting stats having a total 12,423 yards of total offense with 95 touchdowns. Playing under coach Spike Dykes and then under Mike Leach and his air raid offense. Kingsbury quickly found his home at the helm of another strong powered offense. While hardly missing the playoffs in his years as a starter Kingsbury put on a show while recording monster stats. And also helping taking Tech sports back to the top.

After graduating Kingsbury left with an impressive resume as well. In his time he racked up 39 school records, 13 Big 12 Conference records, and 7 FBS records. Also playing in Tangerine Bowl and Bowl and with his name in the Heisman voting he’s proven to be one of the greats. Also winning the Sammy Baugh Trophy which crowns the nations best collegiate passer. When Kingsbury and the rest of the team at the time would show up on site the talk was on them.

Along with his multiple awards and unreal statistics. Kingbury also took care of business getting a win against some of the universities biggest rivals making big news. Graham Harrel and Kingsbury are the only Tech QB’s who have beaten both the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners as starters. Especially nowadays with both schools being powerhouses it is no easy feat to do so.

Furthermore, Kingsbury graduated from Texas Tech in 2001 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management from the Texas Tech Rawls College of Business. With that he would then pursue a career in the NFL.

NFL Career

After his collegiate career ended on a high note Kliff Kingsbury was selected in the 6th round as the 201st pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. And now was a pro player beginning his career in the AFC East. At the time Kingsbury stood at 6’3″ and 213 pounds and had incredible potential. Unfortunately, as a pro, he would not have much opportunity on-site with other talented players. After sustaining an arm injury early in the season. Kingsbury would spend his rookie season on injury reserve for the Patriots.

After being on injury reserve his entire rookie season Kingsbury was then let go in the 2004. He then would later resign to another pro team in the NFC South. That being New Orleans Saints, where he would spend the remainder of the season there. Then afterwards in a short time in the NFC South he was signed to the AFC West with the Denver Broncos practice squad until he was again released in 2005.

Now after three years of fighting injury and going from practice squad to practice squad Kingsbury would get his chance with another team in the AFC East. After facing much adversity this time he made it for the New York Jets in 2005. In the only playing time of his career, he went 1-2 in passing for 17 yards in the fourth quarter vs. the Denver Broncos in the AFC East vs West matchup.

Then in his next and last season rounding out his time with many divisions in the NFL he signed with the Buffalo Bills. This time he went through training camp but would never get his chance. Overall Kliff made it on to 3out of 4 teams in the AFC East.


After a run in the NFL and not having much success Kingsbury would then take his talent to the Canadian Football League. In 2007 just months after departing from the NFL he signed with the Montreal Alouettes. After going through training camp with the team he was then traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and was the third string quarterback for the team.

With his run at trying to compete at the highest level coming to an end Kingsbury would then turn his attention to coaching. Which arguably is where a majority of his fame and talent came from.

College Coaching Career

Kliff Kingsbury coached at three different colleges. Those being the University of Houston, Texas A&M University and then lastly his alma mater Texas Tech. By the time he went through all three he came out as one of the greatest coaches of all time.


Shortly after his time in the CFL Kingsbury began coaching at the University of Houston. Initially he began as a member of the staff in quality control as one of the coaches. Also on Houston’s coaching staff was former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, who coached Kingsbury in his collegiate career. The dynamic and constant talk and communication between the two helped Kingsbury develop into coach he later became.

In his time at Houston he helped lead the Cougars to one of the top programs in the country. Then afterwards he was promoted to the position of co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He coached big names such as Case Keenum who is now an active NFL QB. Now in a better position he proved his worth every year with the program by leading the Cougars to the top offensive program in the country averaging 50 points and almost 600 yards offensively per game and helped win.

With a now impressive resume Kingsbury would then take his talents elsewhere.

Texas A&M

Shortly after coaching the offensive power house in Houston, Kingsbury landed another job as the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Now leading the Aggies for the 2012 season he helped coach Heisman Trophy-Winner Johnny Manziel. With Manziel he helped led the Aggies to a top 15 rated offensive in the country and was a finalist for the Broyles Award.

With two extremely succesful years leading two of the top offensives in college football Kingsbury would then come home. Now coming back with an impressive resume Kingsbury would return a Red Raider.

Texas Tech

Now back at his alma mater and the 15th head coach he began to lead the Red Raiders in 2012. At the young age of 33 Kingsbury became the second-youngest coach of a power five college team. Only a year after being named head coach the program in 2013 would be named a top 25 football team while in the nation while coaching games. With a salary of 10.5 million for five years, Kingsbury was paid and ready to led his team to the top.

In his first year the Red Raiders would go 7-5 in games played and earn a game in the Holiday Bowl. His first year also had big name such as the 2018 first draft pick Baker Mayfield. Who would later go onto Oklahoma to win the heisman.

While looking good for the photo and being then revamping the Red Raider program Kingsbury was on his way to taking Texas Tech Sports back to the top. While having several moments in his time in Lubbock Kliff Kingsbury was never able to put together a championship caliber team. In his time at his alma mater he left with a combined record of 35-40 and to many’s standards underperformed.

With big names coming out of the university such as 10th overall pick in the NFL Draft in the 2018 season Patrick Mahomes. Who arguably is one the greatest present Tech players of all time. The Red Raiders saw no shortage of talent every season due to Kingsbury. Arguably one of the greatest “player-coaches” of all time his recruiting was nothing short of phenomenal. Even with his departure from the university Kingsbury is seen as a trademark for the university for many.

NFL Coaching Arizona Cardinals

After Texas Tech Athletic Direct Kirby Hocutt announced that Kliff Kingsbury would not be returning. Kliff was fast to hop on the phone. He quickly received a warm welcome from USC as the new offensive coordinator and before ever coaching a single down at the university Kingsbury started receiving phone calls as a contender for a few NFL coaching jobs.

Now in Southern California Kingsbury would then resign and interview first with the New York Jets then the Arizona Cardinals. Shortly after doing so he was named the head coach of the NFL team Arizona Cardinals.

Now with the Arizona Cardinals and barely missing the playoffs Kingsbury will look to improve on the team’s playoffs chances in the NFC West. It has taken a few years for doubters to see that he is not just an ex-college player that had great stats but instead an offensive master mind. Given time in his young career, look for 2021 to be a breakout year for Kingsbury as they may have the right weapons to do so.

Kliff’s Social Success

Along with fame comes millions of followers on social platforms and Kliff Kingsbury has used it to his advantage. During the 2020 NFL Draft, everyone had an inside view of what the Cardinals Head Coach $4.45 million dollar pad looked like. In a viral Twitter post by the Cardinals, we see Kliff set up with the draft on the TV and a killer view.

Kingsbury is a social media guru to say the least. With over 125k followers on Twitter, nearly 60k on Instagram and with several viral Facebook posts he has grown his brand in the public eye.

After departing from the university this was posted to Kingsbury’s Twitter

Kingsbury while in the public eye has been with celebrities as seen on his Instagram

Via YouTube:

While Kingsbury may not be as active on on his Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. He finds a way to spread his platform through other platforms such as YouTube. With hundreds of videos that include him expect Kingsbury popularity to only grow in years to come.

For more Texas Tech Sports Articles checkout the Campus Live website!

Written by Campus Live Intern Trinity Porter

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