Smith and Curtis Knew That They Would Not Return Last Year

LAJ’s Don Williams spoke with former defensive line coach Mike Smith about his dismissal and said that he knew well in advanced, last year at national signing day, Smith knew that he would not be the defensive line coach past this year:

“This wasn’t a surprise to me,” said Smith, the now former co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. “Even way before the season started, it was known and I was told I would be fired after the season. So I chose to stay. I made a lot of promises to my guys and to my players. It wasn’t time for me to go somewhere else with (coming off) a bad season. I just love Texas Tech. Even if it’s one year, it’s worth one year.”

There’s so many more quotes there, so I encourage you to go read the whole thing, but Smith essentially says that he owed a duty to his players. Smith goes on to say that he’s not mad and he knows that this is a business.

One more quote (but again, I suggest you read the whole thing) is about head coach Kliff Kingsbury:

“I still chose (to stay),” he said. “Even knowing you’re going to be here for a year, it’s still worth it. I love Kliff. There’s not a better person than Kliff Kingsbury. I promise you that. That guy loves Texas Tech. He’s in this thing the whole way. It’s nothing where I’m resentful or hateful. It’s just part of this business.”

So, let’s get to some thoughts:

  • Pretty much everyone thinks everything about this is completely ridiculous, the idea of coaching, recruiting and working when you know you’re going to get canned, regardless of the outcome. You can call it lame duck or anything else, but I think the general thought is that this is not optimal to handle the situation.
  • There’s certainly some thought that regardless of the outcome, both Curtis and Smith did their jobs and they recruited and they worked hard. Maybe that’s not clear to everyone else, but that’s the biggest takeaway for me.
  • The reason to stick around is mainly the idea that Smith wanted to be in Lubbock for one more year and I can appreciate that. With a pregnant wife and young kids, there’s something to be said for that.
  • Smith makes it clear that defensive coordinator David Gibbs wanted his guys and maybe this was part of the deal. By the time that Gibbs was hired, cutting them loose would have been terrible for their careers, so he kept them on board for one additional year. The timing of this situation now is that Kingsbury and Gibbs cut them loose almost as soon as possible, giving them plenty of opportunity to find other jobs.
  • I would also guess that Gibbs is going to have his pick of any other guys let go, which isn’t optimal either, or to poach some coaches off of another coaching staff. I’ll have more later, but Kingsbury and Hocutt need to back up the truck and pay some folks.
  • If this is what happened for Mike Smith and Kevin Curtis, I wonder if there’s anything to the idea that Trey Haverty has the same fate as the two of them.
  • Being brutally honest is sometimes really tough, but in this instance, Kingsbury didn’t string them along for a year, giving them some sort of false pretense that this was eventually going to work out in some form or fashion.
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