The Morning Stake

The Morning Stake | 2018.12.31

Your daily dose of all things Texas Tech athletics.

Leading Off

I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Year’s Eve! I’ll most likely be asleep by the time the clock strikes midnight, and happy to be so. LaBarre has a basketball post coming at 10:00 a.m. and an open thread goes up at 11:00 a.m. so we should have you covered.

I’ll have a special New Year’s Day post for tomorrow. Bring on 2019.

Lady Raider Basketball

I’m not sure which story should take the lede here, but when you sign a 5-star player, that’s probably a pretty big deal, so we’re going with that.

Former 5-star player Lexi Gordon, originally from Hurst, Texas, announced that she’s transferring from UConn and will join Texas Tech in January, making her likely eligible next January, of 2020. Gordon averaged nearly 25 point and over 9 boards a game in Hurst. Here’s head coach Marlene Stollings:

“I am very proud to welcome home the highly-ranked Texas girls’ basketball phenom, Lexi Gordon. She brings exceptional ability to score and will thrive in our high-octane offensive system,” Stollings said. “Lexi’s tireless work ethic and high basketball IQ are characteristics that will help catapult our program into the national spotlight. We are ecstatic to have her join The Movement!”

Oh, and the Lady Raiders earned their 9th win of the year with a 51 point win over Abilene Christian. This was obviously not a close game. Chrislyn Carr scored 29 points, Brittany Brewer had 25 and 12 boards, Eryka Sydney had 15 assists to just 1 turnover, etc. The ladies mad 11 three-pointers on just 21 attempts. Conference play starts for the ladies on January 2nd in Norman against the Sooners.

Texas Tech Basketball

Texas Tech will be in Morgantown on January 2nd to take on West Virginia to open Big 12 Conference play.

New rankings should be released today and NCAA’s Andy Katz has his otp 36 with Texas Tech checking in at #10 and the best pollster in college basketball, CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish has Texas Tech 9th overall:

Jarrett Culver finished with 19 points on 13 field-goal attempts in Friday’s win over UT Rio Grande Valley. The Red Raiders will open Big 12 play Wednesday at West Virginia.

Slightly looking ahead, ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has Texas Tech as a #4 seed and CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm has Texas Tech as a #2 seed.

Texas Tech Football

How delicious is all of this? I think the first domino to fall was that there were reports out of Houston that the Cougars were set to fire Major Applewhite after two seasons where he went 15-10. Houston famously fired the former coach Tony Levine for going 8-6, saying that the expectations were more than 8 wins. Well, now enter Dana Holgorsen, who is apparently at a contract impasse with West Virginia and the buyout for Holgo’s contract after January 1st is apparently now $1 million. Think what you will about Yahoo! Sports Pete Thamel but he wrote a scathing article about the situation in Houston before Applewhite was let go and I’d tell you to just read the whole thing, but here are the two best parts:

The decision at Houston will likely and hilariously be spun as a nod to grander ambition, that the school needs a higher-profile coach to climb back from the netherworld of the Group of Five and into the Big 12. But here’s what this Houston football Christmas Coup failed to take into account – everyone around college athletics is laughing at you.

The biggest guffaws are coming from the Big 12, which has never held a strong institutional view of Houston in the first place.

“The actions Houston is taking will not help in any way position Houston for the future,” said a Big 12 source. “In fact, just the opposite. Today and the way this was handled only reeks of desperation. Obviously there was no studying of those who built programs for the future the right way.”


Houston’s target has long been expected to be West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. His cronies have been burning up the lines for more than a week, whispering the move was inevitable. Holgorsen has long wanted out of West Virginia and, quite frankly, there won’t be a lot of institutional tears if he decides to follow Will Grier out of town.

Holgorsen has run his course there, so he’ll head back to a school that will hail him as a savior, where he’d worked as a coordinator in 2008 and 2009 and considers a recruiting comfort zone.

Hiring Holgorsen will mean Fertitta can tell the country club set that he helped finance a coup of luring a Big 12 coach to an AAC school. But in classic amateur Houston fashion, they’d long decided this was the course of action but wanted to wait for Holgorsen’s buyout to decrease on Dec. 31 from $2.5 million to $1 million. They’re basically trying to buy their way into the Big 12, but may occasionally need a GroupOn.


You can’t buy class. You can’t buy respect. And as Houston sputters through the most awkward of coach transitions, they will slog through the next few days knowing that they are the definitive embarrassment of college sports. They’ve mixed Big 12 ambition with Pop Warner professionalism, and everyone in college athletics is laughing at Houston officials for not realizing how awful this all looks.

I’m not supposed to mock other programs, but Houston is absolutely beholden to Tillman Fertitta and it is essentially his program now as he’s apparently directing all of the shots. I cannot imagine a worse thing for a program, to have one guy that has so much money that he determine whether or not you get that check you’ve been promised or you have to not get new track uniforms. I’d also add that setting the bar at 10 wins at Houston is just dumb and if I were a college coach, there’s no way I’d step into that hellhole with those expectations. I’d imagine that if D’Eriq King stays healthy, Houston has 9 wins and maybe they don’t get blown out by Army.

WatchStadium’s Brett McMurphy is the only one reporting that former Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury turned down a lucrative offer to coach at Houston:

USC OC/former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury has declined “a lucrative offer” to become coach at Houston, source told @WatchStadium. WVU’s Dana Holgorsen is UH’s next target, source said

Usually, if there is Kliff Kingsbury news to report, I’m going straight to Bruce Feldman, who isn’t reporting this at all, so I don’t know how accurate this is, but it’s out there.

Then at some point in the afternoon, Miami head coach Mark Richt announced that he was retiring after getting blown out 35-3 by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. Miami moved quickly and hired Manny Diaz who just took the Temple job. I think some Miami fans are probably a bit disappointed that they didn’t shoot for the stars in trying to get Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, but here we are.

This was #50 49.

EDIT: I messed up and included the 49th touchdown, and to make up for it, here’s all 50 Patrick Mahomes touchdowns.

Oh, and Patrick Mahomes is part of a very exclusive club, 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns: Payton Manning and Patrick Mahomes.

CBS7 in Midland spoke with transfer McLane Mannix who said that once he announced his intent to transfer, a number oof programs reached out to him and ultimately decided on Texas Tech. He also said that there is a 95% chance that he’ll be eligible in 2019 because of his mother’s medical situation (i.e. the NCAA will grant waivers to student-athletes who transfer because of an illness to a close family member). This would be absolutely huge for Texas Tech.


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