Texas Tech took a chance with a mid-season firing of its head coach Matt Wells. Mini programs experience a mass exodus of players when a new coaching staff takes over. But Joey McGuire has handled any Texas Tech transfer portal concerns beautifully since being hired as the new head football coach.
There are plenty of valid reasons two businesses will merge with one another. The specific reasons all tie to the end goal of strengthening a business. But oftentimes, these mergers lead to failures. In fact, depending on the specific metric analyzed, anywhere between 50-85% of them will fail. When a college football program hires a brand new head coach, the business of college football is merging with a new smaller entity. Both seek to win more football games.
After all, this one person is going to oversee the hiring of 10-20 staff that will all have a direct impact on the program. This head coach, much like a business merger, brings its own culture to a place looking to change its own. The personnel associated with the program are going to be in shock. But even more so, the players are thrust into a new situation they never saw coming/had a hand in reshaping.
Emotions Are Real
When a situation is bad, players are not blind to the writing on the wall. Players see the news stories. They read the message boards. Everyone knows when their current head coach is on the hot seat. But there are still plenty of coaching changes that can come as a shock to the players. Lincoln Riley and Brian Kelly are the two most recent coaching changes that shocked all of college football. Both situations are going to bring about significant emotional reactions from a roster full of 18-to-22-year-olds. Some will look to bolt at the first opportunity. Some might have a closed-minded mindset on the new coach. It is a significant leadership challenge to the new coaching staff.
One thing successful business mergers do is address the emotions being felt by the personnel in a healthy manner. Margaret Hefferan, a CEO of five different companies and author of five books exploring business and effective leadership, has this to say about navigating a successful merger:
“Both companies will go into mourning. The employees have lost their old company — and there is no point denying it. You can (and should) try to psych them up about new possibilities, but this doesn’t mean the feelings of loss won’t be profound. Acknowledge that. If you have the wit and the courage, formalize it. Throw a funeral or a wake and articulate the change that everyone is going through.”
As funny as the thought of seeing a head coach throw a funeral or wake in the locker room, don’t count on this type of extreme measure to address any emotions associated with a coaching change. However, addressing the current players on the roster is imperative if the coach is looking to keep the nucleus of the team intact.
Expected Roster Turnover
What can a fan base and football program expect when it comes to roster turnover? Notre Dame has seen four players enter the portal after Kelly left. Oklahoma has seen seven players enter the portal, as well as numerous decommitments from the 2022 recruiting class. Ohio State has had nine players enter the portal since this season started. Alabama has had three players enter the portal as well. But Texas Tech has only had two players enter the portal since the hiring of coach McGuire.
Those two players did not enter their names into the portal until December 31st. It is crystal clear that McGuire made an emphasis not only to bolster the high school recruiting class for 2022. But he also spent immense time with a current roster and re-recruiting the roster to stay and play for him. A Texas Tech transfer portal crisis has been successfully avoided.
Turned Texas Tech Transfer Portal Worry To Major Gain
McGuire took over a class that was ranked 80th nationally and now has it currently at 39th with 16 signees. With the traditional national signing day less than a month away, McGuire stands to pick up two more three-star rated players. For as much progress has been made on recruiting high schoolers and keeping this current roster around, McGuire has gotten five transfers to commit to Texas Tech. This includes two former four-star recruits who played at Texas in Joshua Moore and Tyler Owens. According to 247Sports new transfer football rankings, Texas Tech’s transfer class ranks 3rd in the Big 12.
A business, just like a college football team, is only as good as the people employees. College football predominantly is about who has the better Jimmy’s and Joe’s, not who can draw better Xs and O’s. This Merger between Texas Tech and Joey McGuire is showing early signs of real positive returns. This is how the foundation is laid to make significant progress on the field during those fall Saturdays. It will be up to Maguire and his staff to translate this raw talent into wins this fall.
Main Image courtesy Brad Tollefson/AP