MCT News Service
FORT WORTH, Texas — New Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville released five assistants who worked for former coach Mike Leach, including Muleshoe’s Lincoln Riley.
Also released were running backs coach Clay McGuire, safeties coach Carlos Mainord, cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell and special teams coordinator Eric Russell.
Gil Brandt, who works for NFL.com and used to be the vice president of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys, was surprised the Red Raiders dismissed Riley, 26.
“This is totally unbelievable,” Brandt said. “If you can find a better coach at 26 years of age, better than Lincoln Riley, I want to know where he’s at.”
Riley, who called the plays during Tech’s 41-31 Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State, already has interviewed for a job at Southern Mississippi.
Tech athletic director Gerald Myers also shed some light on the status of defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill.
“I don’t think Ruffin is coming back,” Myers said. “I haven’t talked to Ruffin, but I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be on the staff.”
Leach’s former assistant coaches who survived the changes were offensive line coach Matt Moore, defensive ends coach Charlie Sadler and Sonny Cumbie, who is a graduate assistant for the offense. Myers said wide receivers coach Dennis Simmons also will be retained, but he wasn’t sure in what capacity.
Myers also said the Red Raiders are still trying to secure Alabama associate head coach/linebacker coach James Willis as their new defensive coordinator. Willis and his family have been in Lubbock the past two days.
On Tuesday, Tuberville hired Troy’s Neal Brown as his offensive coordinator.
Myers is working on the final details of Tuberville’s five-year contract. The contract is worth $8.6 million, plus incentives.