‘Kliff’ jumping: Hired as Cardinals head coach, Kliff Kingsbury makes leap from NCAA to NFL

Posted at 7:07 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 19:08:49-05

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The suspense is over in Arizona. It’s no longer a Kliff-hanger.

Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals announced they’ve hired Kliff Kingsbury as their new head coach. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the contract contains a team option for a fifth season.

In November, Kingsbury was fired by Texas Tech, his alma mater, after going 35-and-40 in six seasons. The following month, he joined Southern Cal as its offensive coordinator. That gig lasted less than 40 days, as he now a head coach in the NFL despite no prior coaching experience in the league.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury of the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Patrick Mahomes. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)

At the college level, Kingsbury directly worked with current NFL starting quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum. Prior to taking over at Texas Tech in 2012, Kingsbury’s coaching career began at the University of Houston as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator from 2008-11. He then served as offensive coordinator and QB coach for Texas A&M in 2012 working with Johnny Manziel.

“I think he’d be a great NFL coach,” Mahomes, now quarterback for the Chiefs, said during his press conference Tuesday. “He has the work ethic, he has the passion for the game. I know he’d be able to relate to quarterbacks.”

However, Kingsbury’s relationship with Mayfield isn’t as peachy.

Mayfield, who transferred away from Kingsbury and Texas Tech, says Kingsbury shunned the future Heisman Trophy winner and number one draft pick after Mayfield was injured.

The Cardinals ranked last in the NFL in almost every offensive category in 2018. Texas Tech was 12th in the nation in total offense this past season, averaging 485.2 yards and 37.3 points per game despite a 5-and-7 record.