By T. Scott Boatright
The energy going through the air Wednesday afternoon during the introduction of former Texas Tech offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie sent lighnting bolts of red and blue dancing in the air at Louisiana Tech University’s Davison Athletics Complex.
And it left many of those on hand for the introduction, including Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker, in a fired up mood.
“I think it’s a fantastic hire,” Walker said. “I’ve been watching videos and reading stuff about what he might bring. Offense has always been something that brings people to the stadiums. Skip did a great job and brought us to another level. And I think Sonny can bring us to an even higher level.”
Longtime Tech football supporter Andy Halbrook said he was equally impressed.
“I’m excited about this hire and think he’s going to do great things for Louisiana Tech,” Halbrook said. “My hat’s off to (Tech Vice President for Athletics Eric Wood and Tech President Les Guice). They moved smart, they moved fast and I think it’s going to be really good for Louisiana Tech.”
Tech Vice President for Athletics Dr. Eric Wood thanked former Bulldogs head coach Skip Holtz for his nine years guiding the Bulldogs as well as the assistant who worked under Holtz before moving on to explain the move the university decided to make.
“When we started this process our goal was to find a leader of young men, who also coaches football at a high level,” Wood said. “But the goal was to hire a leader of young men. One who would hire other leaders of young men to serve as assistant coaches and support staff. One that embodies the Tenets of Tech, who would develop our student-athletes holistically as they compete to grow in the classroom, compete to become better versions of themselves and compete for championships.”
Ed Jackson, Assistant A.D./Student Development, Diversity and Inclusion at Tech, has spent 28 years at the school as a football coach or in athletics administration and said he feels the move was a good one.
“Excitement. Enthusiastic. Energy. Offensively creative mentality,” Jackson said about Cumbie. “This is a guy I think can make an impact.”
Jackson said the Bulldogs’ new head coach can relate to the players.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do because I truly think this change can make that impact,” said Jackson. “A head coaching job is a tough job, and as a head coach you have to constantly improve. The days of a coach being at one place for 20 or 30 years — that’s a prehistoric dinosaur. And I think this change will recharge the team and give them energy moving forward.”
Tech linebacker Tyler Grubbs said he already can feel that energy.
“I can feel he brings a lot of energy,” Grubbs said. “And as a young team, I think that’s something that will do well for us. We’re going to trust in him, and I believe he’s going to put us on the right path.”
Grubbs said he was also fired up when Cumbie talked about Tech defenders aggressively swarming to the ball in the way Grubbs is known for.
“I love that,” Grubbs said. “Just having a whole team with that kind of mentality, I think it’s going to be great for us.”
Longtime Tech fan Steve Lee said for him, it was simply a change that had become necessary.
“We did need a breath of fresh air,” Lee admitted. “That became obvious on Saturdays looking at the stands. So I’m hoping this change will be good for everybody, but hopefully especially good for the Bulldogs.”
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