Wednesday proved to be Sonny in Ruston.
With a packed house on the club level of the Davison Athletics Complex, Louisiana Tech President Les Guice and VP and Director of Athletics Eric Wood introduced one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football as Sonny Cumbie was welcomed to Ruston as the 34th head football coach in Bulldog history.
Cumbie has spent the past 12 years as an assistant coach in the Big 12, including two stints at Texas Tech (2009-13, 2021) and one at TCU (2014-2020). He has served as offensive coordinator the past nine years for the Red Raiders and Horned Frogs and worked under some of the top coaches in college football, including Mike Leach, Tommy Tuberville, Kliff Kingsbury and Gary Patterson.
“Sonny Cumbie is the perfect fit for our program, our department, our University, and our community,” said Wood. “Culture. Class. Competitive Excellence. He exemplifies all of these things. As our student-athletes, staff, and fans get an opportunity to know Sonny, they will see what we saw during the interview process.
“I’ve heard so much in the last year about the history of high-scoring offenses and hard-hitting defenses. Our fan base wants an exciting brand of football. They want to win conference titles. They want to continue to build upon the success we have had over the past decade. Sonny will bring all of that to Ruston.”
Cumbie comes to Tech after serving as the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2021, including serving as the interim head coach over the final four games of the season. This was his second stint in Lubbock, after beginning his college coaching career with the Red Raiders in 2009.
He also served as the quarterbacks coach and the offensive coordinator at TCU during his seven seasons in Ft. Worth. And everywhere he has been, his offenses have been innovative and entertaining.
“Sonny Cumbie is a strong young coach who impressed us all with his depth of understanding and focus on the game,” Guice said. “His ability to recruit promising student-athletes and maximize their talents will help us continue to take our football program to a higher level of competitiveness. I look forward to seeing Sonny be the next in line of so many great Louisiana Tech coaches, and I know he and his family will be a great addition to our Tech Family.”
During his tenure at TCU, Cumbie oversaw the Horned Frogs’ quarterbacks and served as the sole offensive play caller each of the final four years. TCU boasted the Big 12’s second-best conference record (38-25) and its third-best overall mark (58-30) over his seven seasons, which coincided with six bowl appearances.
His impact was felt immediately at TCU as the program broke the Big 12 record with a 21.4 points per game improvement, the largest by any team nationally since 1999-2000 (Northwestern). TCU ranked No. 2 in scoring (46.5) and No. 5 in total offense (533.0) on the way to a 12-1 record.
“My family and I are extremely excited and honored to be the head coach at Louisiana Tech University,” Cumbie said. “We look forward to many successful seasons in Ruston with an exciting brand of football. I cannot wait to assemble our staff and get to building relationships with our players and the coaches across this great state.”
During his first stint with the Red Raiders, Texas Tech threw for more than 4,000 yards each of the four years while averaging more than 35 points per game.
“I’ve gotten a chance not only to experience first-hand the tremendous coaching ability of Sonny Cumbie, but also to understand how exceptional a person and leader he is,” said Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury. “Coach Cumbie is one of the bright young offensive minds in football. This opportunity is a great one, and I am excited to watch the success he will have at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are getting a good one.”
His passion for high-octane offenses comes from his playing days at Texas Tech.
After walking on for the Red Raiders in 2000, he earned the starting role his senior season and led the country in passing yards (4,742 yards) and total offense (4,575 yards) with 32 touchdowns. Texas Tech went 7-4 in the regular season and earned a berth to face Top 5 Cal in the Holiday Bowl, where the Red Raiders were huge underdogs. Cumbie completed 39 of 60 passes for 520 yards (still a Holiday Bowl record) and three TDs in the win over the Bears.
“Sonny is a fantastic choice for Louisiana Tech,” said current TCU and former LA Tech head coach Sonny Dykes, who coached Cumbie at Texas Tech. “He will connect with both players and recruits. His energy and optimism will be contagious and create excitement within the football program. Also, he’s a perfect fit in Ruston and will embrace and serve the community. I have no doubt he will be highly successful.”