It’s been a busy few months in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech hired new head coach football, Matt Wells, in December and along with him a new staff. During that transition, the Red Raiders broke ground on two facilities and in the midst of that had an incredible basketball season. CollegeAD recently had the opportunity to speak with Texas Tech Deputy Director of Athletics Tony Hernandez about the momentum that Texas Tech is building.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” says Hernandez. “It hasn’t stopped and I’ll do it all over again if I can. You know we are getting football going here, and all of our other sports are competing at such a high level. Basketball, obviously the championship game, baseball has been in the College World Series the last few years, softball is ranked in the top 15 in the country right now, men’s and women’s golf and tennis are both elite programs, all of our programs are on an upward trajectory.”
He explains with the hiring of Wells from Utah State, he believes the Red Raider football program will join their other programs to be one of the top in the country.
“You know, when you’re talking to someone about a position and you just get a feeling in your gut that, ‘this is the person,’ I had that feeling about Coach Wells. Just in the way he was talking about developing student-athletes. We run developmental type programs that take great athletes and really make them elite.”
Hernandez tells CollegeAD that Wells was the perfect fit for the culture Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt has worked so hard to develop at Texas Tech. One that will include basketball coach, Chris Beard, for another 6-years, thanks to a recent contract extension.
“His contract not only shows Coach Beard how much he’s appreciated, but it also shows our commitment as an institution from the Chancellor on down, it shows the commitment we are making to men’s basketball. We are showing that we belong, we are a great place to be, we are a place where we can win a national championship,” says Hernandez.
To help further the basketball program, Texas Tech is building a practice facility, the Womble Center, the state-of-the-art training and practice facility for both the men’s and women’s programs. The facility will house new weight rooms, coaches’ offices, training facilities and practice courts alleviating the overcrowding problem at the United Supermarkets Arena.
“It will opening in the summer of 2020, it’s a 60,000 square foot, $30 million facility, combined with our basketball arena, we will have some of the finest facilities in the country for college basketball.”
A few years ago, Texas Tech opened a new sports performance center, the $48 million donor-funded project. It is among the first multi-sport venues in the country, providing Texas Tech student-athletes a state-of-the-art facility for daily training and competition.
The facility includes the Petersen Family Indoor Football Practice Facility, an indoor track and field competition complex with seating for 1,500 fans, a strength and conditioning area, the Becky and Kelly Joy Family Sports Medicine Center and the PlainsCapital Bank Nutrition Center. They also have plans for a new baseball facility to enhance strength and conditioning and three other projects that they are working with architects to complete in the coming years.
Hernandez explains that Lubbock is the perfect place to foster the culture they’ve built at Texas Tech. The community is behind the university and that makes their jobs easier.
“It’s just a wonderful place to be. They are tremendously supportive; we have great fans. You look at our fan support across the board, at home in basketball this year we were 17-1. Our baseball tickets have been sold-out for a few years now. They are very philanthropic, great donors that allow us to build some of the best facilities in the country.”