Texas Tech has called a press conference for Monday morning, where it's expected to announce the firing of head coach Dan Spencer after four seasons. Spencer opened this season with an 86-86 mark in Lubbock, and this year's Red Raiders went 29-26, including a 7-17 mark in the Big 12 Conference.
[Editor's Note: Texas Tech has made it official.]
It was a down year for the league and Texas Tech still failed to qualify for the Big 12 tournament. In the bigger picture, the program hasn't earned a regional bid since 2004. Spencer was unable to stem the downward tide despite being an alumnus of the school who helped build Oregon State's back-to-back national champions as Pat Casey's top assistant coach.
The most logical replacements are assistant coach Tim Tadlock, who was made interim head coach, and New Mexico head coach Ray Birmingham. Tadlock was lured away from league rival Oklahoma in November, played at Texas Tech for Spencer's predecessor, Larry Hays, and has head coaching experience in the junior-college ranks, having spent nine seasons leading Grayson (Texas) County JC. He led Grayson to back-to-back NJCAA national championships in 1999-2000 and posted a .774 winning percentage overall.
Birmingham also has had significant JC success at New Mexico JC prior to taking over as the Lobos' head coach, and has continued to win at the Division I level. The 56-year-old Birmgham has a 162-130 mark that includes a regional at-large appearance in 2010 (ending a 48-year program drought), a conference tournament championship (and resulting regional bid) during a 20-41 rebuilding year in 2011, and this season's 33-22 mark. At 18-6 in the Mountain West Conference, the Lobos will be the top seed at this week's league tournament.
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