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'Dream Come True': Texas Tech's Zach Kittley a Part of Red Raiders Family Tradition

Texas Tech Red Raiders coordinator Zach Kittley and his family have been staples in the Lubbock community. He's looking to add more meaning to their historic presence in his first season under coach Joey McGuire.

Texas Tech Red Raiders offensive coordinator Zach Kittley has been around the program since he was a small boy. Being a staple for the Red Raiders in Lubbock runs in the family. 

But still, despite all the greatness he's been around, it was a dream come true for him and his family once he was was named offensive coordinator for the 2022 season. 

This was particularly the case for his father, Wes Kittley, a longtime head track coach for the Red Raiders who won national title in 2019.

“It’s just a dream come true for me and his mother, and his brothers,” Wes Kittley said, per AP. “Zach is beloved in this town. We kind of say this in the Kittley family, ‘We’ll die for you if we know you’re for us.’”

This isn't Zach's first go-round with the Red Raiders. His offensive mind has been a part of some historic achievements. 

From 2013-17 under former Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury,  Kittley rose from being a graduate assistant to assistant quarterbacks coach in the span of five seasons, helping mentor legendary Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes. 

Zach had been working with his dad on the track team before joining Kingsbury's staff. It's safe to say his football career took a huge step forward from then on out.  

“I told him, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to go work for this guy and learn from this guy,’” Kittley said. “He said, ‘This is your deal and you’ve got to go approach it and attack it.’”

Mahomes would quickly go on to become one of the league's best quarterback after being drafted No. 10 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. 

But it didn't end there for Kittley. In his first season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Kentucky in 2021, he helped orchestrate an offense that saw quarterback Bailey Zappe crush single-season FBS records for passing yards (5,967) and passing touchdowns (62).

Zappe was selected by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of this year's draft and nearly took down legendary quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in his first regular-season action on Sunday. 

Now, Kittley is leading the growth of quarterback Donovan Smith under coach Joey McGuire, who are still waning through the highs and lows of a first-year staff. The Red Raiders sit at 3-2 headed into a tough road matchup with the No. 9 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday. 

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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