Cardinals Name Kliff Kingsbury as Head Coach
He has agreed to terms on a four-year contract with a team option for a fifth.
The 39-year old Kingsbury spent the past six seasons (2013-18) as the head coach at his alma mater, Texas Tech, and was hired as USC’s offensive coordinator in December. The New Braunfels, TX native is an 11-year coaching veteran who has also worked at Texas A&M (2012) and at the University of Houston (2008-11) where he began his coaching career.
Recognized as one of the profession’s brightest and most-innovative offensive minds, Kingsbury has tutored six future NFL quarterbacks, including first-round selections Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel as well as Case Keenum, Davis Webb and Nic Shimonek. Under Kingsbury’s guidance, Mahomes (2016) and Keenum (2009, ’11) both led the nation in passing.
Some of the highlights from Kingsbury’s coaching career follow below:
- While at Texas Tech, Kingsbury served as the play-caller for one of the college football’s most explosive and productive offenses. The Red Raiders featured a passing attack that ranked in the top-10 in the country in all six seasons of his tenure, ranked in the top-20 nationally for total offense in all six seasons and finished in the top-25 in scoring five times.
- Under Kingsbury, Texas Tech averaged at least 30 points per game, 470 total yards per game and 300 passing yards per game in all six seasons. The Red Raiders averaged over 500 yards of offense in four seasons and over 450 passing yards twice. They also averaged at least 140 rushing yards per game four times in six seasons under Kingsbury and averaged more than 40 points per game twice.
- At both Houston (2011) and Texas Tech (2016) Kingsbury’s offenses led the nation in total offense and passing offense.
- Patrick Mahomes spent two full seasons (2015-16) as the starter at Texas Tech under Kingsbury and in those two years the Red Raiders finished #1 (2016) and #2 (2015) in the nation in total offense while Mahomes threw for a combined 9,705 yards and 77 TDs in 25 starts.
- As a sophomore in 2015, Mahomes became the youngest quarterback in NCAA history to amass 5,000 yards of total offense. He eclipsed the 5,000-yard mark again in 2016, becoming just the third quarterback ever to record 5,000+ yards of total offense in back-to-back seasons.
- Dating back to his first offensive coordinator job at Houston in 2011, a Kingsbury-led offense never finished outside the top-20 in the nation in total offense and never finished outside the top-15 in passing offense.
- In 2016, Texas Tech led the nation in total offense (566.6 ypg) and passing offense (463.0 ypg) while finishing #5 in scoring (43.7 ppg). It was the sixth consecutive season a Kingsbury-led unit finished in the top-10 in total offense dating back to his time at both Houston and Texas A&M.
- In 2015, the Red Raiders finished #2 in the nation in total offense (579.5 ypg), #2 in scoring offense (45.1 ppg) and had the nation’s second ranked passing offense (388.2 ypg). The 45.1 points per game average established a school single-season record and Texas Tech was one of just two schools in the nation to score at least 25 points in every game. The Red Raiders featured a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time in school history.
- In his only two seasons as an offensive coordinator (2011-Houston; 2012-Texas A&M), Kingsbury was named Offensive Coordinator of the Year both years by FootballScoop.com.
- During his lone season at Texas A&M (2012), Kingsbury mentored Johnny Manziel, who became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman Trophy.
- With Kingsbury serving as co-offensive coordinator in 2011, Houston led the nation in total offense (599.1 ypg), passing offense (450.1 ypg) and scoring (49.3 ppg) as quarterback Case Keenum finished his collegiate career as the most prolific passer in NCAA FBS history.
While at Texas Tech, Kingsbury also helped running back DeAndre Washington to back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons (2014-15), becoming the first Red Raider to accomplish that feat since 1995-96. Wide receiver Jakeem Grant set the school career receiving yardage record (3,164 yards), breaking the previous mark held by two-time Biletnikoff Award winner Michael Crabtree.
Kingsbury spent the 2012 season at Texas A&M as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach working under current University of Arizona head coach Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M finished third nationally in total offense (558.5 ypg) with an attack that finished 13th nationally in rushing (242.1 ypg) and 14th in passing (316.5 ypg). The Aggies beat #1 Alabama on the road and #11 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
He began his coaching career at the University of Houston under Sumlin as the offensive quality control coach (2008-09) prior to being elevated to quarterbacks coach (2010) and then was named co-offensive coordinator in 2011.
Kingsbury played quarterback at Texas Tech (1999-2002) where he set 39 school records, 16 Big 12 marks and 17 NCAA records during his collegiate career while throwing for 12,423 yards and 95 TDs. As a senior in 2012, he was awarded the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the nation’s top college quarterback and was also named the Associated Press Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year while finishing ninth in Heisman Trophy voting.
At Texas Tech, Kingsbury recorded more than 12,000 passing yards and total offense, including over 1,000 completions, making him just the third player in NCAA history to accomplish all three feats. He was also awarded with Academic All-America Player of the Year honors in 2002, the highest academic honor for a player in Texas Tech history.
He was drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by New England in 2003 and spent his rookie season on the Patriots injured reserve list before spending the 2004 season on the Saints practice squad. Kingsbury played in one game with the Jets in 2005 and attended training camp with the Bills in 2006. He also played with the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2006 before playing with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League in 2007.
In 2018, Kingsbury was inducted into the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame. He played high school football under his father, Tim, at New Braunfels (TX) High School where he threw for over 3,000 yards and 34 TDs as a senior.