Kirby Hocutt, a 2018 Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year, has guided the Texas Tech athletics department to unprecedented success since being named the 13th Director of Athletics in school history on March 2, 2011.
Under his guidance, Texas Tech recorded possibly its best season in school history during the 2017-18 academic year as six programs – men's track and field (indoor and outdoor), women's tennis, men's basketball, men's golf and baseball – all finished among the top-eight teams in the country for their respective sports.
In fact, Texas Tech was the only school in the country to play in a bowl game, while also advancing to the Elite Eight in men's basketball and the College World Series in baseball during the 2017-18 year. Texas Tech was the only Big 12 program to qualify for a bowl game and the NCAA Tournament in all three sports during the 2015-16 academic year as well.
Hocutt, who completed a two-year term as chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee in 2017, has led Texas Tech to one of its most successful eras in recent history over the past three academic years, highlighted by eight Big 12 titles (women's soccer, men's track and field, men's tennis, women's tennis and baseball) and 14 of 17 intercollegiate sports advancing to the NCAA postseason during that span.
In addition to Texas Tech's success the past three years, Hocutt has boosted Texas Tech's athletic profile with a list of achievements such as:
- In August 2014, Texas Tech unveiled the first athletics specific fundraising campaign in university history: The Campaign for Fearless Champions. The campaign includes four components: enhance athletic facilities, invest in the athletics scholarship endowment, grow the Talkington Leadership Academy and provide for the future of Texas Tech Athletics. The $185 million initiative focuses on benefiting all 17 Texas Tech athletic teams.
- As part of The Campaign for Fearless Champions, Hocutt provided the vision for and the plans to build the $48 million Sports Performance Center, which opened in the fall of 2017. The world-class facility houses an indoor track and field competition venue and the Petersen Family Indoor Practice Facility along with sports medicine, nutrition and strength and conditioning areas.
- Hocutt and Hall of Fame Coach Marsha Sharp created the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Leadership Academy in 2014 to help prepare student-athletes for success after graduation. The academy focuses on many life skills for student-athletes such as resume building, etiquette training, interview skills and leadership development.
- Texas Tech has made several upgrades to Jones AT&T Stadium through The Campaign for Fearless Champions, including a new state-of-the-art FieldTurf playing surface, upgraded premium seating in the north end of the stadium, the north end zone colonnade and a new high-definition video board and control room. Texas Tech has also invested into the Football Training Facility, upgrading the weight room and team locker room in 2017 and then replacing both practice field surfaces in 2018.
- Texas Tech has claimed 11 Big 12 Conference titles during Hocutt's tenure (four in women's tennis, three in men's track and field, two in baseball and one in men's tennis and soccer). In addition, the Red Raider football program has played in four bowl games (2012 Meineke Texas Bowl, 2013 Holiday Bowl, 2015 AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl and 2017 Birmingham Bowl).
- The Texas Tech baseball program advanced to the College World Series for the first time in school history in 2014 and has since made two return trips to Omaha in 2016 and 2018. Texas Tech is one of only three schools nationally to advance to the College World Series three times in the past five seasons.
- Under second-year head coach Chris Beard, the Texas Tech men's basketball program reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2018 as the Red Raiders finished a program-best second in the Big 12 as part of a 27-10 overall record. It marked the second-highest win total ever for the Red Raiders, who ended the year at No. 6 in the final USA Today Coaches poll.
- Both of Texas Tech's golf programs have advanced to the match play portion of the NCAA Championships under Hocutt as JoJo Robertson's women's team rallied to make the eight-team field in 2015, while Greg Sands' men's program notched their first appearance in 2018.
- The Texas Tech soccer and women's tennis programs have also achieved lengthy postseason runs in recent years as Tom Stone's soccer program played its way to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 2014. Todd Petty's women's tennis program, meanwhile, is coming off consecutive trips to the Elite Eight in 2017-18, a program first.
- Overall, Texas Tech's team NCAA Academic Progress Rate scores (APR) have been ranked among the top Big 12 performers (2011-18), while 13 programs have achieved exceptionally high scores of 980-plus.
- Hocutt has extended Texas Tech's apparel contract with Under Armour through June 2020, which ensures that all Red Raider student-athletes are among the finest outfitted in the country.
Throughout his tenure at Texas Tech, Hocutt has been prominent on several national committees, possibly none more recognizable than his role on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Hocutt was named to the CFP Selection Committee in 2015 and served his second year as the committee chairman during the 2017 season. The CFP Selection Committee is responsible for selecting the top four teams in the playoff while also placing the next group of teams to the remaining New Year's bowls.
Hocutt's success at Texas Tech was recognized in March 2018 as he was named an Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Hocutt was one of four sitting athletics directors at the NCAA FBS level to win the prestigious award.
Hocutt arrived at Texas Tech following three years at the University of Miami (Fla.) where he was named Athletics Director on Feb. 8, 2008. He previously earned his first opportunity as an NCAA Division I athletics director at Ohio University in 2005 at just the age of 33.
A Sherman, Texas native, Hocutt also served stints in the athletics departments at Kansas State (1996-97) and the University of Oklahoma (1998-2005). Prior to his stint at Oklahoma, Hocutt served as the coordinator of licensing at the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He began his sports administration career as the assistant director of marketing and promotions at his alma mater, Kansas State University.
A former football student-athlete at Kansas State, Hocutt was a four-year letterman at linebacker while leading the Big 8 Conference in tackles as a junior in 1993. Hocutt, who was elected captain his senior year, was named to the All-Big 8 Conference team following his junior season. The Sporting News selected him in 1993 as one of the nation's top-20 “most underrated” players.
Hocutt earned his bachelor's degree from Kansas State in 1995 and his masters of education degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. He and his wife, Diane, have two sons – Drew Phillips (16) and Brooks Ryan (14).
THE KIRBY HOCUTT FILE
Date announced as Director of Athletics: March 2, 2011
Birthdate: Nov. 19, 1971
Hometown: Sherman, Texas
Bachelor's of Science Degree: Political Science, Kansas State University, 1995
Master of Education: University of Oklahoma, 2001
Sons: Drew Phillips (16) and Brooks Ryan (14)
1995-96 – Internship, College Football Association
1996-97 – Assistant Director of Marketing and Promotions, Kansas State University
1997-98 – Licensing Coordinator, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
1998-2005 – Associate A.D. for External Operations and Sports Administration, University of Oklahoma
2005-08 – Director of Athletics, Ohio University
2008-11 – Director of Athletics, University of Miami (Fla.)
2011-Present – Director of Athletics, Texas Tech University
NOTEWORTHY AWARDS/ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEES (past and present)
- Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year, 2018
- College Football Playoff Selection Committee Chairman, 2016-17
- College Football Playoff Selection Committee, 2015-17
- Chairman, NCAA Division I Football Recruiting Subcommittee, 2013-15
- Big 12 Representative, NCAA Division I Leadership Council, 2012-15
- NCAA Division I Athletic Directors Association Executive Committee
- Named to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal's Forty Under 40 Award in 2010
- Orange Bowl Committee