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 leadership, Texas Tech has developed into one of the nation's elite athletics programs with a top-15 showing in the 2017-18 Capital One Cup men's standings and a top-five finish for the 2018-19 academic year. Texas Tech ranked as the top men's program in the state of Texas following both years and posted its highest two finishes all-time in the Capital One Cup.
The 2018-19 academic year ranked as arguably the best in school history as the men's track and field team claimed the NCAA Outdoor title, the first national championship for a men's athletic program in school history. Texas Tech also made its fourth appearance at the College World Series in a six-year span, concluding its trip to Omaha by finishing among the final four teams for the first time ever.
Texas Tech came close to another national title earlier in that year as the Red Raider men's basketball program navigated its way to the Final Four for the first time before falling to Virginia in the National Final. The Red Raiders, who advanced to the Elite Eight round just a year before, also claimed the program's first ever Big 12 regular-season crown, one of 11 league titles for Texas Tech over the past five years.
Hocutt, who completed a two-year term as chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee in 2017, has watched six of his programs – men's track and field (indoor and outdoor), women's tennis, men's basketball, men's golf and baseball – finish among the top-eight teams in the country for their respective sports the past three years. During that three-year span, Texas Tech has boasted 15 of its 17 athletic programs competing in the NCAA postseason or a bowl game.
In addition to Texas Tech's success in competition, Hocutt has boosted Texas Tech's athletic profile with a list of achievements such as:
- Texas Tech has claimed 14 Big 12 Conference titles during Hocutt's tenure (four in women's tennis, four in men's track and field, three in baseball and one in men's basketball, 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) during that time.
- Hocutt has made several impressive coaching hires during his tenure, none possibly more noticeable than baseball coach Tim Tadlock and men's basketball coach Chris Beard. In addition, Hocutt was also responsible for naming Matt Wells as the 16th head football coach in school history.
- Under Tadlock, the Texas Tech baseball program advanced to the College World Series for the first time in school history in 2014 and has since made three return trips to Omaha in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Texas Tech is one of only three schools nationally to advance to the College World Series four times in that six-year span seasons.
- 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 its first appearance in 2018. On the tennis courts, Todd Petty's women's program recorded consecutive trips to the Elite Eight in 2017-18, a first in school history.
- 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.
- The student-athlete experience has been a priority under Hocutt's leadership as Texas Tech opened the Cash Family Sports Nutrition Center in February 2020. The state-of-the-art facility is the day-to-day dining location for the university's more than 400 student-athletes, offering on-site meal preparations, a 220-person seating capacity as well as the Dean and Christi Quinn Education Kitchen for Texas Tech's nutritional staff to educate student-athletes on proper cooking prep and storage.
- 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 student-athletes have excelled in the classroom under Hocutt's watch, raising the bar multiple times in terms to the highest term and cumulative grade-point averages in school history. Despite unprecedented circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Tech's student-athletes combined on a record 3.62 GPA for the 2020 spring semester, marking its 11th-consecutive term with at least a 3.0 GPA.
- Hocutt has extended Texas Tech's apparel contract with Under Armour through June 2024, 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 master's of education degree from the University of Oklahoma in 2001. He and his wife, Diane, have two sons – Drew Phillips and Brooks Ryan. Drew will be a freshman wide receiver at Angelo State University beginning this fall.
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 and Brooks Ryan
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)
- NCAA Division I Baseball Committee, 2020-23
- Finalist for Athletics Director of the Year (Sports Business Journal), 2020
- USA Football Development Model Council, 2019
- 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