MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The opportunists in Lubbock, Texas, didn't need much time to stock their shelves with party favors celebrating Kliff Kingsbury's return to Texas Tech.
The former Red Raiders quarterback was hired in December after Tommy Tuberville literally left in the middle of a meal with recruits to take over at Cincinnati. Within just a few weeks, T-shirts in storefronts bragged how "Our Coach Is Hotter Than Yours." Another design showed a pair of the Ray-Bans with the multicolor, mirrored lenses Kingsbury is known to wear atop the words "The future's so bright ..."
And of course there was the mandatory "Schedule Cincinnati."
"It's more, I guess, embarrassing than surreal," Kingsbury said in April.
That's what happens when a 33-year-old who set 39 school records saunters onto a campus in West Texas, fresh off a headline-grabbing run with the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at Texas A&M.
That's why a prominent Texas Tech graduate, one who owns one of those timely clothing stores in town, emailed an assistant athletic director with tips to make the most of Kingsbury's age, coolness and popularity.
The email, obtained by Deadspin.com in the spring, suggested nicknames for Kingsbury and names of stylists and branding firms to help Texas Tech and its coach cultivate their image.
The Red Raiders, not long removed from Mike Leach's highs and controversial low as head coach - never mind Tuberville's cold and abrupt exit - could be forgiven for not restraining their enthusiasm. They were going to do things like print T-shirts that read "Swagger's back."
"I'd like to actually do something on the field first before all the other stuff comes into play, but that's part of the position, part of the job," Kingsbury said after spring football.
Well, No. 20 Texas Tech (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) is one of 17 remaining unbeaten teams. If they win Saturday's home game against Iowa State (1-3, 0-1), the Red Raiders will be the fifth undefeated opponent for WVU this season.
The Mountaineers (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) play host to Texas Tech at noon Oct. 19 at Mountaineer Field.
"It's been fun watching him since leaving Houston and all the success he had at Houston and Texas A&M," said WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen, who was an assistant coach with Kingsbury at Houston after he coached Kingsbury at Texas Tech. "He'll have lots of success at Texas Tech. He's a true Red Raider."
Like Holgorsen, Kingsbury has made his mark as a first-time head coach with the Air Raid offense.