LUBBOCK, Texas – Sonny Cumbie, one of the top passers in school history and now one of the most-innovative offensive minds in college football, will return for his second stint on the Texas Tech staff as he has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach by head coach Matt Wells.
“When we set out on this search last week, we wanted to hire one of the top offensive coaches in the country, and we found that in Coach Cumbie,” Wells said. “He’s known as one of the top quarterback developers in the country and will have an immediate impact on our offense. We’re pleased to welcome Coach Cumbie, his wife Tamra and their boys back to Texas Tech.”
Cumbie, who has spent the last seven years at Big 12 rival TCU, was previously an assistant coach on the Texas Tech staff from 2010-13, serving first as the inside receivers coach his first three seasons and then as co-offensive coordinator and outside receivers coach his final year. He was also a graduate assistant during the 2009 season.
Cumbie departed Texas Tech following the 2013 season for TCU where he has overseen the Horned Frogs’ quarterbacks throughout his tenure and served as the sole offensive play caller each of the past four years. TCU boasted the Big 12’s second-best conference record (38-25) and its third-best overall mark (58-30) over his seven seasons, which coincided with six bowl appearances.
“I am extremely excited to be head back to Lubbock and Texas Tech,” Cumbie said. “I’m looking forward to working with Coach Wells, the staff at Texas Tech and the players there. Guns Up!”
Once the quarterback in one of Texas Tech’s biggest bowl wins, Cumbie returns to West Texas where he threw for 4,742 yards as a senior in 2004, the sixth-highest total in school history and one of the top-25 marks in NCAA history. Cumbie, who waited patiently as a former walk-on quarterback to finally lead the prolific Tech offense, twice led the Red Raiders to 70-point games that season en route to garnering honorable mention All-Big 12 accolades as well as Academic All-Big 12 first team honors.
Cumbie might be best remembered, however, for his 520 passing yards in Texas Tech’s 2004 Holiday Bowl victory over (then) No. 4 California, capping off an 8-4 season. Cumbie was tabbed the Holiday Bowl MVP for his performance as he still own the Holiday Bowl and the Tech bowl records for most passing yards.
Following his successful career at Texas Tech, Cumbie went on to play for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. As a rookie in 2006, Cumbie started in 12 games and set a franchise record with 252 passes attempted without an interception. He was named the AFL All-Rookie Team quarterback and was a finalist for Rookie of the Year. Upon completion of the 2006 season, Cumbie was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. He was back in the AFL for the 2007 season, leading the Avengers to their first playoff victory in franchise history while throwing for 83 touchdowns.
After the AFL suddenly ceased operations before the 2009 season, Cumbie became the head coach and director of player personnel for the San Angelo Stampede of the Indoor Football League. Four games into the season, Cumbie added starting quarterback to his list of responsibilities. Once again, as he had with the Avengers, Cumbie led a franchise to the playoff and its first playoff win in the organization’s history.
The stint in the IFL helped Cumbie catch the coaching bug as he joined Mike Leach’s staff that next fall as a graduate assistant. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach the following year under Tommy Tuberville and then was retained with a co-offensive coordinator title under Kliff Kingsbury in 2013. The Red Raiders threw for at least 4,000 yards in each of his four seasons on staff, all while averaging an impressive 35.1 points per game during that span.
Cumbie coached a pair of 1,000-yard receivers in Darrin Moore and Eric Moore during the 2012 season, making the pair the first teammates to record 100-yard seasons since 2007 when two future NFL stars in Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola did so. A year later, Tech utilized two true freshmen quarterbacks and still boasted one of the nation’s most prolific offenses, finishing second in the FBS for passing yards per game (392.8) and eighth for total offense (511.0).
In addition, Cumbie provided Red Raider Nation with a taste of his play-calling ability at the 2012 Meineke Car Care Bowl as he stepped into the role as interim offensive coordinator. The Red Raiders amassed 429 yards of total offense en route to a 34-31 win over Minnesota, one of four bowl victories for Tech with Cumbie on staff.
Cumbie’s impact was immediately felt at TCU as the Horned Frogs became the nation’s mot improved offense in both total yards (+188.2 yards per game) and scoring (+21.4 points per game) in only his first season. TCU’s 21.4 points per game improvement broke the Big 12 record of 19.1 that was set by Oklahoma in 1999 and was the largest improvement by any team nationally since Northwestern increased its average by 24.0 points between the 1999-2000 campaigns.
The Horned Frogs ranked second in the FBS in scoring and fifth for total offense in 2014 after averaging 46.5 points per game and 533.0 yards. TCU set 26 school records on offense that season alone as the Horned Frogs went from 4-8 in the year prior to Cumbie’s arrival to 12-1 overall with a Big 12 title and a 42-3 rout over No. 9 Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
TCU wrapped the 2015 season at 11-2 record after rallying from a 31-0 halftime deficit to top No. 15 Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl, which matched Tech’s own postseason record for the largest come-from-behind victory in bowl history. Bram Kohlhausen, making his first collegiate start, collected Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP honors and was tabbed to the Associated Press All-Bowl Team after completing 28-of-45 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns to go with two scores on the ground.
TCU, for the second-straight year, set multiple school records offensively as the Horned Frogs ranked third nationally in total offense (562.8 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (42.1 points per game). TCU recorded at least 50 points in five different games that season and reached the 40-point mark an impressive eight times.
Over those two seasons, Cumbie was instrumental in the development of Trevone Boykin into a two-time All-American and a two-time finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award. Boykin, the 2014 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting as a junior in 2014 and then ninth as a senior a year later. He later signed a free-agent contact with the Seattle Seahawks.
Cumbie helped push TCU to the Big 12 Championship game and a top-10 ranking in his first year as play caller in 2017 as the Horned Frogs closed the year at 11-3 overall following a 39-37 victory over No. 13 Stanford in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Kenny Hill set the TCU single-season mark for completion percentage (67.2) while leading the FBS for third-down completion percentage (67.3). Hill went to earn Alamo Bowl Offensive MVP accolades after throwing for 314 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for a score and catching another.
Max Duggan blossomed into the latest successful Cumbie protégé in 2019 as he broke the TCU true freshman records with 2,077 passing yards and 15 touchdowns after earning the starting nod in only the third game of the season. In his two seasons under Cumbie, Duggan has already thrown for 3,872 yards and 25 touchdowns, while also rushing for an additional 1,081 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick following his true freshman season.
Cumbie and his wife, Tamra, are both natives of Snyder, Texas, and graduates of Texas Tech. Cumbie graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in history, while his wife has a master’s degree in technical communication. They are parents to two sons, Grey and Hays.