College Football, that time-honored American institution where college men are free to be men and beat the crap out of each other in front of a cheering audience of thousands. Football is one of those symbols of American masculinity recognized worldwide. Texas Tech, however, seems to have a different idea.
A memo leaked today seems to indicate that Tech’s athletic director has met with Stephen Spiegelberg, a ridiculously named Texas Tech alumnus and proprietor of Lubbock clothing store Chrome, about changing Coach Kingsbury’s image within the media.
Some gems from the memo:
* Get Kingsbury a nickname. Suggestions include “GQ,” “Hollywood,” and “Swagger.”
These are the worst nicknames I’ve ever seen. I could get drunk, smoke salvia, eat bathsalts, and probably come up with something more coherent.
* Get him a professional Hollywood stylist, specifically Fred Segal, who has worked with a laundry list of big stars.
Cool, because nothing screams “respectable coach” like a nice, metrosexual look.
* Get him invited to Fashion Week in NYC, The Oscars, and other A-list events.
Big football scouting events, these are.
* Redesign the Tech mascot image to give it a more vintage look tied in with the heritage of the mascot’s inspiration.
Now, I’m all for a school working to develop their brand image and reach a bigger fan base, but this whole image redesign thing is just a little ridiculous, and it’s most likely just an overzealous design consultant trying to get more heavily involved with Texas Tech merchandising and brand development. However, I’m of the opinion that a coach should coach, not be an international fashion star.
In football, the other team doesn’t give two fucks what your coach looks like, unless he takes the unorthodox approach of covering himself in the dismembered body parts of his enemies and walks onto the field with a retinue carrying heads on pikes, or he’s the Harbaugh brother that has a habit of Hulking out on the sidelines. Same difference though, really. Now those are fashion statements that will make rival schools shit themselves.
Other than the amusing highlights, there were some other sections of the memo that just stuck out as weird. The whole email, though, is basically a plea for the school to make their football program cooler with a bunch of gimmicks. I always thought you made a football program cool by being good and kicking ass, but apparently that’s not the case anymore.
UA showed us….we are already the team that wears the cool brand in Texas. We can brand as the Hippest school in the game. Swagger on and off the field. It will draw stars to lubbock and the program. You have a two part machine. UA investing big time in the image of the program and Kliff (the need another coach to sit with Steve S at USC) They need an icon that can knock down NIKE huge list of personalities. They are missing this in all sports. (Kirby can sell the hell out of it to Kevin, but its about striking at the right time…soon while we are hot) He will get it. We need a $1 billion firm helping to power us. It Kevin best investment in college sports. Maryland is his love, but TTU is his best investment. We need him to consider adding additional funds to help grow UA’s TTU investment. The more we win, the more it pisses off Nike in Austin. It a natural cool kids school, with cool kids clothing brand. Offering the firm in LA 100K to get kliff into the b-list is chump change for the return and image for UA. Kliff=GQ and Kliff only wears UA for sports.
What the fuck did I just read? Seriously. These aren’t coherent plans for anything. This is like reading American Psycho, if it were written by a guy obsessed with marketing instead of being recognized by the top execs at his firm. In this mess he references Nike, USC, Maryland, and Texas Tech being a natural cool kids school. This is what marketing lingo diarrhea looks like, gentlemen. I also like how he casually suggests knocking off Nike like they’re some two-bit sports gear shop down the street.
Football shouldn’t be about marketing. Fan experience? Yes. A good fan experience makes all the difference in the world. I know firsthand as a Redskins fan that a shitty fan experience can make your whole fan base jaded and detached because they feel betrayed. This memo is exactly the wrong kind of treatment of the fan base. You don’t monetize a fan base, because you lose them when you do. If Texas Tech truly wants to be among those transcendental national football programs with huge fan bases and insane amounts of external revenue, they don’t need Kingsbury at fashion shows and high society events — they need him out on the field, pushing the team to excellence. They need him working with student groups to build enthusiasm and an awesome fan experience, and they definitely need to stop listening to this alumnus with dollar signs in his eyes and delusions of Risky Business-esque grandeur.
Image via Sports Illustrated