A former player for Texas Tech, Clay McGuire enters his second season on the coaching staff and first as running backs coach, a position he lettered in for four years as a Red Raider.
McGuire began his coaching career last season as the special teams coordinator and moves to the backfield following the departure of Seth Littrell. He was the program's offensive graduate assistant in 2007, and the video intern in 2006. The second-year coach inherits a backfield that returns one of the top backs in the Big 12 Conference - Baron Batch. As a sophomore, Batch averaged 6.7 yards per carry while splitting the role with former Red Raider Shannon Woods. The duo combined for 19 of the offense's 28 rushing scores, the second-most in school history and two shy of the record set in 1993. Batch contributed seven of the scores.
McGuire has a solid group in 2009, led by Batch and Aaron Crawford, who redshirted during his sophomore season last year. Redshirt freshman Harrison Jeffers had a tremendous spring practice and provides the backfield with three outstanding running back prospects.
McGuire assumed the special teams coordinator role early in 2007 on an interim basis, after Ruffin McNeill moved over to the defensive coordinator position before the fifth game.
He experienced an interesting first season as midway through Matt Williams joined the kicking unit after winning an in-game promotion during the Massachusetts game. Williams perfectly hit a 30-yard field goal to win a year's free rent at a local apartment complex, but opted to join the Red Raiders when head coach Mike Leach summoned the Weatherford native after the kick and invited him to join the team. Williams proved to be one of the bright spots in McGuire's first season, connecting on all 33 of his PAT attempts. He joined newcomer Donnie Carona as the team's two primary kickers.
In an offense that doesn't provide many punting opportunities, Jonathan LaCour made the most of each kick, dropping 11 of 25 inside the 20. The punting unit, behind LaCour's strong leg, allowed only 14 returns all season.
Eric Morris took over punt return duties and averaged 10.6 yards per return, while also scoring Tech's first TD on a punt return since the 2004 season. Morris recorded the fifth-longest return in school history when he eluded defenders on an 86-yard scoring return at Nevada.
The special teams units responded to McGuire immediately in 2007 as the punt team thwarted any attempt at return opportunities for the opposition. Tech opponents averaged a mere 6.7 yards per return and returned only 18 of 30 punts. The kickoff coverage unit was second in the Big 12 and Donnie Carona was among the top five nationally in touchbacks.
Place kicker Alex Trlica closed his career out under McGuire's watch in 2007, setting NCAA records in PATs made (233), PATs made without a miss and PATs attempted.
Danny Amendola, splitting punt return duties with Morris, had his best season fielding punts in 2007. The former Red Raider averaged 15.9 yards on 14 returns, including a 65-yard effort, which was the long of the season for Tech. Morris also performed well, averaging 9.2 yards, and helping lead Tech to an 11.6-yard average as a team.
McGuire appeared in 45 games at the H-Back position for the Red Raiders during the course of four seasons from 2000-04. A big, physical player, he was noted for his effectiveness as a blocker in Tech's offense, and also factored into the passing game, catching 32 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns during his career.
He spent the 2006 season as an intern in the football program's video department, helping break down game and practice film for the coaching staff. As the offensive graduate assistant, his responsibilities included aligning and preparing each week's defensive scout team, working with both the offensive linemen and skill players, and helping the assistant coaches with weekly game plans.
McGuire is a native of Crane, Texas, where he lettered in both baseball and football at Crane High School. He and his wife, Jeri, have a daughter, Jorja, and two dogs, Gus and Roz.