Keep on pumping: Cumbie's symbol, McGuire's brand will mesh, new Tech coach says

·3 min read
A model pumpjack sits on the sideline during the Nov. 13 Texas Tech-Iowa State game at Jones AT&T Stadium. The pumpjack, quickly embraced by Tech players and fans, will stay when Joey McGuire takes over the program, the new coach says.
A model pumpjack sits on the sideline during the Nov. 13 Texas Tech-Iowa State game at Jones AT&T Stadium. The pumpjack, quickly embraced by Tech players and fans, will stay when Joey McGuire takes over the program, the new coach says.

New Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire announced Wednesday he's retaining Sonny Cumbie as the Red Raiders' offensive coordinator.

Cumbie's symbolic motivational tool isn't going anywhere either.

"Oh, the pumpjack's stayin', man," McGuire said.

After Cumbie was appointed interim head coach upon the Oct. 25 dismissal of Matt Wells, he thought of ways to keep the players engaged. He remembered former Snyder coach Chad Rogers' use of a pumpjack to symbolize an always-working mindset. It's taken off with players and fans and even attracted media attention.

Warming to the idea, McGuire decided the #PJM — Pumpjack Mentality — as well as the brand he's been promoting can all fit under the Texas Tech tent.

"Think about it: The brand is the toughest, hardest-working, most competitive team in the country," McGuire said, repeating a mantra he used at his introductory press conference. "I mean, that's a little bit like a pumpjack, you know? It's tough and it's hard-working, because it's going to work the same way all day long."

More: Joey McGuire to retain Sonny Cumbie as Texas Tech offensive coordinator

Cumbie will remain interim head coach through the end of the season while McGuire works primarily on assembling the next staff and recruiting. In the short time since Cumbie took control of the team, three incarnations of the pumpjack have been seen around the Tech football program.

There's a wearable small version on a chain, passed around daily to one deserving teammate from another for exemplary work in practice. There's a medium-sized model placed on the sideline during games that players crank after big plays. And a large version, delivered about a week ago, sits outside the southeast corner of Jones AT&T Stadium.

Saturday's regular-season finale at Baylor is Tech's first road game since the Red Raiders made oil-field machinery one of their game-day staples. The Tech football equipment staff tweeted on Thursday that the sideline pumpjack had been loaded onto the equipment truck for the trip to Waco.

New Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire addresses a United Supermarkets Arena crowd during a Nov. 9 basketball game. McGuire, who is working primarily on assembling a staff and recruiting, will take over the program when the football season ends.
New Texas Tech football coach Joey McGuire addresses a United Supermarkets Arena crowd during a Nov. 9 basketball game. McGuire, who is working primarily on assembling a staff and recruiting, will take over the program when the football season ends.

McGuire said he's met one-on-one with every player who has eligibility remaining after this season. That's where his introduction to the pumpjack came.

He was puzzled and taken aback when Xavier White walked in wearing the pumpjack neck chain — that version being tiny compared to a real-life pumpjack, but gaudy as pendant sizes go.

It's a team award, the Tech running back said. Then White explained the concept to the coach.

Recounting that meeting, McGuire said, "What's funny is I've always used different comparisons to try to get people to understand I'm just the same guy every day. I kind of live in two extremes. I'm always really, really excited.

"But as excited as I am if I have to get in your tail, I'm going to get in your tail with the same excitement as I do whenever I'm excited about seeing you."

It dawned on McGuire that the emblem fit him.

"When I start thinking about a pumpjack, that pumpjack's the same way every single day," he said. "It doesn't deviate. It doesn't care if it's cold outside, if it's hot outside. It's just the same way. And so I started telling the players, 'Man, I'm the pumpjack. I'm just the dude that's going to be the same way every single day, and if I'm not you can call me on it.' "

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Keep on pumping: Sonny Cumbie's symbol, Joey McGuire's brand will mesh, new Tech coach says

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