LUBBOCK, Texas – Zach Kittley, the architect behind one of the nation’s top offenses this season at Western Kentucky, has been named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas Tech, head coach Joey McGuire announced Monday evening.
“Zach Kittley represents one of the top, young offensive minds in college football, and we are thrilled to add him to our staff as offensive coordinator,” McGuire said. “In a short amount of time, Zach has built a reputation as an innovative play-caller and effective developer of quarterbacks. We’re excited to welcome him and his family back home to Texas Tech.”
This will be Kittley’s second stint on the Texas Tech coaching staff after previously serving in various roles on Kliff Kingsbury’s staff from 2013-17, rising from a student assistant to graduate assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach his final three seasons. Kittley worked alongside Kingsbury in the development of Patrick Mahomes II as a graduate assistant, tutoring the future NFL MVP into becoming the nation’s leading passer in 2016 and an eventual top-10 selection by the Kansas City Chiefs.
“My family and I are excited to return to Texas Tech and a place I love so much as the offensive coordinator,” Kittley said. “This is a dream come true for me personally, and I can’t thank Coach McGuire enough for the opportunity. I’m looking forward to meeting our players soon and immediately getting to work in building this offense into one of the nation’s elite units.”
Kittley, 30, returns to his alma mater after a record-setting season at Western Kentucky where the Hilltoppers currently rank second in the FBS for scoring offense, averaging 43.1 points per contest following Friday’s appearance in the Conference USA Championship game. Western Kentucky is also second nationally in total offense per game (528.0) and leads the country in passing (436.5 yards per game) behind the arm of quarterback Bailey Zappe.
Zappe has developed into the nation’s top passer in his lone season at the FBS level as the senior leads the country in passing yards (5,570), passing yards per game (428.5), passing touchdowns (56), points responsible for (358) and total offense per game (430.2). Heading into Western Kentucky’s upcoming bowl appearance, Zappe needs 263 passing yards to match Texas Tech’s own B.J. Symons’ NCAA FBS longstanding single-season record that was set in 2003.
Kittley was hired by Western Kentucky after three seasons in a similar role at Houston Baptist where he, similarly, built one of the nation’s top offenses at the FCS level. During its shortened 2020 season, Houston Baptist continually frustrated FBS opponents as Zappe, who later transferred to Western Kentucky after Kittley’s hire, completed 65.6 percent of his passes for 1,833 yards and 15 touchdowns with only one interception over four games.
Zappe led the nation with 35 passing touchdowns in 2019 and ranked second in passing yards per game for a Huskies offense that was third nationally in passing offense with 334.3 yards per game through the air. Houston Baptist also ranked second in the Southland Conference and 12th nationally after posting 426.6 yards of total offense that season.
Houston Baptist was Kittley’s first full-time coaching position after his time on the Texas Tech staff. The Red Raiders annually ranked among the nation’s top offenses during his three seasons as a graduate assistant as Texas Tech led the country in total offense and passing offense and ranked fifth in scoring during the 2016 campaign. The Red Raiders, who averaged more than 30 points per game in each of those three seasons, were also second nationally in total offense and scoring offense in 2015.
A native of Lubbock, Kittley originally attended Abilene Christian to play basketball before transferring back to Texas Tech to complete his bachelor’s in history in 2014. He earned his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the university in 2016.
Kittley and his wife, Emily, were married in February 2017 and are parents to two boys, Knox and a newborn, Ford. Kittley is the son of Wes Kittley, Texas Tech’s longtime Director of Track and Field.
ZACH KITTLEY CAREER EXPERIENCE
2021 – Western Kentucky Offensive Coordinator (Quarterbacks)
2018-20 – Houston Baptist Offensive Coordinator (Quarterbacks)
2015-17 – Texas Tech Graduate Assistant (Assistant Quarterbacks)
2013-14 – Texas Tech Student Assistant (Offensive Intern)