ESPN has ranked Texas Tech’s football student section as the best in the Big 12 conference.
In 2013 Tech set attendance records in its home opener with 14,915 students in the stands. Weeks later when the TCU horned frogs came to town, the students showed up in force, more than 16,000 strong. The attendance gains stand in sharp contrast to programs at many other universities, where student attendance has fallen.
Tech’s increase coincided with the arrival of head coach Kliff Kingsbury and renovation of the Jones AT&T stadium. The upgrades included a massive video board, additional seating, two observation decks, and a Spanish-style column enclosure on the north side of the stadium.
The new video board, the eighth-largest high-definition screen in the nation, came complete with a booming new sound system.
The stadium additions, combined with the swarm of students, had the energy inside the Jones at an all-time high.
There was no shortage of tortilla tossing, deafening noise, and “Raider power” chants occurring within the Jones every Saturday. The students provided the Red Raiders with a unique home field advantage.
Helping to feed the frenzy, Kingsbury connected with the student section and encouraged the rowdy game day atmosphere
Two days after Halloween, Kingsbury offered cash prizes to students who dressed in the best costumes for the OSU game. He also actively tweeted to the student body throughout the season, pumping them up.
“To all of our amazing TTU students, let’s see how crazy we can get in the Jones this Saturday night! Costumes encouraged…#letsgetweird #Wreckem” Kingsbury tweeted before the OSU game.
The players themselves also thrived on the energy brought by the students, and jumped out to a seven game undefeated win streak. In big situations, when the crowd noise peaked, the players responded and made big plays.
“We’ve talked a lot, as a staff, about protecting The Jones and making this a place where people don’t wan’t to come in and play. A big part of that is our fan support and how loud they are and how energetic they are.” Co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumble stated.
Not that Tech fans needed another excuse to get fired up. Raider fans have always been known for their overly rowdy behavior and ability to create a challenging environment for opposing teams. But in response to Kingsbury, Raiderland saw a record breaking attendance year and an atmosphere unmatched by any other Big 12 school.