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Texas Tech's Kingsbury gets rousing reception

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Texas Tech's Kingsbury gets rousing reception

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) Kliff Kingsbury is finally back where it feels like home.

Kingsbury was formally introduced Friday as the new head coach at Texas Tech, where he starred as the quarterback of some of Mike Leach's high-flying offenses. The former offensive coordinator at Houston and, most recently, Texas A&M, said those jobs were purely business.

``But being here now, this is personal to me,'' said Kingsbury. ``This is where I want to be. This is a place that's helped shape me as a man. It's given me so much.''

Kingsbury, a mentor to Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel this year and the first in a string of record-setting Red Raiders quarterbacks, was hired Wednesday to succeed Tommy Tuberville, who left unexpectedly for Cincinnati less than a week ago after logging three losing Big 12 seasons in West Texas.

The 33-year-old Kingsbury has never been a head coach. He's the youngest head coach of a BCS school and the second-youngest in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind Toledo's Matt Campbell.

Kingsbury has a four-year deal that averages $2 million a year - not bad for a guy who just five years ago was making less than $30,000 a year as a quality control assistant at Houston.

He promised a ``young and energetic'' coaching staff and has already gotten Eric Morris, a former Red Raiders receiver who coached with Leach this season at Washington State, and Kevin Curtis, a former safety, to sign on.

This is all wonderful news to the Texas Tech faithful who have watched the program stumble in the aftermath of Leach's 2009 firing and Tuberville's struggles. On Friday, it was clear Kingsbury's hire was a home-run decision by athletic director Kirby Hocutt.

``I don't have any doubt about that because he brings a level of enthusiasm and excitement'' fans want for the program, said Rick Dykes, who was offensive coordinator under his father, former Red Raiders coach Spike Dykes, and recruited Kingsbury in 1998.

During his time under Leach's pass-happy offense, Kingsbury helped engineer wins over Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas. He led the Red Raiders to a 38-28 win over the Sooners as a redshirt freshman in his first start, throwing for three TDs and running for a fourth. In 2002, Kingsbury's final home game saw him throw for 473 yards and six touchdowns to outlast the Longhorns 42-38.

On Friday, Kingsbury wasn't ready to reveal what sort of offense fans will see. He said the program is ``not broken'' despite back-to-back seasons where the Red Raiders slid down the stretch. This year, they lost four of their last five games and in 2011 they dropped five straight to close the season for the program's first losing season since 1992.

``I'm more of a walking-type guy, not a talking-type guy, so I'll let you all see that in the fall,'' he said. ``But it's going to be an exciting brand of football.''

There's little doubt about what kind of offense the Red Raiders will run Kingsbury has been part of some of the most prolific offenses in the country the past few years. His offenses spread the field and moved quickly, favoring a fast tempo that is all the rage.

Kingsbury followed Kevin Sumlin to A&M from Houston, where he mentored quarterback Case Keenum and the 2011 Cougars led the nation in total offense, passing offense and scoring. This year, Texas A&M is third in the nation in total offense at 552 yards per game heading into the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma.

Kingsbury found it a ``little poetic,'' that Friday's weather was classic West Texas - plenty of wind. Tuberville frequently complained about the often-breezy conditions. None of that from Kingsbury, a Texas native from New Braunfels, not far from Austin.

``I'm going on record that I actually enjoy the wind,'' he said. ``You'll never hear me complain about it.''

Then, near the end of his remarks, Kingsbury got fans riled up when he turned to Hocutt to ask a question.

``I was going to see if there's any way possible we can get Cincinnati on the schedule next year?'' he said, bringing a roar from the crowd.

One fan who's watched the Red Raiders since he was about 7 gave up his season tickets the year after Leach's firing. Jimmie Gowens, who said he might change his mind now, thinks Kingsbury's hiring will reunite the fan base.

``I think people have finally realized that Leach isn't coming back,'' said Gowens, a retired postal worker. Kingsbury is ``going to have to produce within a few years, but I think he will be given a better chance than Tuberville.''

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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USA Today Sports Images

Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

PODCAST: WIZARDS MAKE A FREE AGENT SIGNING

The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

RELATED: DURANT MAKES HUGE DONATION TO PG COUNTY SCHOOLS

Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

RELATED: LATEST NBA POWER RANKINGS

 

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.