Founding Member of the Big 12
Texas Tech University was founded in 1923 as the Texas Technological College and is the only campus in the state to house a major university, law school, and medical school. The university – located in the northwestern city of Lubbock – formally became Texas Tech University in 1969.
Texas Tech has played in several conferences. In 1996, the university became a founding member of the Big 12 Conference and remains there today. Texas Tech has enjoyed 11 conference championships and an overall winning record. It also experienced quite a bit of success under coach Mike Leach, when the team competed in a bowl game every year he manned the helm.
Texas Tech has a few notable rivalries, particularly with in-state teams such as Texas A&M (despite the latter’s move to the SEC in 2012). The University of Texas remains in the Big 12 with Texas Tech, and there is a long history between the Red Raiders and Longhorns as well.
The Masked Rider Rides
Sports teams for Texas Tech have been dubbed the Red Raiders since 1936. This name was first noted in the Lubbock Morning Avalanche when sports editor Collier Parrish gave them the nickname because of their all-red uniforms and difficult coast-to-coast schedule.
It wasn’t long before the first Texas Tech mascot made its debut as the Masked Rider. This tradition began in 1936 as well and was reportedly the result of a dare – an unknown rider circled the field and then disappeared, becoming known as the “ghost rider.”
The Masked Rider got the official nod of approval in 1954 when agricultural sciences student Joe Kirk Fulton was asked to ride out before the team at their first Gator Bowl appearance – interestingly enough, he wasn’t wearing a mask at the time. This helped pave the way to the school’s acceptance into the Southwest Conference, and Fulton suited up as the Masked Rider for the next three years.
The Masked Rider is not the only mascot at Texas Tech, however. The Southwest Conference passed a rule in 1971 that said live animals were banned from away games, so a new mascot, Raider Red, was created from a drawing by the late Lubbock cartoonist Dirk West. When the Red Raiders are playing in a venue where live animals aren’t allowed, Raider Red dons boots for football games and high top tennis shoes for basketball games and cheers the team on.
Are you ready to cheer your Red Raiders on to victory? If so, get your guns up and check out the Red Raiders merch at Fanatics.com.