LUBBOCK, Texas – New Texas Tech offensive coordinator Zach Kittley was recognized for his work at Western Kentucky this past season Wednesday as he was named the Quarterbacks Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com.
Kittley, who was hired by new head coach Joey McGuire in early December, transformed the Western Kentucky offense, namely quarterback Bailey Zappe, as the Hilltoppers closed the 2021 season as the nation’s leader in passing yards per game (433.7), while also ranking second in the FBS for both scoring offense (44.2 points per game) and total offense (535.3 yards per game).
Zappe, in particular, benefited from Kittley’s tutelage as the senior snapped the NCAA FBS single-season record for passing yards and passing touchdowns after recording 5,967 yards and 62 touchdowns through the air. Zappe, who previously played for Kittley at Houston Baptist, broke the FBS passing record set by Texas Tech’s own B.J. Symons, who threw for an impressive 5,833 yards in 2003.
Zappe put his name atop the FBS record book during Western Kentucky’s 59-38 victory over Appalachian State in the Boca Raton Bowl, completing an impressive 9-5 season for the Hilltoppers. Symons only played in 13 games during his record-setting season but actually hoisted 33 more pass attempts in the process.
Even with the amount of passing attempts, Zappe was steady under center as he ranked seventh nationally in passing efficiency (168.7), 10th in completion percentage (69.1) and 21st in yards per pass attempt (8.69). Among the six players ahead of him for passing efficiently, the only one within 200 attempts of his 686 was Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young of Alabama.
Zappe was named the Most Valuable Player of Conference USA following the season and was tabbed an All-CUSA first team honoree. He was a finalist for the Manning Award (nation’s top quarterback) and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (top offensive player with ties to the state of Texas) and was a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and Walter Camp Award.
The successful season at Western Kentucky helped Kittley return to his alma mater for his second stint on the Texas Tech coaching staff as he previously served in various roles from 2013-17, rising from a student assistant to graduate assistant and assistant quarterbacks coach his final three seasons. Zappe is the second notable Kittley pupil after he worked alongside then head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the development of eventual NFL MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes II from 2014-16.
Kittley was selected by prior winners of the award among a finalist pool that consisted of Corey Dennis (Ohio State), Rhet Lashlee (Miami), Bill O’Brien (Alabama) an Mark Whipple (Pittsburgh). He was also tabbed a finalist for FootballScoop’s Offensive Coordinator of the Year award as well for his work with the Western Kentucky offense.
Release provided by Matt Dowdy Texas Tech Athletics