Continued from page 1

The Lumberton native and former East Carolina defensive back in the late 1970s spent the past 30 years as a career assistant. He bounced from Austin Peay to Appalachian State to UNLV, before landing at Texas Tech in 2000.

Following a messy divorce between Leach and the school, McNeill was put in charge on an interim basis for the Red Raiders’ Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State. Tommy Tuberville got the full-time job and didn’t retain McNeill, who was hired by his alma mater in January after Skip Holtz left for South Florida.

“I’m looking forward to seeing our fans and getting around Pirate Nation and getting our football team, more importantly than me, around them,” McNeill said. “They’re not coming to see me. They’re coming to see our football team.

“I’m sure it’ll be emotional, and I’m looking forward to the execution of the game operation. That’s the exciting part of it to me. Let’s see who can beat who. I love that part of the game. But I’ll be excited, I’m sure.”