Kittley reflects time coaching Patrick Mahomes

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 2:13 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Patrick Mahomes has the Kansas City Chiefs back in the Super Bowl for the second straight year, but before he was taking the NFL by storm, he was getting coached by WKU offensive coordinator Zach Kittley.

“That was three amazing years for me,” Kittley said. “As great of football player that he is, he’s an even better person.”

Kittley coached Mahomes at Texas Tech from 2014-2016 while serving as a graduate assistant coach and assistant quarterbacks coach for Red Raiders from 2013-2017.

“Whenever you get a guy like that you kind of give him the reigns and you just kind of let him go,” Kittley said. “He wasn’t perfect every snap but we definitely told him ‘hey man go out there and play your style of play and let’s go try and win football games.’”

Mahomes rode the bench most of his freshman year, but started the last three games for Texas Tech and ended the season with a performance that would become his standard in college.

The future NFL MVP lost to No. 5 Baylor in a 48-46 shootout, but Mahomes threw for 598 yards and six touchdowns. That game would stand out as the moment Kittley realized just how special Mahomes would be.

“There’s one play there where he rolls out and really just chunks a deep ball down to the endzone to Bradley Marquez for a touchdown,” Kittley said. “I remember thinking to myself on the sideline right then ‘we’ve got something really, really special here with this young man.’”

In his three seasons at Texas Tech, Mahomes threw for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns.

Mahomes was taken 10th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs and took over as the starter in 2018. Since then, Mahomes has won a league MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP.

“I love the fact that I know Pat’s in a great situation, where he’s at with a great organization and great coaching staff,” said Kittley.

The success Mahomes has had in such a short time came to no surprise for Kittley.

“He just has IT,” Kittley said. “The leadership qualities that he brings to the table are undeniable and then just God-given freak arm talent. I mean he’s unreal man and he puts the work in mentally, too.”

Mahomes was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing football, baseball and basketball. Kittley said having a background in multiple sports played a part in Mahomes’ success at the quarterback position.

“I think you gain so many different aspects of athletics in general and how to be a teammate in different situations and I think that’s been a tremendous asset for him with what he is now,” Kittley said.

There is no question Mahomes is one of the most gifted quarterbacks in the NFL, but the WKU offense coordinator also praised Mahomes as a leader and said the person we see in interviews is who he is behind the scenes.

“Unreal teammate,” Kittley said. “He’s just an encourager. He’s always positive, very confident in himself but even more so in his teammates. Everything about him is just top-notch.”

When it was announced Kittley was hired by WKU to serve as the Hilltoppers offense coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Mahomes praised his former coach for playing a key role in his development.

“It means the world to me,” Kittley said. “In this profession, you spend a lot of time with the young men that you coach. I was growing as a young coach during that time that Pat was with us there at Tech. It’s pretty cool for me.”

This Sunday, Mahomes and the Chiefs will look to become the first team since the 2004 New England Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls. Kittley is confident in Kansas City and thinks Mahomes’ success is just getting started.

“I think he’s going to go get him another one this Sunday,” Kittley said. “I can see him winning six or seven Super Bowls by the time it’s done. He’s only 25 so he’s got a long way to go.”

Kittley will be rocking a No. 15 Mahomes jersey this Sunday and pulling for his former player.

The Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off in Super Bowl LV this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Watch the full interview with Zach Kittley below.

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