Best/Worst Hire in 2012: With all due respect to Kliff Kingsbury, we cannot yet say whether or not this was a good hire. The return of Kingsbury has gladdened many scarlet hearts, but this hire will be judged on wins and losses, not breathy sighs and weak knees.
That being the case, there were no truly noteworthy hires in Tech athletics in 2012. Tommy Tuberville's appointment of Art Kaufman as defensive coordinator was a qualified success though. He took a defense that was among the nation's very worst and made it serviceable. Quite an impressive achievement, actually.
The jury remains out on Chris Walker's run as interim head coach of the men's basketball team, but early indications are not terribly promising. When confronted by solid competition, Walker's Red Raider hoopsters have not been up to scratch. In contrast to predecessor, Billy Clyde Gillispie, Walker is a nice coach for whom to play. It might be time to hit the nasty button a time or two and hope that the team responds.
Best Coach in 2012: Tom Stone continues building the women's soccer team and 2012 was the high water mark of his Tech career to this point. The program received its first ever NCAA tournament bid, won a school record 16 games, and improved its win total by six.
Best Program in 2012: See "Best Coach."
Best Athlete in 2012: Kennedy Kithuka became Texas Tech's first national champion in cross country in 2012. He was also the Big 12 champ and went undefeated in seven meets.
Best Moment in 2012: Frankly, 2012 was a gloomy season in Tech athletics, but the hiring of Kliff Kingsbury to take the reins of Red Raider football at least provides a beacon of hope for the future. It remains to be seen how successful Kingsbury will be, but there's no doubting the popularity of this hire. Kingsbury is the hottest thing to hit Lubbock since Buddy Holly. The city fathers may want to construct a highway in order to give the Kingsbury name a fitting mantle.
Most Improved Team in 2012: Tom Stone's soccer team made a tremendous six-game improvement in 2012. That's the best of the bunch.
Most Improved Athlete in 2012: Football defensive tackle Kerry Hyder truly exploded onto the Big 12 landscape in 2012. Previously, the junior from Austin had provided tantalizing hints of his ability, but in the 2012 season he was a consistent force—never did he have a bad game, rarely was he mediocre. The failure of voters to award Hyder First Team All Big 12 honors was a disgrace. He was the conference's best defensive tackle.
Best Program in 2013: Tech's women's golf team was Top 25 material for much of the 2012 season and should be even better in 2013, with the return of strong All American candidates Gabby Dominquez and Kim Kaufman, along with the addition of Kimmy Hill who was rated one of America's top linksters in the prep ranks a year ago.
Best Coach in 2013: JoJo Robertson should oversee the transition of Tech's women's golf team to elite status this coming season. Robertson's team will vie strongly for the Big 12 championship.
Best Athlete in 2013: Kennedy Kithuka is only a junior. There's no reason he can't repeat as national champ in 2013, and it's rather difficult to do better than that.