Hocutt: Year in Review

Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt reflects on his first year as the AD for the Red Raiders.

Exciting and eventful are just some of the ways Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech Athletic Director, chose to describe his first year in the job.

With the first year in the books for Hocutt, it was time to look back and reflect on what was 2011-2012 especially for him.

"Well it's been great," Hocutt said during a sit-down interview earlier this month. "It's been an eventful year, it's been one sitting here today I'm more excited about the opportunities that lie in front of us and the future, than even what I was maybe even a year ago."

A year ago Hocutt could not have seen in the crystal ball the outcome of the shifting and always changing landscape in conferences across college sports.

For a while it seemed as though the Big 12 Conference might not survive, with the rumors of multiple schools maybe uprooting and taking their historic programs elsewhere in the country – like the SEC or the then-Pac 10.

After the rumors and gossip ended and the truth revealed itself, Texas A&M and Missouri decided it was time for them to move on.

Move east to be exact into the powerhouse conference that has become the SEC, home to the last six National Champions in football.

"It's been interesting from a conference, national perspective, with the conference alignment issues that we encountered in the fall," Hocutt said. "And it's been a rewarding one in that some of our sport programs are having their best years in program history."

The year has been in fact rewarding for some of the Texas Tech programs as Hocutt said a lot of programs, especially the smaller programs, are having some of the best years in recent history and program history.

 Volleyball turned in the best season in almost 12 years according to Hocutt, and soccer had their best finish in history, while the men's tennis team just took second place in the conference and the Lady Raider tennis team just won their first ever Big 12 Regular season crown.

Despite these programs having their best seasons, Hocutt said there is no hiding the fact that the bigger programs, the programs in the spotlight more than others, had some issues this past year.

"So a lot of exciting things," he said. "That being said, we cannot hide behind the fact that some of our more high profile sports have had disappointing years. Football had a disappointing fall, women's basketball had a disappointing end to their season and men's basketball was in a rebuilding year and provided some challenges there."

The Lady Raider basketball team climbed as high as No. 10 in the country, and finished the season by being knocked out in the third round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament by San Diego, while the Red Raider basketball team was able to just muster up one win in Big 12 play this season.

Football, being the highest profile sport of the three, and the most scrutinized, the year was also not the best either.

A 5-7 finish, absent from post-season play and riddled with injuries throughout the 2011 campaign.

Hocutt said these programs have been among some of the top in the nation in the past, which is where he wants them to get back to.

Among the successes he referenced in the history of these programs of course included the 1993 National Championship run by the Lady Raiders, being the No. 2 football team in the country in 2008 and in basketball making Sweet Sixteen appearances a common occurrence.

With these previous successes in mind, Hocutt said looking forward in the next few years there is positive things to come with what's being built right now.

"We're putting that foundation in place to get back to the level that this athletic program belongs," he said. "The level that this level this university and our fan base and our student body deserves."

With the foundations being put in place with all the pieces being put in place Hocutt said the overall goals of the athletic department have not changed.

The goals include success on the field, but Hocutt said they also want the athletes to be successful off the field as well.

"Our goals haven't changed," Hocutt said. "Our goals are to be the best intercollegiate program in this country, the one that others aspire to emulate, a program that competes for championships on a regular basis. And that being said, a program that's going to win and win the right way, and not only win in competition but win in the classroom and win in the community and preparing young people for life."

 

The Hocutt series will continue as we look at the Big 12 Conference as a whole with the 2012-2013 seasons on the horizon.


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