- Texas shined like rarely before with nine Big 12 championships in 20 sports, but don't bring up baseball or basketball.
- The most promising incoming freshmen Longhorns didn't always even become Longhorns.
- And the next Longhorn national championship will come from football (probably not), basketball (can Texas first win an NCAA game), swimming, tennis or golf (bingo).
Now that the caps and gowns time have been put up, and the Longhorns have put up their cleats, sneakers, gloves, rowing oars and whatever else needs to be put up, it’s time to do our annual objective audit of the Texas athletic program.
There’s a lot of highlights from nine Big 12 championships in just 20 sports and a whole lot of excellence in the non-revenue sports even though Texas didn’t win the football title and didn’t even make the NCAA tournaments in men’s basketball or baseball.
So grab your No. 2 pencil (just curious, is the No. 1 pencil racked with jealousy?) and have at it.
1. Texas’ coach of the year was: (a) Eddie Reese as always (b) Tom Herman after New Orleans (c) John Fields, lord of the greens (d) Rowing master David O’Neill (e) men’s tennis coach Bruce Berque for the best audition in history
2. Texas’ athlete of the year was (a) coverboy/road grader Sam Ehlinger (b) all-everything pitcher Bryce Elder (c) national champion shot putter Tripp Piperi (d) golf prodigy Cole Hammer (e) tennis star Christian Sigsgaard barely over Yuya Ito
3. Texas’ team of the year competed in (a) football, as the Sugar Bowl champion (b) men’s swimming, the NCAA runner-up (c) men’s golf, the NCAA runner-up (d) softball, which made it to the super regionals (e) men’s tennis, which won the national championship
4. Texas’ assistant coach of the year was (a) offensive coordinator Tim Beck, who killed it with Ehlinger’s development (b) basketball’s Darrin Horn for getting a head coaching job (c) tennis’ Bruce Berque before he was promoted (d) golf’s Jean-Paul Hebert (e) three-time diving coach of the year Matt Scoggin
5. Texas’ freshman of the year was (a) safety Caden Sterns, the Big 12’s defensive freshman of the year (b) center fielder Eric Kennedy, the team’s only .300 hitter (c) Big 12 volleyball freshman of the year Logan Eggleston (d) diving champion Jordan Windle (e) center Jaxson Hayes, Shaka Smart’s annual contribution to the lottery
6. Texas’ incoming freshman of the year will be (a)
Bru McCoy (b) Will Baker (c) Brett Baty (d) Sedona Prince (e) Jordan Whittington
7. The most under-rated Longhorn of the year was (a) basketball’s Courtney Ramey, the team’s one true alpha dog (b) athletic director/tweeting machine Chris Del Conte with his Bevo Boulevard expansion (c) freshman golfer Hailee Cooper (d) tight end and media favorite Andrew Beck (e) wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who did not drop a single pass
8. Texas’ worst injury of the year was (a) Sedona Prince’s leg surgery (pick one) (b) Malcolm Roach’s foot injury c) Lashann Higgs’ torn ACL after three games (d) Jericho Sims’ foot injury (e) shortstop David Hamilton’s scooter-itis
9. The toughest Longhorn of the year was (a) iron man catcher Michael McCann (b) safety B.J. Foster (c) basketball scrapper Royce Hamm (d) soccer star Cyera Hintzen (e) softball pitcher Miranda Elish, who threw 440 pitches in two days and then got hit in the face on a hard throw
10. The best hit or block or intimidation of the year was (a) Hamm’s posterizing of Lipscomb victim in NIT (b) Ehlinger blocking haters on Twitter (c) take your pick from kills leader Micaya White (d) Bevo versus scaredy cat Uga the bulldog (e) B.J. “Bone-Jarring” Foster on USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown.
11. The game of the year was (a) Texas’ streak-busting win over TCU in the NIT semifinals (b) Austin Todd’s walk-off game-winner to beat LSU (c) Softball’s doubleheader sweep of Houston to clinch a regional (d) the Sugar Bowl where Georgia (wink, wink) didn’t really care (e) Texas’ tennis victory over Wake Forest for the national championship
12. Texas’ un-coach of the year was (a) baseball’s David Pierce (b) men’s basketball’s Shaka Smart (c) women’s basketball’s Karen Aston (d) former prime head coaching candidate Todd Orlando (e) tennis’ deposed Michael Center
13. Texas’ most over-achieving athlete of the year was (a) regional golf co-medalist Steven Chervony (b) diving star Jordan Windle (c) Big 12 golfer of the year Agathe Laisne (d) top running back Tre Watson (e) lottery-bound Jaxson Hayes
14. The most disappointing athlete of the year, relative to his or her high expectations, was (a) defensive liability/shortstop Bryce Reagan, who transferred (b) center Joyner Holmes, who should be a superstar (c) defensive end Breckyn Hager, whose best hit may have been against glass in the AT&T Stadium (d) infielder Masen Hibbeler (e) twice-suspended guard Kerwin Roach
15. The most inspirational Longhorn of the year was (a) NCAA champion heptathlete Ashtin Zamzow, whose parents wanted her to be an Aggie (b) quarterback-turned-receiver Jerrod Heard (c) shooting guard Danni Williams, whose parents didn’t mind she left Texas A&M (d) Bevo for guarding his turf (e) guard Andrew Jones, who returned from leukemia and got on the court for two games
16. The Longhorn with the biggest pro upside is (a) wide receiver Collin Johnson (b) pitcher Bryce Elder (c) Cole Hammer, the next Jordan Spieth (d) swimmer Townley Haas — look out, Tokyo (e) big man Will Baker, Mr. Lottery Pick 2020
17. The best new or continuing rivalry was between (1) Ehlinger and Kyler Murray, who was told by Sam to “take the L” (2) Sedona Prince and Texas (3) Bru McCoy and Tom Herman (4) Texas and those horn-taunting Sooners, Mountaineers, Red Raiders, etc. (5) national champion Kim Mulkey and Karen Aston after the Baylor coach smugly said “Lordy mercy, if (Texas) plays like that for four quarters, they’re not going to lose many games.”
18. The next Longhorns team national champions will be in (a) men’s swimming and diving (b) women’s golf (c) men’s basketball (we’ll settle for an NCAA Tournament win (d) men’s tennis again (e) men’s golf
All correct answers, subject to obvious change, are (e). And Tim Beck really did have a good year. Trust me.