LUBBOCK, Texas – The Texas Tech University Board of Regents has authorized President Lawrence Schovanec to approve contract extensions for head baseball coach Tim Tadlock, director of track & field/cross country Wes Kittley, head men’s golf coach Greg Sands and head women’s tennis coach Todd Petty.
“We are extremely proud and excited these coaches will continue to lead their programs,” Texas Tech Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt said. “We use the word ‘elite,’ and these four programs have built and sustained elite-level success.”
In his six years at the helm of his alma mater, Tadlock and his staff have returned the baseball program to a national power, collecting two Big 12 titles and three trips to the College World Series in five seasons. In 2018, the Red Raiders recorded 45 wins for the fourth time in five years and third-straight campaign, capping the season at 45-20.
Another memorable year on the diamond featured the best start to a season in school history at 14-0, Tadlock’s 200th victory at Texas Tech in a 5-0 shutout at UTSA (Feb. 24), a top-10 ranking throughout the entirety of the year and kept the ‘Road to Omaha’ in Lubbock for the third-straight season with a No. 9 National Seed. Tech smashed its previous attendance records with 141,158 fans coming through the gates in 2018, which ranked 10th nationally, averaging 4,152, also a school-best and continued the streak of raising the average amount of fans at Rip Griffin park every year since Tadlock’s arrival as head coach.
“Our staff and families are Red Raiders,” Tadlock said. “We appreciate Red Raider Nation and our administration for their commitment to our baseball program. This allows families to see exactly where we are going for years to come.
“Our Board of Regents, Kirby Hocutt, Chancellor Duncan and Dr. Schovanec are a direct reflection of the relationships it takes to build something special. We look forward to building an elite baseball program for all the people who support Texas Tech Baseball.”
A total of four Red Raiders were named All-Americans, the most Tech has had in a season since 1997. Five picked up First Team All-Big 12 accolades, a program-high, including freshman Gabe Holt, who was the first unanimous Freshman All-American in school history. The Red Raiders also churned out 11 to the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft, the most in Tech history and the highest number of student-athletes taken of any D-I program through the first 30 rounds of the draft. Tadlock was also named D1 Baseball Coach of the Year this summer, the second time in his career to earn a national coach of the year distinction.
Kittley wrapped up his 19th season leading the Red Raiders and Lady Raiders in 2018 with a sweep of the Big 12 Men’s Indoor and Outdoor Championships. During his tenure in Lubbock, Kittley has built the Texas Tech program into a perennial power on the national stage. Under his guidance, Texas Tech has produced 13 Olympic qualifiers, eight Olympic medalists, 22 national champions, over 200 All-Americans and 155 Big 12 Champions.
Kittley’s historic 2018 began with a Big 12 Indoor Championship from the men’s team. They then went on to place sixth at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In the spring, the Red Raiders rode the momentum to a Big 12 Outdoor Championship, eventually leading to a fourth-place tie at the NCAA Championships. While there, Kittley saw his 22nd national champion in the form of Divine Oduduru, who, in his first year at Tech, became the first sprinter ever to bring a national title home to Lubbock.
“It’s special to me because I feel so wanted here,” Kittley said. “I want to honor Texas Tech, and I want us to have the premiere program for people to be proud of. What a job I have, I get up every day and I’m so blessed to be able to do what I love and be at the school I want to be at. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.”
For the Lady Raiders, high jumper Zarriea Willis began a strong 2017-18 campaign with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships that netted her First-Team All-America honors. Willis went on to place sixth at the NCAA Outdoors, netting her another All-America recognition. As a team, Willis and the rest of the Lady Raiders placed sixth at both the indoor and outdoor conference meets.
Sands set a new benchmark for consistency in Lubbock this year, as his golf team advanced to NCAA postseason play for the 17th-straight time, a record for any Tech athletics program.
After making it through the difficult NCAA Columbus Regional, his Red Raiders made an incredible run to the match play portion of the 2018 NCAA Championship, taking third place in stroke play–the best finish in program history–before being narrowly defeated in the national quarterfinals. The Red Raiders also had junior Ivan Ramirez place fourth on the individual side of the championship. Tech will return four of the five players who took part in that historical week for the 2018-19 season.
“I’m really honored to have had the chance to coach at a place like Texas Tech for so long,” Sands said. “More importantly, it’s a privilege to work with an athletic director like Kirby [Hocutt], who not only understands what our programs need to succeed, but also goes out there and delivers on those things. It’s been an amazing run with a lot of talented teams here, and I’m excited to keep it rolling.”
Sands’ teams also excel in the classroom. Last month, Tech earned All-Academic team status and President’s Special Recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA), being one of just 25 Division I teams to receive President’s Special Recognition (a team GPA of 3.5 or higher).
Petty completed his 10th season at the helm of the Lady Raider Tennis program. He led the 2017-18 squad to the fourth straight NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and back-to-back NCAA Elite Eight bids. Since the 2015 season, his teams have recorded 20+ wins, including a program best 27 wins during the 2017 season.
Under his guidance, Gabriela Talaba was named an ITA All-American for the second straight season following her historic career. She qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship for the third straight season. She became the first Lady Raider in school history to advance to the Round of 16. Talaba opened the 2018 season as the No.2-ranked player in the Oracle/ITA Rankings, marking the highest individual preseason ranking in program history. A few months later, she was ranked No. 5 in the nation which marked the highest ranking during the regular season for a singles player.
“As long as I can remember, I have been a Texas Tech fan,” Petty said. “Lubbock has been so good to my family and we feel so blessed to be a part of this community. I want to thank Kirby Hocutt for letting me continue living out my dream job at my dream school.”
Petty is a three-time Big 12 Coach of the Year (2011, 2012, 2017) and three-time Wilson/ITA Texas Region Coach of the Year (2012, 2016, 2017). He has led Texas Tech to program-long streak of seven straight NCAA Tournament bids, and the Lady Raiders have notched an Oracle/ITA Top 25 final ranking during six of the last seven seasons.