Tech athletics has had its up and downs throughout the years but the ups have brought us a great string of success. In college the best way to clarify an era is pinning it to the coach’s tenure, and we’ve had some great ones. From Bobby Knight’s tirades to Mike Leach’s quotes, Tech has not been short on entertaining sports and winning culture. However when it comes to who had the most success, we need to dive in a little further and see who truly had the greatest era in each team sport.
Mike Leach (2000-2009, 84-43 record)
We have to start this list off right, and what better way than to talk about the great pirate Mike Leach. During his tenure, Tech football reached heights in had never reached before. Leach had the greatest win percentage and the most wins in Tech football history. During this time, we saw Red Raider greats like Kliff Kingsbury, BJ Symons, Wes Welker, Danny Amendola, Dwayne Slay, Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Graham Harrell, Michael Crabtree, and Jamar Wall and the list goes on. Texas Tech introduced the “Air Raid” to nation and the Red Raiders broke all types of passing records. The height of this era came in 2008 when the famous Harrell to Crabtree touchdown occurred against the #1 ranked Texas Longhorns. That year, Tech shared the Big 12 South crown for the first time and had the highest ranking in program history.
Janice Hudson (1975-1984, 333-199-6 record)
Coach Hudson is a legend in her own right on this list. She began coaching club sports at Tech, before becoming the first head coach in our volleyball program’s history. When Tech entered the scene, Coach Hudson hit the ground running, winning over 30 games in five of her first six seasons. Hard to believe that Tech had a 50 win season under the great Janice Hudson. Her legend will not be forgotten among Red Raider faithful as she was also inducted into the Texas Tech Hall of Honor.
Tom Stone (2003-Present, 78-50-14 record)
Stone is another coach that has taken their program where it had never been before. When Stone became the head coach, he took over a young program that hadn’t seen much success. Stone was slowly managed to turn that around and lead the women to their first winning season in more than a decade. Stone also led the women to their first postseason appearance in 2012 and has consistently made it to the NCAA tournament every year since and even won the Big 12 tournament for the first time in program history in 2016.
Bob Knight (2001-2008, 138-82 record)
I’m not sure anyone embraced Texas Tech and Lubbock, TX, more than Bobby Knight. From being exiled from Indiana to finding a home and a second chance with a school and fan base that fit his style and personality, Knight took this opportunity and turned Tech into a winner. The Red Raiders went to the NCAA tournament four times in the six full seasons that Knight coached, and finished with 20 wins in five of those seasons. Knight made the Red Raiders a dangerous basketball team every time they stepped onto the court as the team defeated two top-10 teams in back to back weeks in both 2006 & 2007. This upset-minded focus is still alive in the basketball program today.
Marsha Sharp (1982-2006, 571-189 record)
It’s hard to dispute someone who was so great that the city of Lubbock named a highway after her. Coach Sharp is the longest tenured coach in Tech history, has the most postseason appearances, the highest win percentage, and most conference championships in Tech athletics history. She is also responsible for the only NCAA national championship the school has won (Meat Judging and Chess aside). Not to mention during this time, we witnessed arguably the greatest women’s basketball player ever in Sheryl Swoopes. Sharp also won national coach of the year in 2005, and had both the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum (now Citibank Coliseum) and the United Spirit Arena sold out.
Tim Tadlock (2013-Present, 184-102 record)
No disrespect to Larry Hays, the all time great Red Raider baseball coach, but Tadlock has already done more in the short amount of time that he’s been here. In just five seasons, Tadlock has already matched Hays number of conference championships and has clinched two College World Series berth, which had never been done in program history. Tadlock is still in the middle of what may be an even more magical season as the Red Raiders are currently ranked 3rd in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and are getting ready to make a run at another College World Series appearance.