Kittley, Thomas Honored as Regional Coaches of the Year|
June 9, 2014
Wes Kittley and James Thomas were honored by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association as Mountain Region Coaches of the Year.
EUGENE, Ore. - Texas Tech head coach Wes Kittley and assistant coach James Thomas were both honored by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Monday as Mountain Region award winners for the 2014 outdoor season.
Kittley, currently in his 15th season at the helm of the Texas Tech track and field program, was named both the Men's and Women's Head Coach of the Year. Thomas, meanwhile, was named the Mountain Region Men's Assistant Coach of the Year for his efforts coaching the vertical, horizontal and combined events.
"I'm very appreciative to be selected as Coach of the Year for both the men's and women's programs," Kittley said. "It has been a fun year, and my staff has done an excellent job. I owe this award to all our staff and student-athletes."
Kittley is being recognized as a Mountain Region Head Coach of the Year for the second time since 2012 when he was tabbed as the Women's Coach of the Year. For Thomas, the award marks a sweep for the 2014 indoor and outdoor seasons after being named the Men's Mountain Region Assistant of the Year in March for the 2014 indoor season.
"Any coaching award is a direct reflection of incredible athletes and performances," Thomas said. "I'm honored to be recognized by my peers based of the hard work of our athletes."
Kittley, who was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year in May, led the Red Raiders to their second Big 12 Championship in program history. Tech athletes scored in 19 of 21 events to win the conference crown by 35.5 points. The Red Raiders became the first Big 12 team since Colorado in 2008 - and the only men's team among active conference members - to win a conference crown on their home track.
The Red Raiders have been ranked in the top-10 of the USTFCCCA computer rankings for nine consecutive weeks entering the NCAA Championships - one of only six teams nationally to boast such a streak in the top-10.
Kittley also guided the Lady Raiders to their best showing at the conference meet in five years as the squad finished third overall with 109.5 points. The Lady Raiders went on to push eight qualifiers to the NCAA Championships.
Thomas was integral in the Red Raiders' conference championship overseeing the Big 12's first 1-2-3 sweep in the men's high jump. Thomas led sophomore Bradley Adkins to the conference championship in the event - Tech's first since 2003 - while JaCorian Duffield finished runner-up and freshman Dayton Fisher finished third.
Duffield and Adkins went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships, marking their second-straight trip to the national meet under Thomas' watch.
Thomas also oversaw a 1-2 sweep in the men's long jump led by Shujaa Benson who won the title and Jerome Wilson who finished runner-up. Wilson went on to finish third in the triple jump followed by Derreck Edwards in sixth.
In all, Thomas' men's athletes, combined for 52.5 points at the conference meet.
Texas Tech opens competition at the NCAA Championships Wednesday in Eugene, Ore. The Red Raiders enter the meet No. 9 in the national rankings while the Lady Raiders enter at No. 15.