Mikey Kenney drives in four RBI while Gretchen Aucoin adds three as well in Sunday's victory
Texas Tech vs. Iowa State
Katelyn Williams finished 3-for-4 on her 20th birthday as Texas Tech takes a 6-4 victory Saturday
Red Raiders give up a pair of leads in a 6-5 loss Friday afternoon in Ames
Texas Tech at Iowa State
Texas Tech vs. Texas - Saturday
Texas Tech vs. Texas - Friday
Texas Tech vs. Kansas - Sunday
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma - Saturday
Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma - Sunday
E-mail Coach Hays
In three seasons as Texas Tech's head softball coach, Shanon Hays has transformed the Red Raiders into not only a contender in the Big 12 Conference, but nationally as well with three-straight NCAA Regional appearances.
After inheriting a program that was only 15-42 in 2009, Hays has led the Red Raiders to back-to-back 40-win seasons as he has amassed a 121-51 record in three seasons, leaving the Lubbock native just 18 wins shy of already becoming the winningest coach in school history.
Most importantly, though, the Red Raiders have been in the postseason in each of Hays' three seasons, advancing to the NCAA Stanford Regional in 2010, the Tucson Regional in 2011, and then the Seattle Regional a year ago. Tech fell in the regional finale in each of his first two seasons before Harvard ended Tech's run in an elimination game in 2012.
Prior to his arrival, Tech had only advanced to the postseason twice in program history and had not recorded a winning record since 2001. The Red Raiders, who had also finished no better than eighth in the Big 12 standings in seven of the previous eight seasons, had never advanced to a regional in consecutive seasons as well.
Hays quickly changed that in 2010, though, as he helped lead the Red Raiders to a 38-18 record, a 23-win improvement from the year before, as well as a seventh-place finish in the league standings. Tech picked up victories over No. 7 Oklahoma State, No. 19 Florida State, and No. 24 Baylor during the season, marking the first time the program had defeated a ranked opponent since the end of the 2007 campaign.
The Red Raiders fell to eventual College World Series participant Hawaii in the Stanford Regional after Tech overcome a first-day loss by topping both UC Davis and the host Cardinal to make its way into the regional finale.
With the majority of that squad returning the following year, the Red Raiders wrapped the 2011 campaign with a 42-16 overall record that marked the highest winning percentage in school history. It was also just Tech's second 40-win season all-time as the Red Raiders were also 45-19 in 1998.
Tech opened the season with a school-record 24-straight victories, including wins over No. 16 BYU and No. 12 California. The solid start helped the Red Raiders move into the top 25 of both major polls, breaking a decade-long drought where Tech had not appeared in the rankings since the end of the 1999 season. The Red Raiders climbed to as high as No. 19 during the year, the highest ranking in school history.
Hays became the program's first coach to lead the Red Raiders to multiple postseason appearances later in the year as Tech was the No. 2 seed in the Tucson Regional. After overcoming another first-day loss, Tech fell to host Arizona in the championship game.
The Red Raiders had possibly their best season under Hays in 2012 as Tech ended the year fifth in the Big 12 standings behind a 13-10 league record, marking the program's highest finish and first winning conference record since 2001. Tech navigated a 13-game stretch against top-25 teams midway through league play where the Red Raiders finished 7-6 with series wins over No. 25 Baylor and at No. 9 Missouri along with a midweek victory over No. 5 Texas.
Tech wrapped the regular season with a No. 23 ranking in the rating-percentage index (RPI) poll, seven spots higher from where it ended 2011. The Red Raiders also appeared in the top-25 rankings before closing the season by receiving votes for the second-straight season.
School records have fallen in droves under Hays as Tech has broken over 20 single-season marks in just three seasons, including the majority of the offensive record book. In 2011 alone, the Red Raiders snapped the single-season records for batting average, runs, hits, doubles, home runs, grand slams, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage and walks.
Hays has regularly produced one of the top lineups in the nation as the Red Raiders spent most of the 2011 season with the highest batting average in the nation before ending the year fourth overall. Tech's .341 average that year was not only the highest in school history but it also snapped the Big 12 record that was previously set by Oklahoma in 2001. The Red Raiders also averaged 7.17 runs per game, a mark that ranked fourth in the nation as well.
In addition to hitting for average, pitches have left the ball park in record numbers under Hays as Tech belted 58 in 2011 before smashing a school-record 66 a year later. Seven of the highest single-season individual totals have come in the last three seasons with Sandy James leading the group with a school-record 16 home runs in 2011. Mikey Kenney also owns the career record as she has totaled 32 home runs entering the 2013 season.
While playing in a conference dominated by pitching, Tech has only been shut out 13 times under Hays as the Red Raiders have consistently been among the Big 12 leaders in most offensive categories. Over the past three seasons, only Texas has been shut out fewer times among current conference schools.
Six players - Cydney Allen, Emily Bledsoe, Logan Hall, Sandy James, Mikey Kenney, and Adriana Perez - have been honored with All-Big 12 or NFCA postseasons awards since 2010. Kenney, who has also already snapped the school's career runs scored record, became the school's first All-Big 12 first team recipient since 2007 as she was one of four Red Raiders on the 2012 all-conference teams, Tech's most since 2004.
Academics have also shined under Hays as Tech has placed 21 players on the Academic All-Big 12 squads over the past three seasons, including nine in 2012 that ranked first among league schools. Four Red Raiders - Holley Gentsch, Ashley Hamada, Leah Legler and Brittany Talley - were also named to the Capital One Academic All-District teams a total of seven times in the past three seasons as well.
Gentsch earned the highest scholastic honor in program history in 2011 as she was named to the Capital One Academic All-America second team after being an all-district recipient for the third-straight season. Gentsch picked up third-team All-America honors the following year.
Tech's transformation should come as little surprise after Hays' work at Lubbock Christian. Following his appointment as the program's first head softball coach in 2006, Hays worked for a full academic year in preparation for LCU's first season in 2008.
The Lady Chaps did not disappoint in their inaugural season, compiling a 60-9 record and claiming the NAIA National Championship which earned Hays NAIA National Coach of the Year honors. Hays wrapped his two-year tenure at LCU with a 114-16 overall record after advancing to the national championship again in 2009.
Known as a top-flight recruiter and motivator, Hays was named the Sooner Athletic Conference Coach of the Year both seasons and produced five NFCA and NAIA first team All-Americans during his tenure.
Hays turned to softball after a successful career as a basketball coach that included two seasons on the Texas Tech bench as an assistant coach from 1999-2001 under James Dickey. He is the first person at Texas Tech to coach two completely different sports (one men's and now one women's).
Prior to accepting the softball position at LCU, Hays was the associate head men's basketball coach at the University of Houston in 2005-06. Working under head coach Tom Penders, Hays found his knack as a recruiter, helping sign one of the nation's top 15 recruiting classes in only his first season where the Cougars won 18 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.
Hays began his collegiate coaching career as the head men's basketball coach at Frank Phillips College in 1995-96 where he earned Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC) Coach of the Year honors after the Plainsmen recorded a 19-9 record.
After a year, Hays moved to Abilene Christian University where he amassed a 58-26 record from 1996-99. He led the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II "Sweet 16" during the 1998-99 season, the furthest ACU had advanced in the national tournament since the late 1960s.
Following his two-year stint at Tech, Hays returned to ACU as the school's athletic director for an academic year. He returned to coaching the next year at Midland College where he led the Chaparrals to a 30-7 record and a third-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament in his only season at the school. Midland claimed both the Region V and WJCAC championships, earning Hays WJCAC and Region V Coach of the Year honors.
In each coaching stop, Hays has left as the most-successful head coach in school history according to winning percentage. He ended his collegiate basketball tenure with a 107-42 record as a head coach.
Hays comes from a family of coaches as his father, legendary Texas Tech baseball coach Larry Hays, roamed the Red Raider dugout from 1987-2008, where he picked up 1,509 career wins, fifth-most in NCAA history. When not coaching on the diamond, Larry Hays also could be found on the fastpitch softball circuit where he pitched for several of the top local and national men's teams.
Like his father, Shanon Hays also began playing fastpitch softball as a youth, along with both baseball and basketball, and competed on the summer circuit as well.
In a rare twist, Larry Hays succeeded his son at LCU's softball coach for one season prior to Daren Hays, Shanon's brother and former Tech assistant baseball coach and director of operations, accepted the position to lead the Lady Chaps beginning with the 2011 season.
Shanon Hays began and ended his college career at LCU, graduating in 1991 with his degree in Education after also attending Texas Tech and competing from 1988 - 1990 for his father on the Red Raider baseball team. He competed for LCU prior to that on both the baseball and basketball teams.
He graduated from Lubbock Monterey High School in 1986 and makes his home in Lubbock with his wife, Tina, two sons, Hunter and Heath, and daughter, Hampton.