For this Daily 5, we're looking at coaching on the 40 Acres. Many fans feel that Texas is not performing as well as it should in non-revenue sports. It's an opinion I share.
Eddie Reese's 10 national championships is more than enough to warrant him the top spot in our list of top non-revenue coaches at UT.
Several non-revenue sports have fallen behind the success of other schools in the region. The most obvious in recent years has been the relative ineptitude of women's basketball compared to programs at Baylor, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. But there are others, too.
But let's look at the positive. Taking Football, Men's Basketball and Baseball out of the equation because they are the revenue sports for the university, who are the top five coaches on the Texas campus?
5. Men's Tennis - Michael Center
Even though 2012 was the worst year in almost a decade for Men's Tennis (the Horns lost in the round of 32 at the NCAAs), Center has taken over a proud program and made it one of the nation's most consistent. Center has a career winning percentage of .737 and has led the Longhorns to NCAA semifinal or final appearances three times in the last seven years. Center must bounce back this year or risk being surpassed on this list.
4. Men's Golf - John Fields
Until the scintillating NCAA championship win less than a month ago, most observers felt John Fields' tenure at Texas was lacking. After all, the Longhorns have a proud golf history yet the Horns had not made a real dent in the NCAA championships under Fields, finishing in the top five just three times over the previous 14 seasons. Even if Fields could produce successful teams more consistently, the 2012 squad changed the perception that Fields couldn't get the Longhorns to the top. Fields' 2012 team beat Alabama 3-2 in match play to take home the NCAA championship, the golf team's first national title since 1972.
3. Volleyball - Jerritt Elliott
Texas Volleyball has finished in the top 5 in the NCAAs each of the past six seasons. The program is the most consistent national power in the women's athletics department over the past half-decade and only Track & Field rivals it in overall success. Elliott inherited a program that was on the downswing following the departure of Mick Haley (now at USC) to become the US National Team coach who won two NCAA championships with the Lady Horns in the '90s. Elliott has established the Longhorns as the best volleyball program in this region of the country – no other team is close.
2. Women's Track & Field - Beverly Kearney
In her 20 seasons at Texas, Kearney has led the Longhorns to six national championships, the latest in 2006 at the NCAA indoor championships. Four of the last five years her teams have also finished in the top five in the indoor championships. Kearney's distinguished career also includes mentoring international track stars like Sanya Richards-Ross. Kearney's performance recently has become more scrutinized because the Longhorns status as top dog in the state has been called into question with the success of Texas A&M.
1. Men's Swimming - Eddie Reese
Reese is the John Wooden of Men's Swimming, and as such deserves to be at the head of the class of this list. Reese has directed the Longhorns to 10 NCAA championships in 34 seasons and that includes national championships in four different decades. Like Wooden, Reese has not only created successful teams but he's also helped great athletes reach the mountaintop of their sport. Reese's former Longhorn swimmers have won an astounding 29 Olympic gold medals. Reese himself has been the US National Olympic Swim coach in three Olympics. He has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the Longhorn Hall of Honor - awards each well deserved. Of course, no great coach ever does it alone. Reese has also hired well. Diving coach Matt Scoggin is considered the nation's top diving coach and long-time assistant Kris Kubik has also been elected into the Longhorn Hall of Honor for Men's Athletics.
So where are the Longhorns lacking?
Several of the women's sports.
Women's Basketball and Soccer have been uninspiring for years. Women's Swimming has endured two disastrous hires. A less acknowledged sport like Rowing is also not considered elite nationally. Golf is another woman's sport in the midst of change, hiring a new coach just last year.
Women's Softball can best be described as enigmatic. The Lady Horns have appeared to be on the verge of elite status, but even with great pitching can't seem to get to where they need to be. Connie Clark's career winning percentage in the .600s just doesn't compare with many of the nation's best coaches or programs.
On the men's side, long-time coach Bubba Thornton continues to tutor good track athletes but rarely competes for national titles (lots of top 10 finishes), even though he served as the US Olympic coach in Beijing.
Already have an account? Sign In