The year of 2013 is almost behind us which means it's an appropriate time for us to look back on the highlights from the WVU athletic side of things. I'm trying to keep these in chronological order as best I can, but please forgive me if a few are out of order.
Thirteen is superstitiously known as an unlucky number and 2013 wasn't exactly a banner year for WVU athletics, but there were some highlights to be had:
Rifle Team Wins 15th National Championship
This trophy came back home, right where it belongs.
The Big three of Tavon Austin, Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey were drafted in the first three rounds of the most recent NFL Draft, making Mountaineer fans everywhere proud.
WVU Women's Basketball makes NCAA tournament for 4th straight year
Despite being without arguably their best player, the Lady Mountaineers still managed another extremely successful season, advancing to the NCAA's once again. Not only was it the 4th in a row, but sixth trip in seven years going back to 2007 (2009 being the hiccup year).
WVU Baseball makes us proud on and off the field
The Baseball program make a resurgence in competitiveness, finishing 4th in an ultra-competitive conference and coming within a whisker of advancing to the Big 12 title game. Then they made us all even prouder in their tornado relief efforts while out in Oklahoma.
Sweeping Texas in the major sports our first year of Big 12 life
In the first year of being a Big 12 conference member, WVU somehow managed to sweep the biggest fish in the pond in the three major sports (admittedly a down year for them, but still). The football team hung on to victory in front of over 100,000 screaming Texans. The basketball team played two of the ugliest games you've ever seen in beating the Longhorns. And finally the baseball team took 2 of 3 from the Horns in their only series meeting (yeah, we're calling the series win a team win for these purposes).
Football upsets Oklahoma State
If only the Mountaineer team that showed up that day in Morgantown could have shown up the rest of the season, we probably would be talking about a bowl game right about now. The Pokes helped us out with a few gaffes of their own, but this was the day the defense put it together.
Baseball breaks ground for new stadium
This is actually a huge milestone for the Athletic Department. WVU's baseball stadium, Hawley Field (while still being one of the nicest fields in Northern West Virginia, ahem. Right Mickey?), is so far behind the facilities around the Big 12. There's not even locker facilities there. Now with the TIF in place and splitting time with a minor league team, the WVU baseball program is getting a first class facility.
Women's Soccer earns 2nd Big 12 regular season title and first Big 12 Tournament title
WVU Women's Soccer has only ever had one coach, Nikki Izzo-Brown and all she has done is build one of the most consistently successful programs in the nation. The Big 12 titles this season allowed WVU to advance to the NCAA's once again, bowing out in the second round to Final Four participant Virginia Tech.
Oliver Luck stayed
When DeLoss Dodds stepped down from the AD position at Texas, everyone knew Oliver was going to be on their short list. Both Texas blogs on SB Nation were all set to crown Luck. Then Steve Patterson came back into the picture at the last second and took the job. We've addressed this several times, but keeping Oliver is a huge deal for moving the Athletic programs forward. The Texas job is the biggest in the NCAA and we don't blame him for being interested, but we're definitely glad he's staying.
All of these things are great to remember but the best part of 2013, as far as Mountaineer fans are concerned:
Huggs and hoops team had a horrible season last year and we also know what the football team managed. We even managed to lose the Riot Bowl trophy dammit!
Here's to new beginnings and have a safe and Happy New Year!