Top Moments of 2010

By John Antonik for
January 01, 2011 05:34 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As we flip the calendar to 2011 let’s take a quick look back at some of the top WVU sports stories of 2010.

Here are 10 Mountaineer moments to remember …

10. Women’s track earns school-best 10th place finish at indoor nationals – Seven individuals earned All-America honors, led by Chelsea Carrier’s fourth place finish in the pentathlon and sixth place finish in the 60-meter dash. West Virginia’s finish was the best of any Big East program at indoor nationals.

This is the greatest moment collectively in WVU track and field history,” said coach Sean Cleary. “To have our cross country team finish sixth in the nationals (in 2009) and now to see this group emulate a top 10 finish themselves is historic.”

The women also had a strong showing at the outdoor championships with a program-best 16th-place finish. A total of 11 All-America citations were collected by the track program in 2010.

9. Women’s soccer’s NCAA tournament streak continues – Meghan Lewis’ goal lifted West Virginia to a 1-0 victory over South Florida to claim its second Big East title and advance to NCAA tournament play for the 11th consecutive season under veteran coach Nikki Izzo Brown.

West Virginia’s 11 straight NCAA trips is the ninth longest active streak in women’s college soccer. The Mountaineers ran off a school-record 14 consecutive wins to reach the NCAA tournament “Sweet 16” for the second time since 2008 and finished the season ranked 13th in the country. West Virginia’s 18 victories tied a school record established in 2002 and matched in 2007.

“I’m really proud of the hard work and development made by our ladies this season against some of the best teams in the country,” said coach Nikki Izzo-Brown. “We made great strides throughout the season, kept our focus and brought home a BIG EAST championship.”

8. Women’s basketball starts season with highest preseason ranking ever – Coming off a school-record 29-win season in 2010, the West Virginia women’s basketball started the 2010-11 campaign ranked 11th in the country by AP.

It was just the second time in school history the Mountaineer women began the season in the AP rankings (the 2008 team started the season ranked 18th).

A 13-game winning streak to begin the 2011 campaign – including wins over nationally ranked TCU and Iowa State – has the Mountaineers poised to crack the top five for the first time ever.

7. Jedd Gyorko wins Brooks Wallace Award – Baseball’s Jedd Gyorko capped off a brilliant career by winning the Brooks Wallace Award as college baseball’s top shortstop. Gyorko batted .381 with 19 home runs to earn first team All-America honors. Gyorko was selected in the second round of the major league draft by the San Diego Padres and is now considered one of San Diego’s top minor league prospects.

He became the baseball program’s first major award winner.

"He meant everything to our team," said coach Greg Van Zant. “Jedd is a terrific player and an even better person. He was highly touted this year and knew he would get a lot of attention, but even with that, he passed more hours in the fall than any player on the team. In the spring, with all that was going on around him, he finished with a 3.7 GPA in management."

6. Fall Brawl dominance – It’s always nice to beat your arch rival, but when you beat them in every sport during the fall, well, that’s even more special. The Mountaineers owned Pitt in fall sports competition, sweeping both men’s and women’s soccer matches, the annual football game played in Pittsburgh, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the volleyball team defeated the Panthers as well.

The volleyball victory was a five-set thriller that gave first-year coach Jill Kramer’s program a big boost.

“The girls are the most excited I have seen them all year long,” said Kramer after the match. “We had a great group of fans here tonight that really got into the game and they helped us along the way.”

The two soccer teams posted shutout victories – the women winning 3-0 and the men winning 2-0 – while football produced a 35-10 victory at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

5. Men’s basketball claims first Big East hoops title – It started with a bank-shot 3 by Da’Sean Butler (which he called) to defeat Cincinnati and ended with another Butler game-winning basket to defeat Georgetown and give West Virginia its first Big East tournament championship since joining the conference in 1996. It was Butler’s sixth game-deciding field goal of the season.

Afterward, “Country Roads” was piped into the Madison Square Garden public address system as West Virginians serenaded New Yorkers to the state’s adopted anthem. West Virginia coach Bob Huggins could be seen fighting back tears during the celebration.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Huggins.

4. De’Sean Butler wins Lowes Senior CLASS Award – Da’Sean Butler was named the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men’s coaches, national basketball media and fans, and is awarded annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA® Division I men’s basketball.

The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student-athlete, with criteria including community service, excellence in the classroom, outstanding character and competition on the court.

“I am truly honored to receive such a prestigious award. This award would not be possible without my teammates. I want to thank my teammates, the staff and our great Mountaineer fans everywhere,” Butler said. “I am grateful that I have been a role model to children and have had a positive impact on the community.”

3. Oliver Luck named new AD – Former Mountaineer quarterback Oliver Luck became West Virginia University’s 11th Director of Athletics on July 1, 2010. The official announcement of his hiring was June 10, 2010.

“Oliver Luck is someone who has succeeded at the highest of levels at everything he has done – from his college and professional football playing days to his academic pursuits and his professional business career,” said West Virginia University President James P. Clements. “He is the clear choice to carry forward what has truly been a golden era in athletics. I am thrilled to welcome Oliver back to West Virginia and WVU, and I am confident that he will do an outstanding job.”

Luck brought impeccable credentials with him to Morgantown, most recently serving as president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo soccer franchise in Houston, Texas.

He also served stints as vice president of business development for the National Football League, president and CEO of NFL Europe, and was chief executive officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, overseeing the development and management of over $1 billion of professional sports and entertainment venues in Houston: Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros; Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans and the Livestock Show and Rodeo; and the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.

2. Dana Holgorsen named football’s coach in waiting – Oliver Luck was able to hire Dana Holgorsen, one of college football’s most innovative offensive minds, to run West Virginia’s offense in 2011 before assuming head coaching duties in 2012.

Holgorsen, a finalist for the 2010 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant football coach, and the Offensive Coordinator of the Year, most recently served as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State during the 2010 season.

After the regular season the Cowboys led the nation in total offense, averaging 537.6 yards per game, were No. 2 in passing offense, averaging 354.7 yards per game, and No. 3 in scoring offense, averaging 44.9 points per game. Holgorsen recently helped Oklahoma State to its first 11-win season in school history following a 36-10 victory over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.

“I think the transition year for coach Holgorsen will be very beneficial to the football program, and the opportunity to learn from coach Bill Stewart should not be underestimated,” Luck said. “Coach Holgorsen is one of the top coaches in college football. His success at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State speaks for itself. We know that coach Holgorsen will bring a high-powered offense that will be incredibly entertaining to watch at Milan Puskar Stadium.”

1. Men’s basketball reaches the Final Four – West Virginia in 2010 made its first Final Four appearance since 1959, defeating Morgan State, Missouri, Washington and Kentucky in the NCAA tournament to make it to Indianapolis.

The victory over Kentucky in Syracuse ranks among the most memorable wins in school history, the Mountaineers defying the stat sheet to upset the second-ranked Wildcats.

Kentucky had a 15-rebound advantage on the glass and kept the Mountaineers from making a single 2-point basket in the first half. But West Virginia’s defense clamped down on Kentucky’s 3-point shooters and the Mountaineers built a 16-point lead with four minutes left in the game.

Da’Sean Butler scored 18 points and Joe Mazzulla added a career-high 17 points to defeat Kentucky 73-66 and advance to the Final Four. Mazzulla was named East Regional Most Outstanding Player.

In the Final Four, West Virginia’s dreams of reaching the finals were erased when Da’Sean Butler seriously injured his knee midway through the second half. A moment permanently etched in our minds was Bob Huggins going out on the floor and consoling his injured star player.

Despite the loss to Duke, West Virginia finished the year ranked No. 3 in the country – men’s basketball’s highest finish in the polls since finishing No. 1 in 1958.

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