Big 12: Lawrence Flugence
Tech was an underrated program on the field, qualifying for a bowl game in every season under Mike Leach.
In building his program, Leach was known for his love of pirates and Sherlock Holmes and many other things that had little to do with football. He was a breath of fresh air in the coaching fraternity.
When he was fired after the 2009 regular season, it was a national story because of its abrupt nature.
The Red Raiders claimed 85 victories during the decade, trailing only Oklahoma and Texas. All but one of those wins was earned by Leach, who was fired shortly before Tech’s Valero Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State.
The Red Raiders certainly were the Big 12's most entertaining program with a high-powered offense and the quirky Leach in charge. And when they were at their very best, the Red Raiders had an underrated defense directed by Ruffin McNeill that accentuated the team’s offensive firepower.
Here’s a look at my selections for the top moments and players for Tech from the last decade.
QB: Graham Harrell
RB: Taurean Henderson
RB: Baron Batch
WR: Michael Crabtree
WR: Joel Filani
WR: Wes Welker
OL: Brandon Carter
OL: Rylan Reed
OL: Luis Vasquez
OL: Daniel Loper
C: Dylan Gandy
DL: Aaron Hunt
DL: Adell Duckett
DL Brandon Sharpe
DL: Brandon Williams
LB: Lawrence Flugence
LB: Mike Smith
LB: Marlon Williams
DB: Dwayne Slay
DB: Kevin Curtis
DB: Darcel McBath
DB: Jamar Wall
P: Alex Reyes
K: Alex Trlica
Ret: Wes Welker
Offensive player of the decade: WR Michael Crabtree. Despite playing only two seasons, he became the most productive receiver in Tech’s history. He was a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award with 231 receptions and 41 TD grabs setting an NCAA record for two seasons of production.
Defensive player of the decade: S Kevin Curtis. A fiery, hard-hitting safety, Curtis was the most decorated and one of the most versatile defensive player of the decade for the Red Raiders. Curtis earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 1999 and 2000 and second-team all-conference honors in 2001. He was a second-team All-American in 2000 while playing strong safety and a second-team All-America choice in 2001 after moving to free safety.
Coach of the decade: Mike Leach. He perhaps was the most influential coaching figure in Big 12 history as he helped push the conference from a stodgy run-based attack to one where cutting-edge passing attacks predominated. He also became a national figure because of his personality and his guest appearances on television shows as diverse as “Sixty Minutes” and “Friday Night Lights.”
Moment of the decade: Michael Crabtree’s late touchdown grab beats Texas in 2008. Graham Harrell’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Crabtree was one second left helped push Tech to an area it had never been before. It not only boosted them to a 39-33 triumph over Texas but also served as a national coming-out party for Leach, Crabtree and the rest of the Tech program. In the process, the Red Raiders earned an unprecedented share of the Big 12 South title that season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
I can still visualize Brad Hastings storming through the Texas Tech defense to make another tackle.
That's why his death Monday at the age of 44 from high blood pressure and breathing problems is such a shock.
Hastings left Tech as the school's career leader in tackles. But a knee injury snuffed out his hopes of a pro career after college.
"He was absolutely one of the most outstanding football players I ever was around," former Tech coach Spike Dykes told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. "He was a great leader, and he was a great player. I think had he not got his knee hurt before his senior year, no telling how long he would have played in the NFL."
Hastings was a significant player in Tech's history because he was one of the first big recruits in the Southwest Conference in the early 1980s who took a chance on the Red Raiders.
That was an era when SMU and Baylor were dominant programs along with Texas and Arkansas. Tech was considered an afterthought.
Recruiting in the Texas area was fierce in those days. And when Hastings, who attended Arlington Bowie High School and was a Parade All-American, chose Tech it was a big deal.
He then played like it as he racked up 480 tackles to rank as the school's leading tackler until another Tech middle linebacker, Lawrence Flugence, broke the record 15 years later.
Most still consider him to be one of the greatest defensive players in Tech's history. And most expect he would have had a chance at a productive NFL career if the knee injury hadn't materialized.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. April 19 at First Presbyterian Church in Arlington. His survivors include two children, Hastings' father told the Avalanche-Journal.