After numerous games, matches and tournaments during an exciting season of UT Tyler athletics, one moment stood out.
In voting on uttylerpatriots.com, Travis Dykman’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer against Hardin-Simmons was the winner.
After almost 5,000 votes, Dykman’s last-second, game-winning basket was voted the 2012-13 Game of the Year.
Dykman’s moment received 2,073 votes. In second with 1,960 votes was the Patriots’ 7-6 extra-inning softball win over East Texas Baptist to clinch the West Regional championship, followed by men’s track and field winning their first American Southwest Conference championship with 485 votes. Rounding out the top five was UT Tyler men’s golf capturing the NCAA Division III national championship with 271 votes.
Dykman’s basket gave the Patriots a 73-72 win over the Cowboys on Dec. 8 in Tyler.
After UT Tyler took a 33-28 advantage at halftime, Hardin-Simmons stormed back to grab a 66-57 lead with just 6:15 remaining in the game.
The Patriots would not go away, tying the game at 68-68 on a Nathan Harbour jumper.
With 1:18 remaining, Darren Houliston hit a layup to give the Patriots a two-point lead, but it did not last long.
The Cowboys’ Darius Singletary scored four straight points, giving HSU a 72-70 lead with just six seconds remaining.
With Harbour inbounding, he found Dykman who dribbled up the right side of the court, pulled up with a man in his face and drained a 23-footer to give the Patriots a 73-72 win.
Coming in second place with 39 percent of the fan votes was softball’s dramatic 7-6 win over East Texas Baptist in the NCAA West Regional Championship game on May 12 at UT Tyler Ballpark.
Trailing 6-0 after three innings, the Patriots surged back, scoring runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut the Tigers’ lead to 6-2.
In their final at-bat, the Patriots scored four runs to keep the game alive, highlighted by a two-run double by freshman Raven Rodriguez.
The Patriots went ahead in the top of the ninth on a Vanessa Carrizales double, scoring Rachel Howell and giving UT Tyler a 7-6 lead.
Heather Abshire worked 6 1/3 innings of relief and held ETBU scoreless over the last six innings.
The victory earned the Patriots a berth in the NCAA Division III World Series.
Softball Staff Honored
Patriot head coach Mike Reed and the UT Tyler softball staff have been named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association West Region Coaching Staff of the Year after going 47-6 and reaching the 2013 Division III World Series.
The staff also was named the 2013 American Southwest Conference East Division Staff of the Year.
Reed, Whitney Wyly, Megan Dobrinski, Coby Gipson and Christy Gipson helped the Patriots reach their sixth straight NCAA postseason and third NCAA World Series appearance, including the West Regional championship.
During the 2013 season, Reed won his 300th game as the UT Tyler head coach, and his 400th overall game in his career.
Tufts University, which won the 2013 national championship, was named the National Coaching Staff of the Year.
Joe Vann has been named the new men’s and women’s assistant tennis coach, UT Tyler coach Chris Bizot announced. Vann was the head tennis coach at East Texas Baptist from 2011 to 2013.
Vann, a graduate of UT Tyler, returns to the position he held from 2007 to 2010 under coach Bizot, with responsibilities including recruiting, player development and match scheduling.
“It feels good to be back here at UT Tyler and I am very excited to be working with coach Bizot again,” Vann said. “UT Tyler has such a great atmosphere, from the professors and coaches to the students. It makes you feel right at home.”
During his time with the Patriots as a coach, Vann helped the men’s team to two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances and three American Southwest Conference championships. He also helped the women to three NCAA DIII regional semifinals and three ASC Championships.
In two seasons with UT Tyler as a player, Vann played No. 1 doubles and No. 6 singles and was named ASC East Division honorable mention and academic All-ASC.
Vann helped start the ETBU tennis programs in 2012, leading the Tigers to success in his second year. Tyler Tolopka was named the ASC East Division Freshman of the Year in 2013 while the women’s team posted a 3.75 GPA over two years.
During his coaching career, which included a stop at NCAA Division I Austin Peay, Vann has coached seven NCAA D-III All-Americans, two Arthur Ashe Award winners, two NCAA D-I All-American individual tournament qualifiers and 45 All-ASC netters.
Vann holds a degree in interdisciplinary studies from UT Tyler with a minor in science. He and his wife Jennifer currently reside in Longview.