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Top 10 Moments of the 2000s: No. 8


GO WILDCATS
GO WILDCATS

GO WILDCATS
Hill, Morris Garner National Awards

Note:
This is the third edition of a 10-part series chronicling the top 10 Kansas State Baseball moments of the 2000s, counting down to the Wildcats' 2010 season opener on February 19 against Delaware. The events were voted on by an eight-person panel consisting of: Head Coach Brad Hill; former Head Coach and Director of Development Mike Clark; Associate Athletics Director Casey Scott; Director of Baseball Operations Justin Tadtman; Sports Information Director Kenny Lannou; Baseball SID Ryan Lackey; and the Voices of K-State Baseball, Brian Smoller and Matt Walters.

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Throughout the 2009 season, Kansas State baseball took home 35 individual honors, the most in school history. But nobody in the history of K-State baseball earned the recognition that right-handed ace A.J. Morris and head coach Brad Hill did as they became the first player/coach duo in the history of the program to earn conference specialty awards in the same year.

Morris, who was tops in school history and third in the history of the Big 12 with 14 wins, was named the 2009 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, while Hill was honored as the 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year.

"I am very appreciative of the league's coaches for honoring me with this award," said Morris, the first conference pitcher of the year in school history. "I wouldn't have this award without Rob Vaughn behind the plate and a great defense behind me. This is truly a team award."

Hill, who guided K-State to the most Big 12 wins and its highest Big 12 finish in school history, credited his players.

"This award isn't about me, it's about the players," Hill said. "Our seniors decided this was going to be their team and they were going to take charge and be coaches on the field."

The honors didn't stop there for both Hill and Morris. Hill was honored as the 2009 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year, the first coach in school history to earn the award.

Morris went on to be named a first team All-American by six different organizations, was the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) District VI Player of the Year, a finalist for the Golden Spikes and College Baseball Foundation Pitcher of the Year awards, and a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy.

Kansas State had plenty of firsts in 2009 as a team -- a 40-win season, a final ranking in every major college poll and an at-large bid as a No. 2 seed in an NCAA Regional. But as far as individual awards are concerned, the Wildcats also had a milestone year.

Top 10 K-State Baseball Moments of the 2000's
No. 10: Into the 20th We Go... (2/9)
No. 9: Cats Top KU Before Record Crowd (2/10)
No. 8: Hill, Morris Garner National Awards (2/11)
No. 7: February 12
No. 6: February 13
No. 5: February 14
No. 4: February 15
No. 3: February 16
No. 2: February 17
No. 1: February 18