WACO, Texas — Fresh off an outstanding season that ended with a NCEA National Championship, Texas A&M head coach Tana McKay is the recipient of the 2017 Jerry Durant Auto Group NCEA Coach of the Year award.
McKay led the Aggies to their 12th National Championship in program history this past season, and first since the 2012 campaign. While McKay is quick to point out that a lot goes into a national title run, she was honored to receive the recognition.
"It takes a full village of people, for sure," McKay said. "But anytime you're recognized by your peers, and a talented group of peers like ours, it's very humbling and very much appreciated."
Texas A&M entered the 2017 NCEA National Championship as a fifth seed, and became the first team under the current format to win four meets in three days en route to a National Championship.
The Aggies defeated their opponents by a combined score of 55-8 in what turned out to be an incredible run.
"It'll be something that our staff and I and obviously our athletes will never forget," McKay said. "It ended up being a historical year. Everything just went together at the right time and everyone was working so well together. There's so many pieces and arms to our sport that it was just nice to see all the hard work pay off."
It takes an incredible amount of work and preparation to win a National Championship, but Texas A&M rode its best when it counted most. Prior to college, many equestrian student-athletes compete in junior and youth competitions that are solely about the individual. Because of that, it can be a tough transition to focus on the team aspect in collegiate equestrian, but when you find the right mix it can lead to special things.
McKay was able to find that right mix and the result was a national title, topped off by the 2017 Jerry Durant Auto Group NCEA Coach of the Year award.
"You've got to have an atmosphere of a common goal in what you're doing," McKay said. "It has to rely on your teammates working for your teammates and not just for yourself."