It’s been quite the summer for Kyra Lair. Not only was she recently named the new head softball coach at Wink High School, but the Lady Buff standout was also honored for her stellar career on the diamond for the highly West Texas A&M softball team.
For her crowning achievements over the past five years, Lair was named the winner of the 16th Dick Bynum Award presented by the Amarillo Downtown Lions Club on Tuesday. The award goes annually to the most outstanding Amarillo-area female college athlete.
“This means a lot to me,” Lair said. “There is a lot of people who got me to where I am today. All of the accolades and honors go to them and how they pushed me. This is awesome.”
The Texas Panhandle saw one of the most prolific softball careers over the past five seasons thanks to what Lair accomplished at Canyon High School followed by her time at WT.
Lair started this epic journey being named the two-time Amarillo Globe News Softball Player of the Year in 2017-2018 during her days as a Lady Eagle. She had over 600 strikeouts in high school and led Canyon to the UIL Class 5A state softball tournament in 2017. The only Texas Panhandle softball team to ever make a state tournament to this day.
As she continued her career at WT, the success followed. Over five seasons, Lair, racked up a record of 67-22 in the circle with a 3.20 ERA tallying 478 strikeouts. Lair played a key role in the Lady Buffs Division II national championship in 2021 as a sophomore earning the win against Biola in the national title game.
The highly decorated Lair leaves as a national champion at WT and stacked up accolades earning third team All-American honors this past senior season, a first team Lone Star Conference selection and was the 2021 NCAA Tournament MVP.
“I’ve had an amazing career,” Lair said. “I was lucky enough to play at Canyon and then have WT right here. Amazingly, they were both superb programs to be a part of, and it made me better. I’m proud to be a Canyon Lady Eagle and a West Texas A&M Lady Buff.”
Former Canyon head softball coach Nicole Coffee, who led the Lady Eagles to that 2017 UIL Class 5A state tournament appearance, says she is extremely proud of Lair for her outstanding career.
“Kyra is like any athlete,” Coffee said. “They want to do as great as they can in high school and go play in college. She wasn’t well known as a freshman, but she put in the work. It’s been phenomenal to see what she’s accomplished on and off the field. She exceeded my expectations at WT. When we started seeing her in high school, we knew there was something special to her. I’m so happy to see what her career turned into. She never peaked and just got better and better.”
Lair is the is the seventh Lady Buff to receive the honor, and the second softball player joining Kilee Halbert in 2018.
For winning this honor, Canyon High School will receive a check for $1,000 that will go toward the women’s athletic department.
The other finalists for 2023 Dick Bynum award were Amarillo High graduate and West Texas A&M track athlete Brooke Urban, Amarillo High graduate and Angelo State soccer player Madison Stokes, and Tascosa graduate and Angelo State basketball standout Tayjanna McGhee-Pleasant.
Dick Bynum Memorial Award Winners
2007: Leah Rush, basketball, Amarillo High and Oklahoma.
2008: Emily Brister, basketball, Amarillo High and West Texas A&M.
2009: Nina Munch-Soegaard, tennis, home schooled, Texas Christian University.
2010: Katie Rickwartz, volleyball, Canyon and West Texas A&M.
2011: Brianne Barker, volleyball, Amarillo High and Oklahoma.
2012: Andrea Carpenter, soccer, Randall and Abilene Christian.
2013: Katie Grimes, track, Canyon and Texas Tech.
2014: Casey Land, basketball, Canyon and West Texas A&M.
2015: Alex Simms, volleyball, San Jacinto Christian and Texas State.
2016: Nicole Hampton, basketball, Canyon and Lubbock Christian University.
2017: Sasha Watson, basketball, Palo Duro and West Texas A&M.
2018: Kilee Halbert, softball, Dalhart and West Texas A&M.
2019: Jordan Duke, soccer, Amarillo High and Texas Tech.
2020: Cancelled due to COVID-19
2021: Lexy Hightower, Amarillo High and West Texas A&M
2022: Allie Schulte-Hicks, Nazareth and Lubbock Christian University
2023: Kyra Lair, Canyon and West Texas A&M.