Four conference championships, eleven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and one National Championship. These are the results of an incredible coach, a coach that our Women’s Basketball team is fortunate enough to have.
I know it is hard to believe, but this 5’2 girl loves herself some basketball. In fact, I love it so much that this year I became a member of Aggie Angels. Aggie Angels is a women’s organization that assists marketing, the coaching staff, officials and media by attending every home men’s and women’s basketball game. As a result, I did not miss a single home game this season. The intense dedication comes partly from being a redass, but mostly from just loving basketball.
So, what makes Gary Blair such a great coach?
Coach Blair began college in 1963 at Texas Tech University as an architecture major. He failed out and moved to California to become a restaurant manager. In 1969, Coach Blair enlisted in the Marine Corps and completed a four-year tour of duty in Okinawa. Afterwards, he used his G.I. bill to complete his bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech in physical education with a minor in journalism. He then went on to earn his master’s degree in in education from the school in 1974.
Coach Blair started off in the little leagues, before he found his way to the big leagues. In 1973, Coach Blair began his career by becoming the first head coach of South Oak Cliff High School Girls’ Basketball team where he made 5 consecutive state tournament appearances, during the 7 seasons he was there. In 1980, Coach Blair moved on up by accepting a position at Louisiana Tech University as the Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach. During his five seasons there, Louisiana Tech reached the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament four times, winning two national championships.
In 1985, Coach Blair began his head coaching experience at Stephen F. Austin University where he succeeded to turn the entire program around. Within his 8 years as head coach, he won seven straight conference championships and appeared in the NCAA Tournament six times. Astonishingly, Coach’s Blair and his team’s success became so big they increased their home attendance enough to allow the school to rank in the top 12 of NCAA Division 1 attendance leaders. Amazing!
In 1993, Coach Blair moved on and became the head coach of the University of Arkansas’s Women’s Basketball team. He compiled a 198-120 record and made multiple appearances in the NCAA Tournament during his 10 seasons.
FINALLY, in 2003, Coach Blair took on the challenge of becoming the head coach for the Texas A&M Women’s Basketball team, otherwise known as the worst team in the Big 12. It was his first season here that Coach Blair experience his first losing season, EVER. After just one painful season, one Big 12 conference title, and multiple NCAA Tournament appearances later, Coach Blair led his team to win their first ever National Title in 2011, WHOOP!
Why do I look up to Coach Blair as a Role Model?
Throughout this season, I have stood and watched as Coach Blair coached from the sidelines; I have sat and listened to him speak during his Radio Shows on Monday nights at Rudy’s; and I have had the privilege to attend his Women’s Basketball Team booster club events with him where he gets to mingle with both the players and the Old Ags. This man loves his team, appreciates his fans, and respects his opponents and anyone who stands along the sidelines would be able to recognize that.