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Texas A&M coaching legend hanging up the whistle

Posted at 8:58 PM, Oct 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 09:32:17-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A Texas A&M coaching legend is hanging up his whistle.

Women’s basketball coach Gary Blair announced he will retire after his 19th season in Aggieland. Blair led the women's basketball team to their only national championship in 2011, 16 playoff appearances, and post-season tournaments in all but two of his seasons on the bench.

When you think of women’s basketball you immediately think of Coach Gary Blair. He’s the 7th coach in program history and the longest-tenured by nearly a decade.

He’s been there longer than some of his players have been alive.

"It’s time, it’s time to go do the other things in life, and sit up in the stands and do the same things you do ... second guess the coaches,” said Blair in a news conference.

Blair took the time to thank the countless people in his Hall of Fame career. But he wanted most importantly to thank the administration that brought him home to Aggieland.

“This program was built going door to door trying to give free tickets to explain our program,” said Blair.

In an emotional press conference where he was brought to tears, he also looked ahead and shared his bucket list items. Which included time on and off the court.

“I want to take this team, this team not last year's, not 2011, I want to take this team as far as we can take it,” added Blair.

Athletics director Ross Bjork has some tough shoes to fill but he shared what the right candidate will look like.

”Someone's who’s passionate about young people, someone who can pour into the community almost really a carbon copy if you will of what Gary Blair built here,” said Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics.

Bjork also says they have quite some time to find that person to take on the head coach role.

Coach Blair's players now dedicate their last season to him.

”Let's do this for coach Blair, like let's make this the best season yet. Yeah, no pressure, just a lot of excitement and one day at a time savoring these moments,” said Jordan Nixon, A&M women's basketball team point guard.

Coach Blair leaves his players and the program with just one message.

“We have a tradition we do things the right way and there’s no shortcuts in winning,” said Blair.

Can the seven-time Hall of Famer win one more national title? Maybe.

The women's basketball team was selected to finish second in the southeastern conference preseason coaches poll.