COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Aggie legend and current Texas A&M women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair was announced as a nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the organization announced on Tuesday.
Blair holds the 12th-most wins in Division history, having won 848 games throughout his 37 years as a collegiate head coach. The Dallas native has registered 35 winning seasons, 30 20-win seasons and 16-consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He is one of three coaches to have taken two-or-more schools to the final four (Arkansas, Texas A&M).
A pioneer of the game, Blair was an assistant coach for the Louisiana Tech women's basketball team from 1980-85 that won two national titles, including the inaugural NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament during the 1981-82 season.
He took the Aggies to the pinnacle of the sport in 2011 when A&M defeated Notre Dame, 76-70. Blair is one of 16 coaches in women’s basketball history to have a national title on their resume. During the Aggies’ NCAA championship run, Blair defeated four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees (C. Vivian Stringer, Kim Mulkey, Tara VanDerveer, Muffet McGraw). He has the most wins of any national championship winning coach that is not in the Hall of Fame by over 250 victories (Brenda Frese – 579, Marsha Sharp – 571, Dawn Staley – 514*).
The Dallas native's coaching tree spans the high school and collegiate ranks as nearly 60 former players, assistants and support staff members have gone on to success after their time with Blair, including six current Division I head coaches (Kim Mulkey – LSU, Vic Schaefer – Texas, Mike Neighbors – Arkansas, Johnnie Harris – Auburn, Nell Fortner – Georgia Tech, A'Quonesia Franklin – Lamar). Blair has coached 16 Aggies that were selected in the WNBA Draft, and nearly 30 former players have enjoyed successful professional careers overseas.
Recently, Blair became the winningest coach in A&M basketball history, men’s or women’s. He passed the great Dr. Shelby Metcalf, winning his 439th game since his appointment in 2003 on Dec. 9, 2021. He announced this would be the final season of his legendary career on Oct. 28, 2021. He is a member of seven halls of fame, including an induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
This is the first nomination for Blair to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Finalists for the North American and Women’s committee for the Class of 2022 will be announced during NBA All-Star Weekend, which is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 18 in Cleveland. The Hall of Fame will also reveal the full Enshrinement schedule at this time. The entire Class of 2022, including those selected by the direct elect committees, will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans in early April.