COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M women’s basketball head coach Gary Blair will be inducted into the Stephen F. Austin Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony scheduled to take place at halftime of A&M’s road game against the Ladyjacks on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at the William R. Johnson Coliseum in Nacogdoches, Texas.
“This is an opportunity for SFA to honor one of the all-time greats in women’s basketball,” said SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill. “The late Sue Gunter was a pioneer of the game and built this program during the AIAW days. Blair carried the torch as women’s athletics entered the NCAA. He helped make SFA the most dominant team in the Southland Conference, and one of the top programs in the nation.”
One of the top coaching minds in the game today, Blair has won more than 500 games during his illustrious 24-year career at SFA, Arkansas and A&M combined. Taking over the Ladyjack program during the 1985-86 season, Blair was given the charge of rebuilding a team that had struggled in its two previous seasons. The Ladyjacks won 16 games during his inaugural season, and followed that up with a 25-6 campaign a year later.
Following his first year on campus, Blair’s teams would win no fewer than 25 games in a season. He guided SFA to seven consecutive 20-win seasons, one 30-win campaign, six consecutive Southland Conference titles, six NCAA Championship appearances, six top-20 national rankings, four NCAA Sweet 16 appearances, two top-10 national rankings and one WNIT berth.
Blair won 210 games during his time as the Ladyjacks’ head coach from 1985-93, and still stands as the school’s all-time winningest coach in terms of winning percentage (.830). A five-time Southland Conference Coach of the Year, Blair recorded a 6-6 record in NCAA Tournament games, never losing an opening-round game.
Blair left SFA following the 1992-93 season, to become the head coach at Arkansas where he put the Lady Razorbacks on the national stage. Blair guided Arkansas to the 1998 NCAA Final Four, before moving on to become the head coach at Texas A&M.
He has continued a similar path of success in College Station. A two-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award, and the 2007 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Blair guided the Aggies to the their first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance, and a program-best 29 victories in 2007-08. In only five seasons in College Station, Blair has posted a 105-58 record. He became only the 36th all-time coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to reach 500 career victories last year in a league victory over Iowa State on Feb. 20, 2008.
“Blair’s accomplishments in the game of women’s basketball stretch far beyond the Stephen F. Austin campus,” Hill said. “He has left his imprint success on every program he has been associated with.”
Blair’s Aggies are currently ranked a school-record No. 7 in the nation and have appeared in the top 10 for six all-time weeks. A&M’s game at SFA is slated to tipoff at 7:30 p.m., and is part of a scheduled doubleheader with SFA men who will take on Jackson State at 5:30 p.m.
Maroon Club Bus Trip To SFA Available…Coach Blair and the Texas A&M Maroon Club invite you to watch the nationally-ranked Aggie women play on the road throughout the 2008-09 season. The Maroon Club is sponsoring one of three bus trips of the season to Stephen F. Austin on Tuesday, Dec. 2 from College Station to Nacogdoches, Texas. A&M and SFA will tipoff at 7:30 p.m. Bus departure time is scheduled for 4 p.m. (please arrive at 3:45 p.m.) from the Sears Parking Lot at the Post Oak Mall. For more information or to sign-up, please contact Lindsey Bounds at (979) 846‐3024 or email@example.com. The cost of the trip is $20 for Maroon Club members and $25 for all other Aggie fans. The bus trip includes one ticket to the game, a snack pack and a chance to win free prizes.
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