COLLEGE STATION - The Texas A&M Women's Basketball team's win over Houston on Sunday was career victory number 800 for Aggie Head Coach Gary Blair. It's fitting that he is now 12th on the women's all time wins list.
Gary Blair came to Texas A&M back in 2003 with 408 career wins from his time at Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas. His now 392 wins at Texas A&M is the most at any stop he has made during his coaching career. When talking about what 800 wins means, Blair says he is thankful for his coaching staffs that have helped make him better as a coach. Blair has also had some great players to help him get all those wins, but it isn't just what they do in basketball that he cares about.
"Every Christmas, you know after everybody has that big meal and that Sunday meal, I go into a back room and I call as many of my former players as I can on that Sunday afternoon, and just try to find out what is going on in your life," explained Blair. Is there anything I can do to help and I think that gives me a little bit of a clam and a piece and service before self," Blair added.
Blair came to College Station with an impressive resume that including taking Arkansas to the Final Four in 1998 and Stephen F. Austin to four sweet 16's. He has now taken the Aggies to the NCAA tournament 14 straight seasons, something some people probably thought wouldn't happen after Blair's opening press conference at Texas A&M.
"Couple of fans came up to me and this one guy said hey we are glad to have you, but I'm not sure why you did it. Why you did it, why you would come to A&M. We're lovable losers, and boy that stuck with me right quick, and I said, I am not a lovable loser. I can be a gracious loser at times, but I hated that word lovable loser," the Aggie Coach exclaimed.
Blair has proven the lovable loser theory to be wrong. He has taken this program to great heights and reached the highest point possible in 2011, when the Aggies beat Notre Dame in Indianapolis to win the program's first national title in their first ever trip to the final four.
"This was blood, sweat and tears that we had to work. We were not the favorite to win it but we were very similar to the team that we have this year, started in the top 10, dropped a little, came back in the top 10 and stayed between six and ten about the whole year until the NCAA playoffs. The memories were unbelievable," recalled Blair.