Texas A&M’s veteran coach Gary Blair will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame next season in a class that includes Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti.
Blair’s head coaching career began in 1985 at Stephen A. Austin and continued at Arkansas and now with the Aggies, who he joined in 2003.
He has taken all three programs to the NCAA Tournament and Arkansas (1998) and A&M (2011) to the Final Four. He won his only national championship that year in Indianapolis.
Geno Auriemma was an assistant at Virginia when he first met Blair.
“I don’t exactly when it was that I met him, but I’m sure it was shortly after he spoke to Dr. Naismith about lowering the basket,” Auriemma said. “He’s been coaching so long that he’s must have been coaching since he was 12.
“As long as I can remember coaching women’s basketball, Gary Blair has always been a part of it. He was always a part of winning teams and surrounded by great players. It was fitting that he would win a national championship. Sometimes in this game you are rewarded for what you’ve put into it and for doing it the right way.
“It doesn’t always happen that way, but I am glad it happened in his case. He’s done a lot for the game.”