Gary Blair Speaker Profile
Gary Blair Biography
Gary Blair is the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggieswomen's basketball team. In his 26 years as a collegiate head coach, Blair hasonly suffered one losing season, and has reached postseason play 22 times,including 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 2 Final Four appearances in1998 and 2011. He led the Aggies to the NCAA national championship in 2011. Heis listed in the top 35 of the all-time winningest active NCAA Division 1women's basketball coaches, and is one of the few coaches to guide threedifferent schools to national rankings and NCAA Tournament berths.
Blair came to Texas A&M in 2003, taking over the Big 12 Conference's worstteam, which had not had a winning season in seven years. In his first seasonwith Texas A&M, Blair worked very hard to attract fans to the women's basketballgames, and by the end of the season attendance had increased 71 percent overthe previous year, the best increase in the Big 12 Conference. For the firsttime in his career, however, one of Blair's team suffered a losing season.
The following year the Aggies improved, earning a postseasoninvitation for the first time since 1996.
In his third season with the Aggies, Blair guided his teamto their first Associated Press Top 25 ranking in ten years. The team won 23games (losing 9), the third-most victories in school history and a tie for themost victories in conference play ever (11 wins, 5 losses in conference). Theteam finished third in the Big 12, and reached the semifinals in the Big 12 Women'sChampionship Tournament. With a Number 6 seed to the NCAA Tournament (A&M'sfirst such invitation since 1996), Blair became only the fourth coach in NCAAhistory to take three different schools to the NCAA Tournament, although thisbecame his only appearance where his team lost in the first round.
Following their successful season, Blair was named theWomen's Basketball News Service National Coach of the Year.
Overall, in his first three years as the head coach of theAggies, A&M home attendance increased 156%, with a school-record 11,088fans watching the team play Baylor University.
In the 2006-2007 season, Blair's Aggies again scored over 20wins and reached the NCAA Tournament, this time as the fourth seed, andadvanced to the second round of the tournament. This marked the first time inAggie history that the women's basketball team had earned consecutive NCAAtournament berths.
On February 20, 2008, Blair posted his 500th career win as ahead coach at Reed Arena against the Iowa State Cyclones.
In the 200708 season, Blair led his squad to a school-firstNCAA Elite Eight appearance and a 298 overall record. The team also won the2008 Big 12 conference tournament title. In the NCAA tournament, the team lostto eventual national champion Tennessee. After the season, the Texas A&MBoard of Regents approved a one-year contract extension through 2012, and a$150,000 salary raise to $800,000 annually.
On March 29, 2011, Gary Blair led the program to its firstever Final Four appearance by defeating top-seeded Baylor 58-46. On April3, 2011, the Aggies defeated top-seeded Stanford 6362 to advance to thenational title game. On April 5, 2011, the Aggies defeated Notre Dame 76-70 inthe championship game to win the tournament for the first time in schoolhistory. Blair also became the oldest women's coach to win.
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