Naismith Hall of Fame includes Blair in 2023 class
HOUSTON - Texas A&M women's basketball legend Gary Blair was named to the 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class, the organization announced Saturday.
"This is an incredible honor that I never thought was possible," Blair said. "I am thankful to the Naismith for this recognition, and I am blessed to represent the five schools that I was able to coach for. When I am enshrined in August, I will be enshrined with all of the players, coaches, support staff, administrators and fans that helped me get there. This is our moment, and I am excited to celebrate everything we accomplished."
Blair becomes the 18th Division I women's coach to enter the hall of fame after only two years on the ballot. The women's hoops icon is now a member of 10 halls of fame.
Blair holds the 13th-most wins in Division I history, having won 852 games throughout his 37 years as a collegiate head coach. The Dallas native registered 35 winning seasons and 30 20-win seasons. He is one of four coaches to have taken two or more schools to the final four (Arkansas, Texas A&M).
Blair is the namesake for the court at Reed Arena. He is one of only six women's basketball coaches to have ever had a Division I court named in their honor (Pat Summitt - Tennessee, Kay Yow - NC State, Doug Bruno - DePaul, Joe Foley - Little Rock, C. Vivian Stringer - Rutgers).
He won 444 games, five conference titles and took the Aggies to 16 NCAA Tournaments in his 19 seasons leading the Maroon & White.
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, in the national championship game.
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).
Blair'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 nine 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, Kelly Bond-White - Southern Illinois, Sytia Messer - UCF, Vernette Skeete - Texas Southern).
Blair coached 16 Aggies whowere selected in the WNBA Draft, and nearly 30 former players have enjoyed successful professional careers overseas.
The Class of 2023 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 11-12. For more information, please visit hoophall.com.
2023 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Class
Gene Bess (Coach)
Gary Blair (Coach)
Pau Gasol (Player)
Becky Hammon (Player)
David Hixon (Coach)
Gene Keady (Coach)
Dirk Nowitzki (Player)
Tony Parker (Player)
Gregg Popovich (Coach)
Dwyane Wade (Player)
Jim Valvano (Contributor)
1976 Women's Olympic Team