COLLEGE STATION – A pair of Texas A&M Hall of Fame coach Gary Blair’s former players advanced their coaching careers this week as Damitria Buchanan and Jamila Ganter took positions on the coaching staffs of at Texas Tech and Stephen F. Austin, respectively.
“Damitria and Jamila are both quality young coaches and deserve this advancement in their coaching career,” Blair said. “Both of these ladies have given back to the game and done it the right way. When you see two of your former athletes join your coaching tree it is really special to me. I am very happy for each of them and I know they will both do a great job, it is great to see former players get out into the coaching community and it is a testament to the quality of character that we have recruited to Texas A&M. I know each of them will do well representing Texas A&M throughout their career.”
Buchanan moved from SFA to A&M’s former Big 12 rival Texas Tech earlier this week where she will work under new head coach Candace Whitaker. The Houston native’s main responsibilities with the Lady Raiders will include recruiting, post play, academics and scouting. While at SFA, Buchanan helped guide the Ladyjacks to the Southland Conference Tournament Championship and a 23-win season in 2011-12. The 11 win increase from the 2010-11 season (12) to 2011-12 (23) stood out as the sixth-biggest turnaround in the nation.
While donning the maroon and white from 2006 through 2010, Buchanan helped guide the Aggies to three Big 12 titles and a top-25 finish in each of her four seasons, including top-10 finishes during each of the final three years. In addition to garnering Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection on two occasions, Buchanan was named a team captain as a senior.
“Having Damitria join the staff at my alma mater is very special for me,” Blair added. “I really think she will help the Lady Raiders be successful with the experience she has under her belt.”
The vacancy on the Ladyjack staff was quickly filled by fellow A&M graduate Jamila Ganter. The Texarkana native joins the collegiate coaching ranks following four successful seasons at her high school alma mater. The Liberty-Eylau High School Lady Leopards won district titles in each of the four seasons Ganter was on the bench along with an appearance in the 2010 3A state championship game. The past season, Liberty-Eylau went 17-4 en route to winning the 3A Region II District 15 Title.
“Jamila went back to her high school and is ready for college game after being very successful in the prep ranks,” Blair said. “The position at SFA has been a great opportunity for our former players with A’Quonesia Franklin beginning there followed by Damitria and now Jamila stepping into that role. I am very happy that each of them have the opportunity to coach the Ladyjacks after spending eight season on the sidelines in Nacogdoches myself.”
Ganter represented A&M from 2003-2006, appearing in 79 career games. Ganter was a part of the masterful turnaround orchestrated by Blair including A&M’s first NCAA tournament appearance in almost a decade. The Aggies have made a program-best eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearance including the 2011 National Championship.