NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Texas A&M’s men’s and women’s basketball teams found out the location of 12 future Southeastern Conference tournaments on Tuesday, as SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced an agreement with the Nashville Sports Council to play its men’s or women’s basketball tournament at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., each year for 12 consecutive years beginning in 2015.
The Music City will serve as host to the men’s tournament nine times between 2015 and 2026 and the women’s event will be played three times during that period.
At the SEC Springs Meetings in Destin in May, the league’s athletic directors voted to select a primary site at which most SEC men’s basketball tournaments would be played in future years. With this agreement, the SEC has officially designated Nashville as its primary site for the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“Nashville has long been a valued partner of the Southeastern Conference and we are pleased to establish this long-term agreement that will benefit our men’s and women’s basketball tournaments,” Slive said. “Nashville, as a proven host, provides SEC teams and fans with a wonderful experience.”
Under the terms of the new agreement, the men’s tournament will be played in Nashville every year from 2015 to 2025 with the exception of 2018 and 2022. The women’s tournament will be played there in 2018, 2022 and 2026.
The agreement to play the men’s tournament in Nashville in 2015, 2016 and 2019 was previously announced.
During the Aggies’ first year in the league, the Texas A&M men's basketball team visited Nashville and Bridgestone Arena as it hosted the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament. The Aggie women's basketball team, competing in Duluth, Ga., emerged as champions in their first appearance in the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The men enter their third season under the direction of head coach Billy Kennedy and feature a young, talented roster led by three returning starters, including upperclassmen Fabyon Harris (senior guard) and Kourtney Roberson (junior forward). Additionally, local sophomore standouts Alex Caruso (College Station, Texas) and J-Mychal Reese (Bryan, Texas) are set to take a step forward during their second year on campus.
The women’s basketball team will look to earn their program-best ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in the upcoming year. Hall of Fame head coach Gary Blair welcomes back local product senior Karla Gilbert (College Station, Texas) as well as SEC All-Freshman team guard Courtney Walker, who averaged 10.4 points per game as a rookie a year ago. The A&M women have won at least 20 games in each of the previous eight years, having only five 20-win seasons prior to the current streak.
Bridgestone Arena opened in 1996 and has hosted SEC basketball tournaments on nine occasions. The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament was played there in 2001, 2006, 2010 and 2013, while the SEC Women’s Tournament was held there in 2002, 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2012. The facility is Nashville’s No. 1 venue for large-scale musical productions, as well as one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed entertainment and sports venues.
Nashville was also the site of the men’s tournament in 1984 and 1991 when it was played at Memorial Gymnasium on the Vanderbilt campus.