Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Gary Blair was inducted to the state of Arkansas’ Sports Hall of Fame on Friday night. Blair became the second Texas A&M head coach to be inducted to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, joining legendary football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant (1954-57).
Blair, already a member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, joins the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame for his contributions while coaching at Arkansas from 1993-2003, leading the Razorbacks to the 1998 Final Four. Since leaving Arkansas, he has taken Texas A&M to eight straight NCAA Tournaments, including an NCAA Championship in 2011.
Blair gave a passionate speech that reflected his views on coaching, family, and injected some of his trademark humor, making fun of fellow inductee Dennis Winston for beating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII.
Still a fan favorite in Arkansas, Blair stayed and signed autographs for every adoring fan that wanted one.
All told, this is the sixth Hall of Fame Blair has been inducted into.
“The honor is great, but the honor of coaching at University of Arkansas was even greater,” said Blair. “For the Arkansas players, my assistant coaches and the high school coaches that produced such great student-athletes at UA, I’ll be forever grateful. Going into this Hall of Fame with such diverse and great contributors is such a great honor. Thank you Arkansas.”
Blair has won 667 career games as a collegiate head coach, and has been involved in 1,065 wins as a high school or collegiate head coach or assistant. He is one of three coaches to lead two programs to the Final Four and one of two coaches, to lead three programs to the Sweet 16 (Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M).
Gary Blair becomes one of only seven women’s or girls’ basketball coach selected to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and joins UALR coach Joe Foley as the only active women’s basketball coaches in the institution.
2013 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Inductees:
David Bazzel, football player/administrator
Gary Blair, women’s basketball coach
Ken Duke, professional golfer
Bennie Fuller, basketball player
Stephanie Strack Mathis, women’s basketball player
Dennis Winston, football player/coach
Don Campbell, high school football coach
Alvy Early, women’s basketball/softball coach
Ken Stephens, football coach
Jim Barnes, basketball player
Harry Vines, basketball player