COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M associate head coach Vic Schaefer was named the new head women's basketball coach at Mississippi State on Tuesday.
Schaefer will complete the 2011-12 season with the Aggies before taking over duties at MSU.
"God opens doors for you. Sometimes you just don't know what's about to open," Schaefer said at his press conference earlier today in Starkville, Miss. He also left a video for Aggie fans at the women's basketball luncheon where he said, "I appreciate you all and the support you've given us over the years. I'm looking forward to our new season in the NCAA Tournament and helping this Aggie team go as far as we possibly can."
Schaefer is in his 15th season as the associate head coach to A&M head coach Gary Blair and his ninth overall season at Texas A&M. Schaefer, Class of 1984, is one of a few Aggies to be fortunate enough to coach at his alma mater.
"I've been there with him when his kids were born," Blair said. "I was one of his groomsman at his wedding. I've been everywhere with him and he's helped me become a better coach, because he tells me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear all the time. Vic's love for A&M is one of the reasons he's stayed here so long. He was able to teach us the traditions of Texas A&M and he is such a proud Aggie. His Aggie ring never comes off.
"I'm happy for him. Anytime you have a chance to see your assistants go on to be head coaches, it's just like watching your son or daughter graduate from college and start their next career. That's the most rewarding thing for a coach, besides winning a championship. It's well-deserved and it's time to turn the page, but the defense we run here will always stay the same."
Schaefer has helped mold the Texas A&M women's basketball program into one of the top defensive ball clubs in the nation. The nationally-ranked Aggies reached new heights during the 2010-11 season, capturing the program's first national championship in its first-ever trip to the NCAA Women's Final Four. A&M earned a program-best No. 1 ranking in the national polls, a school-record sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and closed out the year with a 33-5 record, the most victories in program history.
With Schaefer's guidance on defense, the Aggies claimed the top turnover margin in the country last season to only improve their ranking of third-best in the nation in 2009. That same year A&M made a run to the NCAA Sweet 16, preceded by an Elite Eight appearance in 2008. The Aggies then garnered their third straight Big 12 Championship in 2010.
"People all across the country want to know how we get kids to play as hard as we do and a lot of it comes from Coach Schaefer and the passion and intensity he demands out of our kids in practice situations, and that carries over to a ball game," Blair said.
Nicknamed the "Secretary of Defense," his defensive acumen and his approach to the game are his strengths, but he has also been a part of eight top 20 recruiting classes at A&M and Arkansas combined. In fact, at A&M, Schaefer helped sign the No. 6-ranked or higher classes the past four years, including the No. 2 class in 2011-12 - the highest-rated class in school history.
Schaefer previously coached at the University of Arkansas under Blair from 1997-2003. There, he helped lead the Razorbacks to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Final Four in 1998. Among his pupils was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and All-SEC First Team selection Shameka Christon
A native of Austin, Texas, Schaefer made the move to the SEC after a head coaching stint at Sam Houston State from 1990-97. He guided the Bearkats to 18 wins in 1996, their most wins in a decade, en route to earning Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Schaefer also tutored the SLC Freshman or Newcomer of the Year in three of his final four seasons, and during his first year at the school, he tutored Sierena Autman to Southland Conference Player of the Year accolades.
Schaefer is married to the former Holly Davis, who played basketball at Arkansas State and went on to serve as an assistant coach at UT Arlington. The couple has 16-year-old twins, Blair Nicole and Charles Logan.