Texas A&M women’s basketball coach Gary Blair was named to the state of Arkansas’ Sports Hall of Fame, the institution announced. Blair is the second Texas A&M head coach to be selected 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 Ladybacks 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.
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 652 career games as a collegiate head coach, and has been involved in 1,050 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.
Blair, and ten other inductees will be honored when the organization holds its 56th annual induction banquet on Friday, Feb. 28. The banquet will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, Ark.
The Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame is on the west side of Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, the site of the 2015 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. It is open each Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It includes an 88-seat theater with a video highlighting the careers of Arkansas sports greats, along with a touch-screen kiosk with a database of all Hall of Fame inductees.
Blair leads the Texas A&M Aggies back into action on December 28 at 7 p.m., to host the school where he got his start in collegiate coaching, three-time national champion Louisiana Tech.
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