Gary Blair won a national championship for Texas A&M at a high point of UConn’s dominance of the sport.
It was no easy task.
Notre Dame found a way to upset the Huskies in the Final Four and then Blair’s Aggies defeated an Irish team that featured one of the greatest college players of all-time in Skylar Diggins and a former WNBA player in Devereaux Peters, who both scored over 20 points in the national title game. Danielle Adams was just too good from the A&M side, scoring 30 points and hauling in nine boards to lead a steady starting five of her Tyra White, Sydney Colson, Sydney Carter and Adaora Elonu to the promised land.
UConn had gone undefeated two seasons in a row and had Maya Moore as a senior. But it was Gary Blair standing at the mountain top in 2010-11.
10 years, another Elite Eight, another five Sweet 16s, an SEC Tournament championship (2013) and an SEC regular-season championship (2021) later, Blair has decided that the 2021-22 season will be his last as a college basketball head coach.
Blair started his head coaching career at Stephen F. Austin in 1985, then moved to Arkansas in 1993 and A&M in 2003. He made a name for himself at Stephen F. Austin with routine trips to the NCAA Tournament and then took a ninth-seeded Razorback team to the Final Four in 1998. At A&M, he has made the last 15 tourneys in a row, eight sweet 16s and three Elite Eights. With two wins already this season, he now has 838 wins as a Division I head coach.
Last year, the Aggies lost Chennedy Carter via early entry into the WNBA Draft and started the season at No. 13. However, they defeated South Carolina in their final regular season game to win the SEC and earned the No. 2 ranking in the country entering the conference tournaments. This year they will look to returners Jordan Nixon, Kayla Wells and Destiny Pitts and transfers Aaliyah Patty and Qadashah Hoppie to lead the way as they try to make Blair’s final season a memorable one.