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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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A warm, summer evening bestowed Hoover, Alabama on Wednesday night when the No. 4 Texas A&M Aggies faced the No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Women’s head coach Gary Blair seeks more improvement through patience

Gary Blair is a great marketer, solid recruiter and successful coach. Above all, though, he is a teacher, and his players are his pupils.
He is like any other professor on this campus – only his exams take place on a court, and his students are cheered on by thousands of people.
After 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach, teaching is still what drives him, and the joy he derives from that is motivational.
“The satisfaction that you get as a coach and a teacher is watching execution. If (players) execute and do what they’re supposed to do, there’s not a better feeling in the world, whether you’re an English teacher or whether you’re a basketball coach,” Blair said. “It’s about them comprehending and then executing. I just get a kick out of that – when something that you’ve taught works.”
Under Blair’s tutelage, players not only learn lessons for the basketball court, but also lessons for life, such as confidence and accountability.
“He’s taught me how to be more confident in myself. As long as he believes me, I can believe in myself,” said junior post Tamea Scales. “As a person, he’s taught me how to hold my tongue. Last year we kind of bumped heads a lot in practice, but as I’ve grown and gotten more mature, I’ve learned to just stop and listen. He’s taught me how to sit back and listen to people and to not always stand up first and say how I feel.”
As a teacher, Blair also understands the importance of academics and the role that it should play in each of his players’ lives. He wants them to learn as much in the classroom as they do on the practice court.
“He preaches academics every day – day in and day out,” said freshman guard A’Quaonesia Franklin. “When we leave practice each day, he reminds us to go to study hall and keep up with our grades. He gave us a day off and told us to just focus on academics – don’t worry about basketball and put everything else aside and focus on academics.”
In his time as head coach, Blair has made 11 NCAA tournament appearances, including a Final Four appearance in 1998, and notched 417 career wins over three teams. But Blair does not claim to have all the answers. He continues to learn new lessons everyday. Last season, Blair’s first at A&M, he had to learn how to deal with his first losing season as a head coach. Consistent with his personality, Blair chooses to focus on the lessons learned from that year.
“I had to learn a word that I never thought I could: patience,” Blair said. “I had to slow down, and I had to teach more.”
With a roster this year that includes eight freshmen, Blair will have to continue to learn the value of patience. At that same time, these new players will have the chance to learn countless lessons from a motivated coach.
Blair has a vision for a great women’s basketball program at Texas A&M. It will take effective marketing, solid recruiting and a winning record. On the most basic level, however, it will take effective coaching and teaching and, in that department, Blair has all of his bases covered.

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