Turns it around. He sure was impressive at his PC. I really have enjoyed women’s basketball thru the years, I guess because of going to school at La Tech & seeing how a really small school with a great coach can compete at the highest level for many years. Neighbors is well connected in the high school ranks much like Leon Barmore was in Louisiana, south Ar & Texas. That’s a big head start in recruiting & his record speaks for itself.
It’s a shame to watch my favorite two schools women’s programs slide this past decade, for much the same reasons–poor administration decisions. Tech’s president wouldn’t give Kim Mulkey a contract for more than 2 years, so she’s built her legacy program in Waco with a NC in her pocket already. And Coach Blair has done the same thing in College Station. Sad to watch, but let’s hope they both make some big positive strides these next few years.
He seems a perfect fit but he has a huge task ahead of him. He first has to recruit what’s left of the current team, then he has to re-recruit the one’s signed already for next year, and then he has to go out and find more players. The biggest long shot is Christyn Williams @ CAC, the #2 ranked Junior in the country. She has made it clear she wants to go to college outside of Arkansas so he may have no chance. What a huge jump start for his program if she bought into his vision for Arkansas Womens Basketball and decided to help him achieve it. He has the facilities. He just needs to clear the rubble from the implosion of the Dykes regime, start with a new foundation, and build a successful program in the toughest league in the country. Wish him well.
It ain’t like Gary was exactly tearing it up in league play either. His best league finish was a tie for fourth, which was also the best Tom Collen did here. Gary’s finishes in a 12-team league: 9-T4-10-T7-T6-11-10-T6-T7-7. The Final Four team? T6. Even at A&M (his NC was still in the Big 12) he’s been as far down as 6th.
I think Gary is probably remembered a lot more fondly here than his record indicates. The FF run was due largely to a team we never even played; Stanford was crippled by injuries, lost to Harvard in the only 16-over-1 upset in NCAAT history, and our path to the regional was cleared. And we did have better crowds in those days, but the record was not that great; win percentage was .623 in 10 seasons. A .623 is about like going 8-5 in football, OK but not more than that.