In his eighth year as the head coach of Texas A&M, Gary Blair helped lead the Aggies to the National Championship, culminating in a 76-70 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish last night in Indianapolis. It was the most important event in a long and interesting career for Blair. Jere Longman has an interesting piece on what this win meant to Blair at the New York Times.
The arc of Blair’s career is the arc of women’s basketball, from grudging tolerance to defiant outsider resolve to belated acceptance by the N.C.A.A. And the evolution of women’s basketball at Texas A&M is the remarkable transformation of a university that once prohibited women as students, much less athletes.
No one immersed himself more in the women’s Final Four or had more fun or told more stories than Blair. He is a Rotarian and former Marine for whom sentences are mere tributaries for paragraphs that run on like great rivers, meandering and eddying, and finally depositing luxuriant and unhurried tales.
That's why it is great to see teams other than the usual suspects win a National Title. Because if Texas A&M had not won the Championship this year, Blair would not have had an opportunity to spend some time in the spotlight.