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New Mexico State hires Jason Hooten as next head coach

Jason Hooten has been named the new head coach at New Mexico State, the school announced Friday. Hooten has been the head coach at Sam Houston State for the last thirteen seasons, a program that moved to the WAC two years ago. He went 261-169 overall with six 20+ win seasons, including a 26-8 record in 2022-23.

“I believe Coach Hooten is a tremendous fit for New Mexico State,” AD Mario Moccia said. “Throughout his coaching career, he has demonstrated an ability to build hard-nosed, defensive-minded teams. Importantly, his programs are always modeled on character and integrity.”

New Mexico State is a program in full-on, top-to-bottom rebuild mode. Chris Jans left in 2022 after winning four WAC titles in five years and the program was turned over to Greg Heiar, who had one of the most disastrous head coaching tenures in recent D-I history. The Aggies dropped from first-to-worst in the WAC, but the bigger problems were off the court. A player getting shot, multiple players getting in trouble for hazing, and numerous other incidents led the program getting shut down in February and the rest of the Aggies’ games were considered forfeits. Heiar was officially fired not long after, going 9-15 in total at the helm.

Hooten is a proven winner who’s first job will be getting a passable roster together via recruiting and transfers. Then he can get to work on returning NMSU to prominence. Both New Mexico State and Sam Houston State are moving from the WAC to Conference USA this summer.

“Having competed against this storied program in the past, this is an exciting day for me and my family,” Hooten said. “I appreciate this opportunity to restore New Mexico State University’s basketball program to a position as one of the top mid-major programs in the country as we enter into Conference USA. I’m grateful to Mario Moccia and Chancellor Dan Arvizu for their support. I’m excited to meet Aggie Nation, including our outstanding student body which provides such a wonderful atmosphere in the Pan American Center. My family and I are eager to become part of the Las Cruces community.”


credit to New Mexico State Athletics for the image