UTRGV announced Monday the hiring of Matt Figger as the Vaqueros’ next head men’s basketball coach. Figger has spent the last four seasons at Austin Peay, where he led the Governors to a 76-51 overall record and was named 2018 OVC Coach of the Year.
“As a sitting Division I head coach from a very respected program at Austin Peay, this is a statement hire for our university, athletics department and men’s basketball program,” AD Chasse Conque said in the statement. “I am confident Coach Figger will continue to build upon the great work and legacy of Coach Hill and I am excited for the future success of our program as we continue to Rally the Valley around UTRGV Athletics.”
The UTRGV community mourns the loss of former head coach Lew Hill, who passed away suddenly during the 2020-21 season. Hill had been with the program since 2016 and was well-respected on campus, in the WAC and within the larger college basketball community.
Figger is a Kentucky-native who has spent his coaching career largely in the South and Midwest but did work for two years early on at Odessa College in West Texas. He worked under Frank Martin for ten seasons, five each at Kansas State and South Carolina, and had been the associate head coach for the Gamecocks for four seasons when he was hired by Austin Peay in 2017.
“I cannot express enough how excited my family and I are to become a part of the UTRGV family,” Figger said. “This program has already experienced an incredible leader in Lew Hill. Coach Hill’s vision has already laid a strong foundation. My job is to continue the work and do my due diligence to make this program successful and to take it to levels never before experienced. The work starts now!”
The Vaqueros program, which was formed in 2015 from the merger of D-I UT Pan American and D-II UT Brownsville, has yet to reach the NCAA Tournament. They did win 20 games in 2018-19 and were off to a 8-4 start this past year before Hill’s tragic passing.
credit to UTRGV Athletics for the image