New Mexico found a new head coach already very familiar with the school, albeit from the opposite end of an in-state rivalry. New Mexico State‘s first year head coach Paul Weir has agreed to take over the Lobos program, replacing Craig Neal who was fired 11 days ago.
Weir is a Toronto-native who was an assistant at NMSU for nine years before taking over for Marvin Menzies last Spring. In his sole year leading the Aggies, Weir set a school record for wins (28) and won the WAC Tournament to earn a spot in the Big Dance.
The coaching search went through a lot of potential names, but UNM AD Paul Krebs says that Weir was on the radar from the very beginning. “I was able to see many [NMSU] games this season, Krebs said in a statement, “and Paul is a bright young mind in the game.”
While not the very coach to be on opposite ends of a college basketball rivalry, Weir will become the first person to be head coach at both New Mexico and New Mexico State. Weir became just the third Canadian-born head coach at the Division I level, joining Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell and the inventor of basketball himself, Dr. James Naismith. That group is now joined by a fourth in new George Washington head coach Maurice Joseph.
Weir started his coaching career in his hometown, spending four seasons as the head coach at Don Bosco Catholic School in Toronto. Before landing at NMSU, Weir spent two seasons as an assistant at Iowa under Steve Alford, who left in 2007 to become the New Mexico head coach himself. Weir’s predecessor Craig Neal is also a member of Alford’s coaching tree and was an assistant at Iowa with Weir before heading the UNM.