STARKVILLE — Vic Schaefer will become the next women’s basketball coach at Mississippi State University.
Multiple sources have confirmed to The Dispatch that the associate head coach at Texas A&M University will be named as the Lady Bulldogs seventh head coach in school history during an 11 a.m. media conference Tuesday in the Bryan Athletic Building.
Schaefer was expected to inform the players and coaching staff in the Aggies program of his decision after the NCAA Women’s Tournament selection show took place Monday evening.
Messages to MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin were not immediately returned.
Schaefer is replacing Sharon Fanning-Otis less than a month after she announced her intent to retire from her current position at the close of the 2011-12 season. Fanning-Otis is the all-time winningest women’s basketball coach in MSU history with 281 victories, becoming just the 14th Division I head women’s basketball coach to amass 600 career wins earlier this past season.
“The timing of Sharon’s announcement gives us the opportunity to begin looking for our next women’s basketball coach,” Stricklin said on Feb. 20 in a university release. “As always, we’ll identify a hard-working, intelligent coach who can move this program forward.” Schaefer is finishing his 15th season working for head coach Gary Blair and his ninth overall at Texas A&M University.
It is unknown at this time if Schaefer will coach A&M in this year’s NCAA Tournament as the No. 22 Aggies (22-10) begin the defense of their national championship after losing Saturday to top-ranked Baylor in the Big 12 Conference Tournament final.
The Aggies captured the program’s first national title in its first-ever trip to the NCAA Women’s Final Four last season. A&M earned a program-best No. 1 ranking in the national polls, a school-record sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and closed out the year with a 33-5 record, marking the most victories in program history. MSU completed the 2011-12 season with a 14-16 record and has finished under .500 in the two seasons after the school made it the Sweet 16 for the first time ever.
With Schaefer’s guidance on defense, the Aggies claimed the top turnover margin in the country last season after finishing third best in the nation in 2009. In the 2009 season, A&M made a run to the NCAA Sweet 16 preceded by an Elite Eight appearance in 2008. The Aggies then garnered their third straight Big 12 Championship in 2010. Schaefer has also been a part of eight Top 20 recruiting classes based on the internet recruiting services at A&M and Arkansas. He helped
sign the No. 6 class in the nation in 2008-09, the No. 5 class in the nation in 2009-10 and the third-best class in the nation two years ago – the highest-rated classes in school history.
Schaefer was one of five Division I assistant coaches to be named BasketballScoop.com’s 2009 Coaches of the Year while working primarily with the Aggies’ post players.
“Vic is the ultimate family man who brings family to our basketball team,” Blair said in a school statement. “We play defense like a family and he has undoubtedly turned A&M into one of the best defensive ball clubs in the country.” Schaefer previously coached at the University of Arkansas under Blair from 1997-2003. While on the Razorbacks bench, he directed the program’s defensive strategy, post players, opponent scouting, as well as assisted in recruiting and overseeing scheduling. His best player in Fayetteville was Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and All-SEC First Team selection Shameka Christon, who currently plays in the WNBA for the Chicago Sky.
While Mississippi State administration did not specifically say head-coaching experience would be an important prerequisite, Schaefer’s coaching resume also includes serving as head women’s basketball coach from 1990-97 at Sam Houston State University where he coached Southland Conference Player of the Year Sierena Autman during his first season in 1990-91. In three of his last four seasons at SHSU, his players won either the SLC’s Freshman or Newcomer of the Year honor. In 1996, when he was voted Southland Conference coach of the year, Schaefer was honored for leading the SHSU program to its most wins in a decade with an 18-10 record.
Completing his basketball-dominated family, Schaefer’s wife Holly played basketball at Arkansas State and was later an assistant coach at the University of Texas at Arlington. The couple has twin 16-year-olds, Blair Nicole and Charles Logan. Schaefer interviewed for the head coach vacancy at the University of New Mexico last offseason days after the Aggies won the national championship but the position eventually went to UNM associate head coach Yvonne Sanchez.