Texas A&M hires Gillispie

Looking to turn around its struggling basketball program, Texas A&M hired Billy Gillispie on Wednesday as the Aggies' new head coach.

Gillispie comes to A&M from UTEP where his team went from a 6-24 finish in the 2002-03 season to a 24-8 record this year, his second in El Paso. The Miners earned an at-large NCAA bid and almost upset Maryland before losing 86-83.

Texas A&M Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said of the hire: "Billy is a native Texan and began his coaching career in the state. When I spoke with people associated with basketball in Texas, I became totally convinced that Billy would be a perfect fit for Texas A&M."

Gillispie replaces Melvin Watkins (60-111 at A&M) who resigned under pressure after going winless in Big 12 conference play this season.

"I'm highly familiar with Texas A&M's outstanding traditions and I have always been impressed with its incredible spirit," Gillispie said. "With all the positives at A&M, I'm convinced we have the foundation to build a championship basketball program."

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