Fans were quick to react to the decision to fire former-coach Greg Heiar. When asked about the incident, some said hazing is unacceptable, and it didn’t happen under the previous coach.
“I think it’s unfortunate. A true leader really does take responsibility for whoever it is that they are over. A team is a team, and if a leader can’t lead, they have to go.”
Heiar went 9-and-15 in his only season at NMSU. He won just two conference games. He replaced Chris Jans, who led the Aggies to three Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament championships and four regular season titles.
While Heiar didn’t see any immediate success, the Aggies attracted solid crowds. NMSU averaged nearly 5,000 fans a game this season. That ranks 93 out of 367 NCAA Division One (D-One) programs. It’s the third highest in the WAC.
Our sister station in El Paso, KTSM, spoke to a former NMSU athletic director about where the program goes from here. “We are now owning up to it. We’re making changes. We’re going to bring in the right kind of coach, and we’re going to bring in the right kind of players that will help us. You’re going to have to help us. You’re going to have to continue to support us, but be part of this whole new regiment we’re bringing in and be part of the building process,” said former Director Jim Paul.
Heiar’s $300,000 salary was among the lowest at the D-One level. For context, U.S. Today reported in 2021, the Texas Southern head coach had the lowest salary in the country at $250,000 a year.
Heiar coached college basketball for more than 20 years, but NMSU was his first head coaching job at the D-One level.
His only other head coaching experience came at the junior college level, leading Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, from 2004 to 2009, and Northwest Florida State College in Niceville in 2021 and 2022.
Heiar did have D-One experience as an assistant at Southern Mississippi, Wichita State, lSU, and East Tennessee State.