Tuesday, April 5, 2011

MSU Men's Basketball: Haggerty era begins at Midwestern State

WICHITA FALLS, Texas - The consensus is clear.

It's high time for the Nelson Haggerty era to begin at Midwestern State University.

"There is no question Nelson can lead us to a national championship," MSU Athletic Director Charlie Carr said. "It is a tremendous asset to be able to find the best man for the job already in place."

As MSU's ninth men's basketball coach, Haggerty will be put to the task of building on a legacy he has worked to construct over the past two seasons as the top assistant under Grant McCasland, who accepted the same position at Abilene Christian last week.

"My goal in coming here was to win a national championship. We've been so close over the past two years and now we plan on finishing the job," Haggerty said. "I can't think of a better group of guys to go into this with than the nine we have returning."

The Mustangs posted a 56-12 mark over the past two season which included two NCAA Division II Elite Eight appearances and a Lone Star Conference championship in 2010.

"We've built a mindset to win each game and have all the tools here to be highly competitive at the national level," Haggerty said. "From the support of Dr. (Jesse W.) Rogers, Charlie Carr and the great people in this community. We have the support to win."

Success is nothing new to Haggerty whose fingerprints were all over successful campaigns in stops as an assistant coach at Hutchinson Community College, North Shore High School, Pittsburg State and finally Central Missouri.

Haggerty served an assistant for a year under Tim Jankovich - the current head man at Illinois State - at Hutchinson as he helped the Dragons to a 20-win campaign and a No. 4 national ranking in 1998-99 before returning to Texas to pursue his undergraduate degree from Baylor.

While continuing his education, he remained active as an assistant coach at North Shore High in Houston while helping the Mustangs to a 28-3 mark in 2001-02 before receiving a call from former Baylor coach Gene Iba to join the Pittsburg State staff as a graduate assistant.

There, he helped the Gorillas to a 48-38 record including an NCAA Division II tournament appearance before moving on to take a full-time assistant position under Kim Anderson at Central Missouri.

That's where the success really began to take form as the Mules notched to 30-win campaigns and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2007 and 2009 while compiling a stellar 79-19 mark before he again returned to Texas with MSU.

Haggerty is joined by his wife, Krissie, and three children including son - Darien (9) - and two daughters - Avya (3) and Aniya (4 weeks).

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