LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State men’s basketball team members would like to see associate head coach Paul Weir become their new head coach.
And Weir is getting support from former Aggies Sim Bhullar, Daniel Mullings and Kevin Aronis on Twitter, as well. Weir has been on former head coach Marvin Menzies’ staff for all of Menzies’ nine seasons at NMSU and has been the associate head coach since 2011. Menzies accepted the UNLV head coaching job Saturday.
NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia said he met with the team Sunday night.
“We all love Marv, and we all want to congratulate him on his new job and hope he does well,” NMSU sophomore guard Matt Taylor said. “But we basically told Mario we all want P Weir to be the next guy. It’ll be a good transition, and we think it would be smooth for the all of the players. We all know him and all love him. We were basically just giving our thoughts on that, and we’re putting our trust in the AD and the president that they’ll make the right choice, not only for the community, but for the players, as well. I think everybody feels the same way, and we all want P Weir to be the guy.”
Moccia is opening up the search nationwide, but said that Weir will be a finalist for the position. As the associate head coach, Weir has been a huge part of building the NMSU program into a consistent NCAA Tournament team. He’s also put together the Aggies’ schedule and been in charge of the defense, which was ranked in the top 25 in the nation last season and has been a staple for NMSU in recent seasons. Weir is also responsible for recruiting the Canadian talent that has come through NMSU during Menzies’ tenure.
“We just pretty much let them know how sincere we feel about Paul Weir and how much, not only us, but the community, coaches, staff and managers, we all want P Weir to be the guy,” NMSU junior point guard Ian Baker said.
Weir was also a finalist for the Texas-Rio Grande Valley head coaching position earlier this year. UTRGV hired Oklahoma assistant Lew Hill for the job.
“When you have a guy who’s been here nine years, you want to see him get the job,” NMSU sophomore center Johnathon Wilkins said.
Moccia said no player on the team has requested to transfer in light of the coaching change. Baker announced Monday he has declared for the NBA draft, but will not hire an agent and could return to NMSU. He has until May 25 to withdraw from the draft. Sophomore forward Pascal Siakam, who has been projected a second-round pick in this years’ draft, has not announced whether he will enter the draft.
“I think the team will tell you they’re very appreciative and have a very good feeling for Paul Weir,” Moccia said. “And I think that shows a really healthy program. I thought it was important that I address them personally. I think it was a tremendous meeting. It was great. We talked and it was a very open conversation. You go down there immediately, explain the situation, talk to them face to face and answer whatever questions they have. And I think they can kind of see it from your side of the fence, and I think they understood this is a big job and it’s a national job.
“The program itself deserves a good solid look at everybody that might be out there, not just for the current players. That was part of the discussion. I think we’re pretty good with the team.”
The players said Menzies kept them in the loop about other coaching jobs and about going through the interview process with UNLV.
“I wouldn’t say we were surprised,” Taylor said. “… He had told us in the past that he would always, if he got a job offer, sit down and talk to us first and ask how we felt. He met with us before he made the decision and basically see what we wanted to do and how we felt about it. We gave him the go ahead.”