Luckily for his health, it only happened six times.
But after each loss in his rookie campaign as the New Mexico State coach this past season, Paul Weir beat himself up agonizing over what he could have done differently so his team could have come out on top.
But, deep beneath the self-loathing, was a small dose of reality he tried to ignore. It was the reality that between limited resources and other obstacles in the Aggies program, maybe his team just couldn’t bridge the gap between it and more prominent programs to win them all.
Now, as the newly hired coach of the rival New Mexico Lobos, Weir says there is no longer any reason to think it can’t be done. With the Lobos players, staff and resources moving forward, there is no reason for that doubt to creep in.
“Here, if we’re not successful, it’s my fault,” said Weir, the 37-year-old coach who was introduced Tuesday. “It’s no one else’s fault. It’s not the fans’ fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s on me. It’s very comforting to me professionally for me to go somewhere where it’s entirely on me and my own competencies and my ability to lead this program. I’ve very confident in my ability to do that.”
And that starts now.
Weir plans to meet with every player, even the four who have asked to transfer, each assistant coach and support staff member before determining any roster, coaching or supporting staff decisions.
Of the players, current and those potential transfers who can still return — junior guard Elijah Brown, sophomore guard Anthony Mathis, junior forward Sam Logwood and freshman point guard Jalen Harris — Weir said he plans to work them all hard, but also hopes they buy into his vision for the program that will include a fast tempo and hard-nosed work ethic.
“They have to believe in me and I have to believe in them,” Weir said. “… If they want to be a part of that, I want every single one of them.”
Today starts the national signing period for college basketball and the Lobos already have three recruits signed since November’s early signing period — 6-foot-9 Missouri State-West Plains junior college transfer Mike Parks, 7-3 Tennessee Prep center Chris Yannick Sodom, and 6-9 Omaha, Neb., forward Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler.
Christchurch, New Zealand’s Quinn Clinton, a 6-foot-4 point guard, has said he’ll also sign if associate head coach Chris Harriman is retained, though that hasn’t been determined.
As for the current Lobos, almost all of whom were in attendance at Tuesday’s news conference, they seemed happy with what they were hearing from their new coach.
“I’m honestly really excited about it,” said sophomore guard Dane Kuiper. “The way he talked about how we’re going to play and just who he is as a person, I think he can really get our guys to come together and jell.”
Junior forward Connor MacDougall concurred, saying there was no reason the current players shouldn’t be on board with the intensity Weir wants to bring.
“He wants to push it a lot more and run a lot more,” MacDougall said. “I think those are things we’re capable of doing that. We’re on board with that.”
As for assistants, Alan Huss is the Lobos interim head coach on contract through the end of April. Terrence Rencher is an assistant also on contract through April.
Harriman has a three-year contract through the end of the 2017-18 season and owed $300,000 if fired (his $150,000 base salary for this contract year and a $150,000 buyout).
Weir said he has not been told he has to keep or dismiss any current staff.
“It’s really premature for me to say,” Weir said of staff decisions.