Athlon Editors Debate the Aggies' choice
Do you like Texas A&M's decision to go with Billy Kennedy to replace Mark Turgeon?
Mitch Light: I do like the Billy Kennedy hire. He might not be a household name, but the guy is a very good basketball coach who has been a consistent winner. His record at Murray State was outstanding (70–24 in the OVC in five seasons), but I’m more impressed with what he did in his six seasons at Southeastern Louisiana. Kennedy inherited a program that won a combined five games in the Southland in the previous two seasons. He slowly built the Lions into a winner, culminating with back-to-back conference titles in ’03-04 and ’04-05. In ’05, he led SE Louisiana to its first and only NCAA Tournament appearance. Kennedy has only spent one season of his career in the state of Texas (he was an assistant at A&M in the early ‘90s), but he has coached in Louisiana, which borders Texas, for 13 seasons, with stops at New Orleans, Northwestern State and Tulane, in addition to SE Louisiana. Recruiting the state of Texas should not be a problem.
Braden Gall: I do like the fact that Kennedy has ties to the school and the region of the country, and he claims he would like to retire in College Station. After Texas A&M lost its last two coaches to more high-profile schools, finding a coach who appears to be a long-term fit with the Aggies was likely a high priority. I am not in love with the fact that the 47-year-old Kennedy has a 211–179 record as a head coach (a good but not great .541 winning percentage) and has 12 previous stops (10 as an assistant). But if he can continue the trend of aggressive defense — something Mark Turgeon mastered — the transition should be relatively painless in the short term.
Patrick Snow: Yes, I think Billy Kennedy is a solid choice for Texas A&M. He has won regular-season and tournament titles in two different conferences (OVC and Southland), and he has taken home Coach of the Year three times in those leagues. In his last six seasons as the head man at Murray State and Southeastern Louisiana, Kennedy’s teams won at least 13 games in conference play. He worked briefly as an A&M assistant 20 years ago, and his strong recruiting ties to Texas and his native Louisiana will be key in having success in College Station. I’m not sure he ‘won the press conference,’ but Billy Kennedy is a quality hire in Aggieland.