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NMSU hires new men's basketball head coach

Jason Hooten. (Credit:{ }Sam Houston State University)
Jason Hooten. (Credit: Sam Houston State University)
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New Mexico State University has hired a new basketball men's head coach.

The university has hired Jason Hooten.

NMSU Director of Athletics Mario Moccia made the announcement on Friday.

Hooten becomes the 28th head coach in the program's history.

Hooten brings with him 13 years of head coaching experience across his 30-year coaching career.

In 13 seasons as the head coach at Sam Houston State University, Hooten displayed a track record of success as he

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I believe Coach Hooten is a tremendous fit for New Mexico State," Moccia said. "Throughout his coaching career, he has demonstrated an ability to build hard-nosed, defensive-minded teams. Importantly, his programs are always modeled on character and integrity.

In 2023, Hooten led the Bearkats to a program-tying record of 26 wins en route to earning the No. 1 seed in the 2023 WAC Tournament. On the heels of one of Sam Houston State University's best seasons in program history, Hooten was named one of 20 finalists for the Hugh Durham Award, which is presented to the top Division I mid-major coach in the country. Hooten also appeared on the list of 25 finalists for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award – an award honoring success on the court while also displaying moral integrity off the court.

Sam Houston Athletics confirmed Hooten is leaving the school.

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"Having competed against this storied program in the past, this is an exciting day for me and my family," Hooten said. "I appreciate this opportunity to restore New Mexico State University's basketball program to a position as one of the top mid-major programs in the country as we enter into Conference USA. I'm grateful to Mario Moccia and Chancellor Dan Arvizu for their support. I'm excited to meet Aggie Nation, including our outstanding student body which provides such a wonderful atmosphere in the Pan American Center. My family and I are eager to become part of the Las Cruces community."

Prior to being appointed the head coach at Sam Houston, Hooten served as an assistant on the Bearkats' staff from 2004 to 2010 and was a member of the coaching staff during one of two NCAA Tournament appearances in program history when SHSU reached the Big Dance in 2010.

Hooten received his undergraduate degree from Tarleton State University in 1993 before earning his master's from Tarleton in 1995. He is married to Kristen Hooten and the two have a daughter, Jadyn, and a son, Jayce.

In a press conference in February, Moccia and NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said they don't expect the university to miss the next season, but it's unclear if NMSU will participate next season following the hazing allegations.

Hooten will be formally introduced to the Las Cruces and NM State communities Sunday at 2:00 p.m. during his introductory press conference at the Pan American Center.

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