Texas A&M basketball hires Georgia’s Joni Taylor as coach

Joni Taylor is headed to Texas A&M after seven seasons at Georgia. (Photo by Rebecca Gratz/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Texas A&M has named Joni Taylor as the eighth head women’s basketball coach in program history.

The head coach at Georgia for the past seven seasons, Taylor won the SEC Coach of the Year award in 2021. She compiled 140 wins and four NCAA Tournament bids during her tenure.

In 2021, she took the Bulldogs all the way to the SEC tournament championship game. There, she and South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley became the first pair of African American female head coaches to coach against one another in an SEC tournament title game.

She also has coached four players to the WNBA draft, with Jenna Staiti and Que Morrison up for the draft this year.

“Texas A&M women’s basketball stands for excellence and integrity on and off the court. As we began our search to replace Coach Blair, it was so important that we found the right leader and person who would exemplify these same qualities and someone who understood what being an Aggie is all about,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement. “As the process evolved, and the more we got to know Coach Taylor, it became crystal clear that she is the right coach to lead our program into this new era of Aggie basketball.”

Taylor succeeds Gary Blair, who announced in October that he would retire at the end of the season. Over the past 19 seasons, Blair coached Texas A&M to an NCAA championship in 2011 and five SEC titles, including the 2021 conference regular season championship. He won a total of 444 games with the Aggies, making him the winningest basketball coach in school history.

“I am extremely excited and humbled to have the opportunity to lead the Texas A&M women’s basketball program. You are talking about a program that is rich with tradition and an institution that leads not only in the SEC, but in the country,” Taylor said. “I am excited to get there and meet the team and immerse myself and our family into Aggieland.”