On Thursday June 9th I was lucky enough to interview New Mexico State University Men’s basketball head coach Greg Heiar (pronounced “higher”) about the upcoming season and much more. Coach Heiar, who was hired on March 27th 2022 has big shoes to fill following Coach Chris Jans departure to Mississippi State.
Coach Heiar has to replace Coach Chris Jans who went 122-32 with the NMSU Aggies including a 64-13 conference record in WAC play. Immediate success is almost expected as Jans started his tenure at NMSU with a record of 28-6 with a WAC record of 12-2 and making the national tournament. He’s taking over a team that has won a nation high 29 conference tournament games since 2009-2010. Expectations will be high as always in Cruces. The following is the transcript of said interview with my thoughts at the bottom.
JS- “You have an extremely tough job coming in and replacing Coach Jans, who you know very well. What would you say is going to be the biggest challenge trying to replicate that success?”
GH-”The biggest challenge to replicating his success is to stay in the moment, be where our feet are & controlling the controllables, while injecting a one day at a time approach from staff to our players! We will be all about a “Get Better” daily mindset while stressing a listen, try, apply & compete to execute the attention to details. Focus on the little things because they make the big things possible. Coach Jans did big things here with a very similar on & off the court daily approach!”
JS- “A lot of talent left as it often does when a coach leaves, the two biggest names leaving are Teddy Allen to the draft, and Rice who is going to the Longhorns. How do you go about replacing arguably the two biggest players on the team?”
GH-”They definitely will be missed here in Aggie Nation as they made an incredible run last year. It’s important for us to recruit high level players that will mesh and compete hard, smart & together. I really really like the group of guys we are putting together, lots of experience, size, length, skill & athletic ability at each position.”
JS- “You, Coach Kill, and Coach Adams-Birch are all new coaches here at NMSU,and have been very active trying to get community support. How important would you say getting Aggie support, whether in Cruces or surrounding areas, is to team success?”
GH- “Very very important to have the community’s support. We want to embrace “Aggie Nation” to create an incredible consistent home court advantage. This community & surrounding areas have embraced us with open arms & will love our student-athletes as well. All the people I’ve met so far have been so nice, engaging & have some serious Aggie Pride.”
JS- “You have a huge task with NMSU transitioning from the WAC to C-USA. I know you’re saying you’re “an in the moment” approach to things, but how does it feel knowing you’ll be facing a different level of competition from year 1 to year 2”
GH- “The WAC conference is a great basketball league as is Conference USA. From day one we have been approaching this team like we are trying to put the best possible group of student athletes to compete to win championships & win ncaa tournament games while being a team with playing experience together heading into a new challenge & new league. Easy to say, hard to do.”
JS- “NMSU has historic rivalry’s versus UTEP and UNM and those games are always intense and action packed. Which game do you look forward to the most? “
GH- I look forward to every game we play. Those rival games are great for our players & our fans. Those intense packed types of environments via home or on the road are what you as a competitor dream of playing & coaching in every night!”
JS- “Lastly, when all is said and done. What do you want your legacy to be at NMSU, when people think of the Coach Heiar era, what do you want people to think of first?”
GH- “GH was great to his players, the University, this Community & the Surrounding Areas. His team always competed hard, played as a team, showed intensity, positive vibes, emotion & passion for each other.”
After this interview with Coach Heiar, I’m all in on him. He believes in community, and the importance of showing the kids he cares. New Mexico State Men’s basketball doesn’t rebuild. They haven’t had a losing season since 2010-2011 when they finished a game below .500. Coach Heiar has won 91% of his games as a Head Coach and more than 70% of his games as an assistant coach. The man doesn’t lose, and I see no reason that should change at NMSU.
Coach Heiar has the program headed in the right direction with transfers coming in from the SEC, JUCO, Israel, and some highly touted freshman coming in, specifically Deuce Benjamin who will be following in his dad’s footsteps and will be staying in Cruces to play ball. Not to mention the 7 footer Bol Kuir. As stated above, the expectations are high, but I fully believe Coach Heiar will do great things in Las Cruces, he sure seems to have the pieces to be, all that is left to be seen is how he puts those pieces together.
2 thoughts on “Take Us to Heiar Ground: New Mexico State University Head Coach Greg Heiar sits down with Joseph Settle”
One of the best writers I’ve had the honor of meeting!
Nice read. Thanks for helping us know Coach better! I was Coach Henson’s admin. 1967-75. Much of Heier’s philosophy reminds me of Lou.