Suspected by many and expected by some, Midwestern State University assistant Nelson Haggerty has been promoted to head coach of the men’s basketball team. Haggerty replaces Grant McCasland who accepted the head coaching job at Abilene Christian last week.
The ninth head coach in program history, Haggerty steps into an enviable position. The program has won two consecutive South Central regional championships with Haggerty’s help as an assistant under McCasland, but is still seeking a coveted national championship.
Both Haggerty and MSU Athletic Director Charlie Carr stressed the desire for a national championship in a release late Tuesday afternoon.
“There is no question Nelson can lead us to a national championship,” Carr said. “It is a tremendous asset to be able to find the best man for the job already in place.”
Coming off a 56-12 season and the program’s second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight, Haggerty feels the returning players will key the program’s ultimate goal.
“My goal in coming here was to win a national championship. We’ve been so close over the past two years and now we plan on finishing the job,” Haggerty said. “I can’t think of a better group of guys to go into this with than the nine we have returning.”
A native of Houston, Texas, Haggerty has earned a reputation in both recruiting and skill development in a coaching career that spans more than a decade. A former personal trainer, Haggerty also brought a solid strength and conditioning routine to Midwestern.
Like McCasland, Haggerty played at Baylor University in his own college days. A two time All-Southwest Conference guard for the Bears from 1991-95, Haggerty averaged an NCAA Division I best 10.1 assists per game his senior season and still holds five school records at Baylor.
Haggerty entered the coaching ranks as an assistant at Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College in 1998. In his one season with the team, Hutchinson reached a No. 4 national ranking.
Haggerty returned to his native Houston as an assistant at North Shore High School, assuming that role from 2000-02. The Mustangs reached a high of a No. 2 ranking in the state in that span and won the last 22 games of Haggerty’s stint with the team before he was contacted by former Baylor coach Gene Iba about joining the staff at Pittsburg State.
Returning to the state of Kansas for three seasons, Haggerty helped PSU to an NCAA Tournament regional semifinal appearance in 2004-05 and an overall record of 48-38.
In 2006, Haggerty took an assistant position under Kim Anderson at Central Missouri. In two seasons with the Mules, Haggerty helped the team to two 30 win campaigns and an overall record of 79-19 with two appearances in the Elite Eight.
Haggerty received praise from several former colleagues after the hiring was announced, including McCasland who brought him to Midwestern State.
“There’s not a more deserving head coach than Nelson Haggerty.” McCasland said in a release. “He’s like a brother to me and I’m excited for him. There’s a reason why programs he’s been a part of have had exceptional success. It’s about every aspect of his life. He balances how he feels about people with competitiveness. He’ll take the MSU program to an even greater level.”