It’s Hooten’s House: NMSU introduce Jason Hooten as head coach
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KVIA) -- NMSU officially introduced Jason Hooten as the 28th head coach of the men's basketball program on Sunday in front of more than 400 people in the Pan American Center.
Hooten takes over the reigns less than a year after Greg Heiar was hired. The change in coach comes after Heiar was fired due to the program being shutdown because of two separate investigations into the team over the course of his season at the helm.
"My job and what I've been hired to do is to come in here and reestablish a culture that this place has always had and always expected," Hooten said. "I'm looking forward to that challenge and it is going to be a challenge we have a lot of work ahead of us but I wouldn't have signed up for this if number one it was something I couldn't do or number 2 something I'm excited to do."
Hooten isn't the only one who thinks he's the right guy to lead the Aggies in this next chapter.
"Just everything I heard from coaches all over the place you mention coach Golding, coach Jans, etc. - character, nobody has not said that," Athletic Director Mario Moccia said. "For me, this was kind of my target all along."
Hooten first and foremost was hired because of his track record off the court - he's a guy who is a finalist for the Skip Prosser Man of the year award. But his on the court record compliments his attributes perfectly.
In 13 years as head coach he had a 260-168 overall record, with five 20 plus win seasons and only one losing season and six postseason appearances, including the NIT this year after Sam Houston were the No. 1 seeds in the WAC.
"I just think they made a statement when they hired a guy like me and I mean that from a guy who does things the right way who takes hard nosed kids and maybe we overachieve a little bit at times," Hooten said. "They just kept reassuring me that I'm the type of guy that needs to lead this program and that was kind of the icing on the cake for me and my family."
Hooten officially begins the head coaching roll on Monday and will instantly look to bring in coaches to help get a team together.
There are still a lot of uncertainties surrounding the players from the 2023 roster as the hazing investigation is still ongoing. As of Sunday, 10 players are in the transfer portal.
The details of Hooten's contract were also released Sunday. He will be making $425,000 in his first year, $450,000 from 2024-2026 and $475,000 from 2026-2028.
Chancellor Dan Avizu said the over $100,000 increase from Heiar to Hooten is largely down to the move to C-USA and wanting to be more competitive with other C-USA wages.
The assistant coach salary has also increased from $250,000 last year to $300,000 this year.