Texas A&M Coaching Search: Aggies Hire Billy Kennedy

Ezra AmacherContributor IIIMay 15, 2011

Texas A&M has hired Murray State coach Billy Kennedy, according to an article on espn.com. Kennedy will replace Mark Turgeon who took the Maryland head coaching job, following Gary Williams' retirement.

Kennedy was not the first choice for Texas A&M, as athletic director Bill Byrne flew to Fargo, ND on Saturday to meet with Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson. Last season, Jacobson's Panthers upset Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, making him a hot coaching target.

Jacobson decided to stay at his current job, which left Kennedy as the most likely candidate to accept the Texas A&M job.

In five years at Murray State, Kennedy accumulated a 107-53 record. In the 2009-2010 season, the Racers upset four seed Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before losing to Butler.

This previous season, Murray State went 23-8 but were unable to win their conference tournament, sending them to the NIT Tournament where they lost in the first round.

Before being the head coach at Murray State, Kennedy spent time as a head or assistant coach at 10 different universities, including being an assistant at Texas A&M in the early 1990s.

The Aggies are reportedly offering Kennedy $1.3 million to $1.5 million, quite a significant pay raise from the $225,000 he was guaranteed at Murray State.

Kennedy will be faced with the tough task of keeping the Aggies' two current signees committed to Texas A&M. There is a possibility that both of them will follow Turgeon to Maryland or go else where.

Texas A&M was considered to be a preseason top 25 team next year and it will be interesting to see if any of there current players transfer.

The coaching carousel was rocked a week and a half ago when Gary Williams' announced his retirement out of the blue and Maryland was forced to hire a replacement. This hiring is one less job that is open but, of course, also opens the Murray State job.