New Mexico hires NMSU's Paul Weir as new head coach

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) New Mexico looked to its own backyard for a new men's basketball coach by hiring NMSU head coach Paul Weir to lead the Lobos.

Weir, who set a school record with 28 wins last season in his first year as the Aggies' head coach, replaces Craig Neal. Neal was dismissed late last month after four years at the helm and another six years as associate head coach under Steve Alford.

''In conducting this search, his was a name that was on our radar from the beginning,'' New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs said in a statement Tuesday announcing Weir's hiring. ''I was able to see many of their games this season, and Paul is a bright young mind in the game. His teams play with tremendous passion and energy.''

Krebs said he believes the qualities displayed by Weir's teams will translate to the Lobos program and resonate with fans.

Weir spent nine seasons as an assistant coach under Marvin Menzies at New Mexico State before Menzies left for UNLV.

As a rookie head coach, Weir led the Aggies to a Western Athletic Conference tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they eventually lost to No. 3 seed Baylor after holding a halftime lead. New Mexico State split a pair of games with the Lobos last season before reeling off a 20-game winning streak.

Krebs, a member of the NCAA selection committee, announced Neal's dismissal on the eve of the Final Four and said interest in the position was extremely high. Among Krebs' stated criteria for a new hire was head coaching experience.

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