LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – Last March, Greg Heiar was named New Mexico State men’s basketball’s 27th head coach in program history. Eleven months later, NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu announced the termination of Heiar after the university learned of hazing allegations within the men’s basketball program.
The program has taken a major turn in the wrong direction. Last March, the program was making national headlines after a Chris Jans’ led team, a completely different looking one from this year’s, upset No. 5 UConn in the opening round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Fast forward to Feb. 2023, a program which was led by Heiar and one that returned only three players from the 2021-22 squad, has seen their season come to abrupt end due to hazing allegations and their head coach fired in less than a year.
KTSM 9 News caught up with some NMSU basketball fans for their thoughts on Heiar’s firing and the state of the program.
“I think it is unfortunate. A true leader really takes responsibility for whoever it is that they are looking over. A team is a team and a leader, if they can’t lead, they have to go,” Ruth Olivas, a NMSU basketball fan, said.
“I mean you come into a program where they’ve had legendary coaches and when something like this happens within your first year it is kind of a tough year,” John Telford, a NMSU basketball fan, said.
NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu said in a statement on Sunday that “it’s time for this program to reset.” KTSM 9 News spoke with Jim Paul, former New Mexico State athletic director in the late 1990s, and asked where the program needs to go from here in terms of keeping the fan’s support.
“We are now owning up to it and we are making changes. We are going to bring in the right kinf of coach, we are going to bring in the right kind of players, and we want you to help us,” Paul said. “You are going to have to continue to support us and be part of the building process.”
New Mexico State will hold a press conference on Wednesday morning. The press conference is set to begin at 10:00 a.m. MT.