LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The plot has thickened in New Mexico State’s search for a new men’s basketball coach.

Sam Houston head coach Jason Hooten traveled to Las Cruces to take a look at NMSU with members of his family this week and has been considered the favorite for the job for much of the last week, sources told KTSM.

However, Hooten left the Borderland on Thursday to return to Huntsville, without a finalized deal with NMSU. Upon return to the Piney Woods, Bearkats officials reportedly made their own offer in an attempt to keep their head coach of 13 seasons.

The Twitter account Sports of SHSU reported that Sam Houston had made a “very competitive” offer to Hooten intent on enticing him to stay at SHSU. The offer included increases in pay for both Hooten and his assistants, according to the report.

Sources confirmed to KTSM that Sam Houston had given Hooten a counter-offer, but KTSM was not able to confirm the extent of it. Sources told KTSM earlier this week that NMSU would like to pay whoever is its next men’s basketball coach $400,000 per season for five years.

Hooten appears to be mulling over the options in front of him at this point. While NMSU has a lot to offer from a basketball and monetary standpoint, he has been at Sam Houston since 2004 and has deep family ties to the area.

Long-considered to be a family man, Hooten is taking more into account than just basketball in order to make the decision. For now, fans of NMSU and Sam Houston wait to see what Hooten’s choice will be.