LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – New Mexico State introduced new men’s basketball coach Jason Hooten in a press conference on Sunday at the Pan American Center.

Hooten made the move to NMSU from Sam Houston, after 13 years as the Bearkats’ head coach from 2010-2023. He won over 60% of his games while he was at Sam Houston.

Along with a winning pedigree, Hooten hopes to bring in his experience of running a well-managed program as New Mexico State is rebuilding its men’s basketball program after a pair of scandals during the 2022-23 season left a huge stain on its reputation.

“My job and what I’ve been hired to do, is to come in here and re-establish a culture that this place has always had and always expected,” Hooten said. “I am looking forward to that challenge. It will be a challenge. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, but I would have not signed up for this if I did not feel like, number one, it was something I could do, or number two, it was something that I am excited to do.”

“His character and integrity are impeccable. If you talk to anybody in the country, that is what they talk about,” NM State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia said. “Obviously, him being up for the Skip Prosser Man of the Year Award, which is based on integrity, I think for us right now he is the entire package.”

The opportunity to coach at one of the top Mid-major programs in the country is one Hooten was waiting for.

“This is a culture time. A new culture needs to be built and a new start, new beginning,” Hooten said. “But also, more than anything, when you hear of New Mexico State, you think of a great, historic, traditional basketball program where the people really care.”

Looking at Hooten’s contract, he will receive $425,000 the first year as New Mexico State’s men’s basketball head coach. Hooten will receive $450,00 in the next two years and then receive $475,000 in the two years after that.

Here are some of the incentives listed on Hooten’s contract with New Mexico State:

  • $10,000 upon winning the Conference USA regular season championship (solo or shared)
  • $10,000 upon qualifying and appearing in the post season NCAA Tournament
  • $5,000 for being named C-USA Coach of the Year (solo or shared)
  • $2,500 for each regular season win against University of New Mexico
  • $2,500 for each regular season win against a Power 5 university
  • $10,000 upon making the “Round of 32” of the NCAA Tournament
  • $25,000 upon making the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament
  • $30,000 upon making the “Elite Eight” of the NCAA Tournament
  • $35,000 upon making the “Final Four” of the NCAA Tournament
  • $50,000 upon winning the National Championship of the NCAA Tournament

Hooten will now start preparing to assemble his team for the 2023-24 season. On Sunday, Hooten said he has not had a chance to wrap his mind around players returning or not returning, adding that it will be a long process.