Photo by Matt Sachs, TexAgs
Texas A&M Basketball

Texas A&M fires Billy Kennedy after eight seasons

March 15, 2019
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Billy Kennedy was officially fired as Texas A&M basketball coach on Friday after the Aggies’ 14-18 season ended Thursday night with an 80-54 loss to Mississippi State.

“Billy’s tenure included some great memories and remarkable achievements,” Texas A&M Director of Athletics Scott Woodward said in a release. “He represented our program and Texas A&M University with distinction. Without question, Billy Kennedy is a first-class person. On behalf of Aggies everywhere, my thanks to Billy and his family for his service to Texas A&M. I wish him the very best.” 

Many expect A&M to seek a high-profile coach to replace Kennedy, who has two years remaining on a contract paying him $2.5 million annually. Virginia Tech’s Buzz Williams, a native Texan and former A&M assistant coach under Billy Gillispie, is rumored to be a strong candidate. Virginia Tech is 23-11 and finished this regular season fifth in the powerful Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kennedy's ouster ends an erratic eight-year stint that produced some of the A&M program’s greatest moments but too often was mired in mediocrity.

Kennedy, who was 151-116 at A&M, led the Aggies to a share of the Southeastern Conference championship in 2016 — A&M’s only conference basketball championship in 30 years.

Under Kennedy, the Aggies also reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2018. No other A&M coach has taken a team further and no previous coach reached the Sweet Sixteen more than once.

Matt Sachs, TexAgs
In his eight seasons at Texs A&M, Kennedy took the Aggies to the Sweet Sixteen twice.

However, that success was offset by frustrating inconsistency caused largely by subpar point guard play that led to high turnover counts and often extended scoring droughts.

In 2011 Kennedy, who had previously coached Southeastern Louisiana and Murray State to the NCAA Tournament, took over an A&M program which had made six consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances under predecessors Billy Gillispie and Mark Turgeon.

However, soon after Kennedy was named A&M’s coach he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. That first season under Kennedy the Aggies finished 14-18. They were 18-15 the next season followed by 18-16 in 2014. 

The Aggies appeared on the verge of a breakthrough in 2015. They were 20-8 and appeared to be on their way to the NCAA Tournament. However, leading scorer Danuel House sprained an ankle in a 66-62 loss to Florida. He then sat out a 61-60 loss to Alabama and a 66-59 loss to Auburn in the SEC Tournament.

The Aggies ended up in the NIT and were eliminated in the second round by Louisiana Tech.

The next year A&M shared the SEC championship with Kentucky and went on to post a school record 28 victories. The final victory that season was highlighted by the most remarkable rally in NCAA basketball history.

The Aggies trailed Northern Iowa 69-57 with 35 seconds remaining in regulation. Miraculously, they rallied to a 71-71 tie and then posted a 92-88 victory in double overtime.

The next week A&M fell to Oklahoma 77-63.

The Aggies slumped to a 16-15 finish in 2017 but rebounded in 2018 to a 22-13 record. They blew out North Carolina 86-65 in Charlotte, N.C. to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in three seasons. Again, they were overwhelmed in the next round, falling to Michigan 99-72.

Kennedy faced a rebuilding year this season. Star forward Robert Williams and All-SEC center Tyler Davis opted to enter the NBA draft. So did guard D.J. Hogg.

Complicating matters, Gilder faced a health issue which prevented him from playing this season. Wendell Mitchell, a junior college transfer, was slowed by injury early in the season.

Consequently, the Aggies got off to a 1-4 start, which included a home loss to Cal-Irvine. They seemed to bounce back with a five-game winning streak, but then suffered an embarrassing 88-73 loss to Texas Southern at Reed Arena.

That started a dismal stretch in which the Aggies managed just two wins in 11 games.

They rebounded to win four of their next five, but then guard T.J. Starks suffered a dislocated shoulder in a 66-55 defeat at LSU and was lost for the season.

The Aggies lost four of their last five, including their last three. Kennedy’s fate as A&M’s coach may have been sealed in a 92-81 regular season-closing loss to Mississippi State in which only about 2,500 fans showed up at Reed Arena.

“My family and I are grateful for the chance we’ve had to be Aggies,” Kennedy added in the A&M release. “We have forever been impacted by the amazing Aggie family we have been allowed to embrace.  The memories we have made are only possible because of the players, coaches, staff and administration that have been on this journey with us. I am grateful that God called me to Aggieland and blessed me with the opportunity to enjoy great moments in Aggie history while here. This is a special place and it has been a blessing to represent this university.”

Discussion from...

Texas A&M fires Billy Kennedy after eight seasons

DukeMu
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We'll remember 2016 and 2018.

Best of luck!
AggieTFA06
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AG
Step 1 in our rebuilding is now complete.
To 1,000,000 touchdowns ...and beyond
Good Aggie Hunting
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AG
Thank you for being our head coach of the last 8 years Billy Kennedy! I wish him and his family the very best! Gig 'em!
agsfan
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[This is the last post that we are going to edit without a ban. There is the warning for anyone that posts on this thread. -Staff]
monarch
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S
Nice enough guy, always repped TAMU well in public. On the other hand, it was time for a change.
...play for the name on the front of your jersey...
Commander Gorn
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AG
Good luck coach!
silvertapsag84
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At the end of the day it's a results oriented business like many of us... I have the utmost respect for BK and he lived by our 6 core values... wish him and his family the best of luck!
Electric
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AG
Fired up about Aggie b-ball again!
AggieVapor
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Let's go get Jay Wright from Villanova!
Best of luck to you and your family coach Kennedy!
MB19
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AG
Barone had been successful at Creighton (I believe) when we hired him. One of his former players once told me that Barone was a brilliant X's & O's guy but his people skills were severely lacking (I'm paraphrasing his exact words).
DukeMu
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MB19 said:

Barone had been successful at Creighton (I believe) when we hired him. One of his former players once told me that Barone was a brilliant X's & O's guy but his people skills were severely lacking (I'm paraphrasing his exact words).
I heard the same thing. Barone was a PG at Duke under Vic Bubas (3 Final Fours in the 60s), and then was an AC with Duke, replacing Hubie Brown or Chuck Daly.
DrHeadShrink
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AG
Thank you Coach and best of luck to you and your family in all things for all time!
brandontyler
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AG
This is a great man, represented our University well, and more importantly developed character in men. Good Bless you coach K. Looking forward to a great hire AD.
HokieBro
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So you think you're going to sign Buzz Williams eh? Buzz is a personality unlike any other in the entire country. The guy considers metrics and things that you all have no clue about. Money is not one of them. He will look at the fact that Billy Kennedy made two sweet 16 one just last year and that will be a huge red flag. With the impending retirement of Coach K and Roy Williams plus Boeheim Buzz will become one of the big dogs in the best basketball conference in the country very soon. He basically wrote his own contract acting as his own agent and the terms are something that its doubtful any other AD would agree to... Seriously doubt he leaves VT
StrykerAg
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AG
You sound like FSU fans before we took Jimbo Fisher
CrottyKid
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AG
Ok.
Gig 'em.
greg.w.h
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AG
HokieBro said:

So you think you're going to sign Buzz Williams eh? Buzz is a personality unlike any other in the entire country. The guy considers metrics and things that you all have no clue about. Money is not one of them. He will look at the fact that Billy Kennedy made two sweet 16 one just last year and that will be a huge red flag. With the impending retirement of Coach K and Roy Williams plus Boeheim Buzz will become one of the big dogs in the best basketball conference in the country very soon. He basically wrote his own contract acting as his own agent and the terms are something that its doubtful any other AD would agree to... Seriously doubt he leaves VT


You trying to convince us or your HokieBro Buzz?

I think your reasoning doesn't address why his name came up. And if he's that good of a coach why wouldn't Duke or UNC outbid you guys?

I suspect VT will shortly offer $5m per year in an attempt to at least drive up the price. And could retain if they act now. You might be right about that but maybe not about money influencing Buzz.
HokieBro
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Consider that Buzz left an established high-level program in Marquette for a total train wreck at Virginia Tech and basically took the exact same salary... money is just not going to be the huge issue you all think it is
agfan1030
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Quote:

Admon Gilder @hph_lilmon 6h6 hours ago


Thank you Coach Kenndey for an amazing journey. Your motivation & encouragement has pushed me to heights I could never have dreamt of without you. I am where I am today because of you. Thank you for helping me to be excellent in this game & better a man in all aspects of my life.

Quote:

DJ HOGG Verified account @Dj_hogg1 4h4 hours ago


Nothing but respect for this man!! Was always bigger than basketball with him, great coach and an even better mentor



Quote:

Gary Blair @CoachGaryBlair Mar 15
I want to thank @Coach_Kennedy for all that he has done for Texas A&M and as well as all Billy has done for me personally. I have never coached with a finer Christian gentleman than Billy Kennedy.


https://www.amestrib.com/sports/20190315/iowa-state-mens-basketball-notebook---steve-prohm-calls-longtime-boss-billy-kennedys-ouster-from-texas-am-terrible-and-bush-league

Quote:

Tj Starks @teedino_ 19m19 minutes ago


I don't care what people say about ya Coach I'm riding wit ya til the end rather you coaching or not. I appreciate you and your dedication to the team! You will be missed and i wish you luck down the road!! Love



Quote:

Savion Flagg @__hvmble 24h24 hours ago


Thank you! Thank you for a chance! Thank you for your guidance! Thank you for your honesty! Thank you for teaching me FAITH! THANK YOU COACH KENNEDY #GodsPlan



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