Tarleton State extends Football HC Whitten, Men’s Basketball HC Gillispie


STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton State University has agreed to contract extensions with head football coach Todd Whitten and head men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie.

“The Texan Football and Men’s Basketball programs have established themselves as two of the best teams the UAC and WAC have to offer, and I have full confidence that Coach Whitten and Coach Gillispie will continue taking these programs to unprecedented heights,” incoming Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Steve Uryasz said. “These are two truly great coaches and these extensions will allow them to build on their success for years to come.”

Pending board approval, Gillispie’s extension runs through 2026, and Whitten’s extension runs through 2027.

“We have enjoyed incredible success in our football and men’s basketball programs this year and these two coaches have done a phenomenal job leading their teams through our reclassification period,” said Tarleton State President Dr. James Hurley. “As we prepare for NCAA Division I championship eligibility, I’m excited for the future of Texan athletics.”

Whitten is the reigning United Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, marking his seventh such award all-time, his sixth coming straight from the conference itself. It’s his second time being named the conference Coach of the Year over the past five seasons. In 2023, his Texans posted one of the most successful seasons by a reclassifying program, taking the Texans to second place in the inaugural United Athletic Conference season, going 8-3 overall, 4-2 in conference play.

Whitten is the winningest coach in Tarleton Football history, owning a 104-53 (.662) all-time record for the Purple and White across 14 seasons, and a 129-81 (.614) spot all-time as an NCAA head coach (19 seasons). His eight wins this past year marked the most by the Texans at the NCAA Division I level. Since 2018, the Texans have the highest winning percentage among all Texas D1 and D2 programs (.727, 48-18). They also have the longest active streak of winning seasons in the state at six.

“There is truly no better place to coach than at Tarleton State, and I appreciate the Texas A&M Board of Regents, Dr. Hurley, Coach (Lonn) Reisman and Steve Uryasz for the opportunity to win more games here,” Whitten said. “Stephenville is a special place and my family has loved every minute of living here for nearly 15 years. I’m happy to say, we’re not leaving anytime soon.”

Since Gillispie took over the men’s basketball program at the beginning of the NCAA Division I reclassification, the Texans have gone 63-51, 38-28 in Western Athletic Conference play. Last year, Gillispie guided the Texans to a bid in the College Basketball Invitational after winning their first WAC Tournament game in their first opportunity to play in the postseason. The Texans have been dominant at home over the past four seasons, combining for a 38-12 (.760) record, including a 22-4 (.846) run at Wisdom Gym the past two years.

Gillispie’s teams have logged 63 wins over the past four years even with a tough schedule every season. They’ve played five nationally ranked teams during the span, including two eventual No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. They won their first game against a Power Five conference team in their Paradise Jam title game run last season over Boston College. This season, the Texans own a 22-7 overall mark, 15-3 in WAC play. This week marks the final two regular season games before Tarleton will play in the WAC Tournament next week. If the Texans go 2-0 this week, they’ll earn at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference regular season championship.

“I’m thankful and grateful of being offered this extension,” said Gillispie. “When we came here our goal was to get Tarleton State University to the NCAA Tournament and now we will have that opportunity. The support of the Texas A&M system, Dr. Hurley, and coach Reisman has been tremendous throughout our time here and we are eagerly looking forward to working with our new VP for athletics, Steve Uryasz.

“Our reclassification has been challenging but has been as successful as anyone who has ever done it as far as wins and losses go,” Gillispie continued. “You can only achieve something like that by having great players, a great administration, and great fan support. Many great days are ahead for Texan Basketball.

“I’m also extremely appreciative of the caring support, patience and prayers that Dr. Hurley, coach Reisman, our fans, friends, the staff, and especially the players have shown during my absence to address my medical situation which has now been resolved,” Gillispie added. “I have no restrictions but will remain in an advisory role for the rest of the season as our team is having a historic season. It’s been a joy to watch coach Joseph Jones and the staff lead the great young men to unprecedented heights and provide infinite excitement. I have never seen anyone do a better job. It’s not over yet though as ‘March Madness’ is in full swing. Go Texans.”

Texan Men’s Basketball will host Utah Valley on Thursday at 7 p.m., followed by a Saturday meeting with Seattle U at Wisdom Gym at 4 p.m. Texan Football will begin spring football shortly and will host its spring game on April 20 at 2 p.m.

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