Vipers Elevate Blair to Head Coach

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EDINBURG – There’s good and then there’s great. The Vipers have tasted greatness twice, winning titles in 2010 and 2013.

The Vipers hope to get back to that championship greatness with new head coach Joseph Blair.

“Just to be a part of that now and be where I can call myself the captain of the ship, it’s an amazing opportunity for me I’m really looking forward to,” said Blair at Wednesday’s press conference. “Not only to get wins on the basketball court, but also be a big part of the community at the same time.”

For the last three years, Blair was Matt Brase’s right hand man.

But with Brase now a member of the Rockets’ staff, the franchise gave Blair his first shot to be a pro basketball coach.

“I played for over a decade,” said Blair. “I was very fortunate to play basketball for as long as I can remember, but playing and coaching are two different things. It’s a heck of a transition. It’s a big learning curve. Now to come full circle from a professional basketball player to a professional head coach, it’s an amazing situation for me.”

With the NBA G-League draft still 11 days away, the Vipers’ roster is far from finished.

One player that could be back is Isaiah Hartenstein, who was signed by the Rockets this summer. Blair says Hartenstein could be one of the Vipers’ success stories.

“That’s the feedback I got not only from the coaching staff, but Chris Paul, James Harden are saying the same thing. Like this guy already knows our stuff. That’s what we want to continue to do as we have these players come in.”

The Vipers’ first home game inside Bert Ogden Arena is November 3rd. Coach Blair knows with a big new arena, come big expectations.

“You just want to justify the Vipers logos all over the place here,” said Blair. “So we want to bring a lot of wins to this organization this year. A lot of home wins in particular. The pressure is there, but if we can continue to do build the culture that I’m trying to create here, I feel confident the wins will take care of themselves.”

Blair becomes the team’s seventh head coach in franchise history.


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