Gary Blair no doubt had an important impact on Vic Schaefer. They coached for five years together and won a National Championship.
But he is not the most impactful Blair in Vic’s life.
In 2014, a young three-star guard would change Vic Schaefer’s program and coaching style forever. Blair Schaefer, his daughter, was coming to play for her dad. Vic Schaefer, at the time, was two years into his first major head coaching gig.
Blair and Vic had always been close, especially when it came to basketball. Now, they were closer than ever. The challenge was tough though, and it begged the question: How do you separate coaching and parenting?
It was this question that helped shape Vic into the coach he is today.
At the beginning of Blair’s career, it was a big adjustment transitioning her game into the SEC. As a result, Vic made a tough decision: Blair would not see the floor that often for the Bulldogs; at least at first. Being a father and a coach became separate, but their bond remained the same. Vic was still dad on the court, but only by name. Even at home and at the dinner table, coach and player talk was only by third-person conversations.
“How did your coach do the other night?” Vic might ask, but it was nothing more than that.
It wasn’t until Blair’s sophomore year that it was ever more than that. Blair had gone home one night and told her mother that she wanted to transfer. They were sitting at the table for dinner, as they always did, and she told Vic. Vic’s response is what would decide not only what kind of coach he was going to be, but also what kind of father he was going to be.
Vic told Blair, “Well, that’s great. Have you talked to the coach?”
Vic Schaefer treated all his players equally. His daughter was no different. Vic goes on to talk about this in an interview with the Longhorn Network:
“It wasn’t fair to her. I was probably harder on her than anybody I have ever coached. But you know, the scrutiny and all the eyes are on you, and they are on her. I told her, “Hey, nobody wants to play you more than me, but I cannot play you at the expense of my team. Make me play you. She never whimpered. She never wavered. In one short period of time, she went from a sophomore, looking to transfer, to starting for us in the NCAA Tournament. She won most valuable player of our region.”
Under Vic Schaefer and her own hard work, Blair Schaefer went on to play more minutes than any player during her senior year. She averaged 10 points per game and was an all -defensive player in the Southeastern Conference.
It is in those four years with his daughter that Vic Schaefer not only helped him believe in himself in a coach, but that he credits much of his success to. It is with that same tough love that Vic has since coached all of his players. It’s was has made him so beloved as a coach, from a player’s and fan’s standpoint. Coach Schaefer never lost more than eight games in a season with his daughter on the team. Now, everything has come full circle. It’s likely that she will join his staff at Texas. Blair made her coaching debut last season with her dad at Mississippi State as a member of the Player Development staff. She seems to have quite the mentor:
I just don’t know where I get it from... pic.twitter.com/MTBhx4dGHo— Blair Schaefer (@Blair__Schaefer) February 29, 2020
Without Blair and his family overall, who knows were Vic would be. It is his family of his faith that pushes him every day. That is what makes him such the person and coach that he is, and a good reason why he has already put Texas in the National Championship conversation.