North Texas assistant basketball coach Nelson Haggerty died in a single-car crash Friday morning, the school said. He was 47 years old. Haggerty joined North Texas in 2019 after spending eight seasons as the head coach of Midwestern State in Texas.
"Our hearts hurt for Nelson's family, our men's basketball family, the UNT community and everyone Nelson positively impacted during his life and career," University of North Texas Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker said in a statement. "Nelson had many special gifts and talents. He was full of positive energy and encouragement, and he will be missed dearly. Please keep the Haggerty family and our UNT basketball family in your thoughts and prayers." People on social media also paid tribute to Haggerty.
"The older you get, the more you value the people who impact you due to the way they treat you," one person wrote on Twitter. "Hagg was special in the way he genuinely cared. This is such a sad day. Pray for his family and his friends. I’m grateful for our time together."
"This is so sad," another person wrote. "Worked opposite of him during his Midwestern stint and know what fine character he possessed. Solace and Peace to his families. Our prayers are offered for you all." During his time at Midwestern State, Haggerty led the team to five NCAA Division II Tournaments - including three No. 1 seeds - along with an appearance to the Elite Eight and the Sweet 16 twice. He was named NABC Regional Coach of the Year in 2013.
"With heavy hearts, the MSU Texas Athletics family grieves the passing of one of our own," Midwestern State Athletics Director Kyle Williams said. "Nelson's positive influence led to great success for our basketball program which reflected on our school and community. He made a great impact not only coaching but as a true mentor to his student-athletes. His teams added to the great legacy of winning basketball at Midwestern State."
Haggerty played college basketball at Baylor from 1991-95. In his career, Haggerty averaged 5.8 points, 2.9 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. And in his senior season, Haggerty proved to be one of the top players in the game, posting 10.1 assists to go along with his 7.3 points per game while shooting 36.2% from the field.