Basketball Bliss at Baylor

March 26, 1999

Bliss, 55, has spent the last 11 seasons at the University of New Mexico, guiding the Lobos to a 246-108 record and seven NCAA tournament appearances during that tenure. In the last four seasons, his teams have won at least one game in the tournament, a feat accomplished by only six other schools.

In his 24-year head coaching career, his record stands at 465-271 (.632), and he has guided his teams to 16 postseason trips, including 11 into the NCAA tournament.

Perhaps his most successful work has been at New Mexico. The Lobos had had eight 20-win seasons prior to his arrival in 1988, and they have surpassed that mark 10 times in his 11 seasons there. They have averaged nearly 25 wins over the last five seasons. His 1992-93 team won its first Western Athletic Conference tournament championship, and, the following season, won its first regular-season crown in 16 years.

His first head coaching job was at the University of Oklahoma from 1975-80. He compiled a 77-62 mark and was recognized as Big Eight Conference coach of the year. Bliss moved on to Southern Methodist University in 1980 and compiled a 142-101 mark in eight seasons, going 110-49 in his last five years there. He led the Mustangs to a Southwest Conference title in 1988 and four postseason tournament appearances.

Bliss was born Sept. 20, 1943, in Binghampton, N.Y. He is a 1965 graduate of Cornell University and earned a master's degree there in 1967. He was an all-conference guard as a senior, and he is a member of the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame.

Bliss began his coaching career under Bob Knight at Army in 1967, and helped mentor two National Invitation Tournament teams which included Mike Krzyzewski. He returned to Cornell in 1969 as an assistant under Jerry Lace for two seasons. In the fall of 1971, he was reunited with Knight at Indiana, where he remained for four seasons.

Bliss and his wife, Claudia, have three children: Robert, Berkeley and Jeffrey.

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