Gene Iba, a member of a prominent basketball family...

WACO, Texas -- Gene Iba, a member of a prominent basketball family who led tiny Houston Baptist University to three straight 20-win seasons, was named Wednesday as head coach of Baylor University's troubled basketball program.

Iba, the nephew of longtime Oklahoma State and U.S. Olympic coach Hank Iba, signed a four-year contract, the terms of which were not disclosed. He succeeds Jim Haller, who resigned Feb. 22 after disclosing that he had given a disgruntled player a $172.50 university check to be used for a car payment.


During an afternoon news conference, Iba said he was 'very, very excited about having an opportunity to coach in the Southwest Conference, but I'm even more excited about having an opportunity to coach at Baylor University.'

'I have what we think is a good nucleus of returning players,' he said. 'If we go out in the next two, three or four weeks and do a good job of getting two or three more players, we should be in a situation next year where we can be competitive in the league and outside the league.'

Iba, 43, had a 128-96 record at Houston Baptist, his first head coaching job, including 20-victory seasons the last three years. Houston Baptist scheduled a 1 p.m. Thursday news conference to comment on his departure.


Iba and Texas-San Antonio coach Don Eddy were the apparent finalists for the job at Baylor, which finished eighth in the Southwest Conference this season and was defeated in the first round of the post-season tournament.

Iba said his first priorities were to meet with the team and to name his assistants, but he would not say if current assistants Larry Hargett and Joe Proctor would remain with the university.

Baylor is the nation's largest Southern Baptist-affiliated school and Houston Baptist one of the smaller church-related schools, but Houston Baptist's program has been more successful in recent years. Baylor's last winning season was in 1981-82.

Iba said his philosophy is to concentrate on tne transition game and defense, adding, 'If you get overbalanced in any one area, you're going to get beat.'

'I think if we can show the players that the way we want to play will help them win, they'll be happy with it,' he said.

Iba said he and Haller, who has said he will not seek another coaching job, have been friends for many years, adding, 'I don't expect that to change.

'I would expect nothing but help from Jim Haller. That's the kind of person he is,' Iba added.


Iba's uncle, father and cousin were all college coaches. Hank Iba, his uncle, was the third-winningest coach in college basketball history with a 655-316 record and coached the U.S. Olympic teams in 1964, 1968 and 1972.

His father, Clarence, coached 11 seasons at Tulsa, and his cousin, Moe Iba, has been at Nebraska for 14 years.

Gene Iba played at Tulsa in the early 1960s before becoming an assistant coach at Texas-El Paso in the early 1970s.

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