Knoxville Catholic names new boys basketball head coach

Knoxville Catholic High School on May 30 announced Gabriel Blair as the next head boys basketball coach of the Fighting Irish.

Mr. Blair hails from Gastonia, N.C., and is a coach, professional trainer, and basketball clinician. Since 2014, he has owned Relentless Sports Club and since 2015 has served as director of player development for the AAU Select Tour.

He most recently was the head coach at Gaston Christian School, where he accumulated the most wins in school history (23-10) as well as regular-season conference championships and made an appearance in the semifinals of the state tournament.

His NBA experience includes stints with players on the Miami Heat in 2017-19 as player development coach and player manager and in the same role for players on the Portland Trailblazers in 2020-21.

Mr. Blair began his college playing career at East Carolina University (2006-08) under coach Ricky Stokes, then Mac McCarthy, and finished his collegiate career at Wichita State University (2008-11) under coach Gregg Marshall, where they were NIT champions in 2011. He received a bachelor’s degree in general studies at Wichita State.

Mr. Blair went on to play professionally overseas for five years in Israel, Argentina, and Uruguay.

“We are thrilled to welcome a high-caliber coach in Gabe Blair as the next head coach of men’s basketball at Knoxville Catholic,” said KCHS athletic director Jason Surlas.

“He has extensive experience as a player, trainer, and coach and understands what it takes to get players to the next level. More importantly, he will positively influence our student-athletes to create a winning culture to continue the tradition of excellence for Catholic basketball.”

Mr. Blair said, “I am excited to join the Fighting Irish family and grateful for the opportunity. I am dedicated to my craft and take great pride in making young men better, both on and off the court.”

He succeeds Luke Smith at the helm of the Irish.

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