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Kennedy Leaves Murray State To Coach Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION (AP) - Billy Kennedy returned to Texas A&M on Sunday, leaving Murray State to replace Mark Turgeon as the Aggies' basketball coach.

"I think he is the perfect fit for Texas A&M," athletic director Bill Byrne said in a statement. "In talking to several people who I respect in college basketball, they mentioned Billy as an outstanding basketball coach, but an even better person."

Turgeon left last week to coach Maryland.

The 47-year-old Kennedy, a former assistant at A&M, will be introduced on the campus Monday.

Kennedy was the Ohio Valley Conference coach of the year twice in his five seasons with the Racers.

His best season at Murray State came in 2009-10 when the team went a school-record 31-5, won the Ohio Valley regular-season and tournament titles and beat Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Racers also won the regular-season championship last season.

He takes over a Texas A&M team that has made an impressive turnaround in the last few years, making six straight NCAA tournament appearances after reaching the event just six times in history before the current run. The Aggies have posted seven consecutive 20-win seasons and have won 24 games in each of the last three years.

"I have watched with interest the recent success and the NCAA tournament appearances the past six years," Kennedy said in a statement. "I look forward to meeting the team and working toward a seventh NCAA bid as well as even deeper tournament runs."

Texas A&M's defense has been a hallmark of its recent success and Byrne believes Kennedy can build on that strength.

"His players play hard for him and they play an aggressive style of defense," Byrne said. "He has proven he can recruit nationwide, but I look for him to make more inroads here in the state of Texas."

Kennedy also has spent time at Wyoming, Tulane, Creighton, California, New Orleans, Southeastern Louisiana, Miami, Northwestern State and Centenary.

The hiring is pending approval by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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