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UNT basketball director killed in single-vehicle crash in Wise County, officials say

Nelson Haggerty, 47, has served as the Director of Basketball Strategy and Operations since October 2019.
Credit: UNT

WISE COUNTY, Texas — Updated at 5:22 p.m. with reaction from the Baylor Athletic Department.

A University of North Texas basketball director died in a single-vehicle crash early Friday morning, the school announced.

Nelson Haggerty, 47, has served as the Director of Basketball Strategy and Operations since October 2019.

The crash happened about 2:30 a.m. on U.S. 380 near Decatur in Wise County, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers.

Haggerty was driving a 2009 Nissan Armada when the vehicle left the right side of the road and struck a culvert, according to a preliminary investigation from TDPS.

The Armada overturned and went through a fence before coming to a stop. He died at the scene.

Prior to joining UNT, Haggerty spent eight seasons as Midwestern State’s head coach where he was the third-winningest coach ever. His .640 winning percentage in Wichita Falls is the fourth-best in program history, UNT said.

"A 1995 graduate from Baylor, Haggerty is one of the Bears all-time greats. His 699 career assists are the most in Baylor history," UNT's website says. "An all-conference point guard, he led the nation in assists during his senior season with a 10.1 average. He holds the program record for most assists in a game with 19. Overall, eight of Baylor’s 10 best single-game assist performances are owned by Haggerty."

Baylor head coach Scott Drew said in a statement that they were devastated by Haggerty's death. 

"He was a great player known for his unselfishness and charismatic personality during his four years at Baylor, and he had gone on to become a tremendous leader of young men throughout his coaching career," Drew said, in part.

Haggerty left behind a wife and four children, according to Drew.

"Nelson was a standout basketball student-athlete during his time at Baylor, and continued to make his mark on the sport as a dedicated collegiate coach," said Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades. "Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, students and fellow coaches, and we pray for comfort in the days ahead.”

"Our hearts hurt for Nelson’s family, our men’s basketball family, the UNT community and everyone Nelson positively impacted during his life & career. Nelson had many special gifts & talents," UNT Athletic Director Wren Baker posted on Twitter. "He was full of positive energy & encouragement & he will be missed dearly. Please keep the Haggerty family and our UNT basketball family in your thoughts and prayers."

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