CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M-Kingsville men's basketball head coach Johnny Estelle is stepping down to take the role of assistant coach at the University of North Texas, a Division I program. He leaves TAMUK after nine seasons leading the program to a record of (137-112).
"Words cannot express my extreme gratitude and unconditional love for Javelina Nation," said Estelle. "I can not repay you for what you have given to me, my family, and all of our student-athletes...It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to serve as your Javelina head men's basketball coach...No matter where God takes me in life, I will always embody the Javelina spirit and pride in all I do... Once a Javelina, always a Javelina!"
The Javelinas closed out the 2022-23 season with an impressive (21-12, 14-8) record to win the Lone Star Conference East Division. TAMUK qualified for the NCAA South Central Regional for the fourth time in Estelle's tenure and eighth time in program history.
"I want to thank Coach Estelle for all he has done for this program, Javelina Athletics, and Texas A&M University-Kingsville," said TAMUK Athletic Director Steve Roach. "Johnny is a true Javelina who has led our men's basketball program with character, respect, and excellence, and that has shown on and off the court with his teams and as a person, while also being a tremendous ambassador for the athletics department and the university as a whole. We wish him nothing, but the best in the future."
During his TAMUK tenure, Estelle became the second-winningest coach in program history behind only Pete Peterson (241-226). Estelle's winning percentage of .550 is also the second-highest in Javelina men's basketball history.
The Hogs qualified for the NCAA tournament a total of four times under coach Estelle (2017, 2020, 2022, 2023) winning two LSC Division titles (2021, 2023) while also becoming the first coach to get the Javelinas to the NCAA second round, while also leading TAMUK to the LSC Championship game in 2022 where they finished runner-up.
The Texas A&M-Kingsville was a transfer, and during his senior season in 1995-96 Estelle lead the Javelinas to a school-record 23 wins, a Lone Star Conference Tournament Championship, and a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
He earned All-Lone Star Conference Second-Team honors after averaging 16.0 points per game and swiping a school-record 88 steals. Later that season, he drained a school-record nine 3-pointers in the LSC Tournament championship against Central Oklahoma and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. In two seasons, Estelle finished with 742 points, 214 rebounds, 211 assists and 138 steals.