Mississippi State

Lazo promoted to Bulldogs women’s associate head coach

Credit: Mississippi State Athletics

Mississippi State women’s basketball head coach Sam Purcell announced on Friday, April 12 the promotion of Gabe Lazo to associate head coach.

Lazo, who was Purcell’s initial hire at Mississippi State, enters his third season with the program in 2024-25 and was elevated from an assistant coach role over the last two seasons.

“Gabe Lazo has deservedly earned the reputation as one of the top assistants in the nation and is an invaluable piece of our program,” said Purcell. “His work ethic is unmatched, and he possesses an elite talent as a relentless recruiter, motivator, mentor and player developer. From his ability to identify talent and build relationships to his expertise in teaching our defensive system, his contributions are second to none. He is undoubtedly a future leader of a program.”

A rising star in the profession, Lazo aids in the development of the guards and serves as the program’s defensive coordinator, where he is tasked with opponent scouting, defensive strategies and in-game play calling and adjustments. Lazo helped guide the program to consecutive 20-plus win campaigns – one of five SEC programs since 2000 to reach the win mark in consecutive seasons to start a head coach’s tenure – and a pair of postseason berths in his first two seasons in Starkville.

Lazo assisted Mississippi State back to the 2023 NCAA Tournament after a three-year hiatus where it became the first team in NCAA Women’s Basketball history to advance to the Second Round after starting in the First Four before advancing the Quarterfinals of the inaugural 2024 Women’s Basketball Invitation Tournament.

Lazo was crucial in the development of 2024 Second Team All-SEC selection Jerkaila Jordan and Lauren Park-Lane, who set the program’s single-season assist record in her lone year in Starkville.

Known for his fervent recruiting work, Lazo played a critical role in signing the nation’s third-ranked transfer class per 247Sports ahead of last season and has helped the program secure highly regarded high-school classes over the last two cycles. He played a large part in helping Mississippi State sign the 16th-ranked recruiting class in 2022-23, which was the second-best class in program history.

“I’m incredibly thankful and humble for the opportunity to advance my career at Mississippi State,” added Lazo. “I appreciate the trust that our student-athletes, administration and Coach Purcell has placed in me. We have achieved a lot of these last two seasons, and there is a clear vision for this program that I can’t wait to help accomplish. I promise that we will continue to work tirelessly to build on the rich tradition of this program and I couldn’t be more excited about the future here.”

Lazo, a native of Miami, Fla., joined the staff after spending three seasons with Coach Caroline McCombs at George Washington University and Stony Brook University. Prior to his time in New York, Lazo was an assistant coach at Florida International University for two seasons. 

Before entering the collegiate ranks, Lazo was the head varsity girls coach at John A. Ferguson High School in Miami. He also coached for the Miami Suns of the Nike Girls Elite Youth Basketball League during the summer circuit.

Lazo played at FIU from 2004-06 and Barry University in 2006-08, earning his bachelor’s degree in Education from Barry University. He played professionally with the Cariduros de Fajardo BSN in Puerto Rico.

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