MIDLAND, Texas (KMID/KPEJ) – Tuesday Midland College introduced Tra Arnold as its new head men’s basketball coach. Arnold takes over the program that Pat Rafferty led for five years.

Arnold, who has 17 years of coaching experience, comes to Midland from the Tarleton State University coaching staff.

“We’re excited to have coach here with us in all of our due diligence in the hiring process,” Midland College sports information director Forrest Allen said. “This is the guy that seemed best fit for what we wanted to do to lead us back to our glory days.”

Arnold is familiar with West Texas and with the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. He spent six illustrious years as the head coach at Odessa College, playing many games in Midland’s Chaparral Center.

“I’m undefeated in that gym so I feel good about this,” Arnold said, receiving laughter from the crowd.

He racked up a record of 159-32 with the Wranglers, leading them to two regional championships and three consecutive NJCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournaments. In his final season at Odessa in 2018, Arnold was named conference coach of the year.

“I think it’s a unique experience that I’ve been in this region before. Had some great moments at Odessa and I think knowing the coaches and knowing the lay of the land recruiting-wise are a plus for here,” Arnold said.

Arnold inherits a program that has endured many struggles in recent years. Under Rafferty, the Chaps went 12-17 last season, and only won 18 conference games in the past five years.

“We’re excited about building Midland College basketball into a continued power in our region and nationally,” Arnold said. “I believe if you have a group of guys that are like that and believe in the person leading the charge and I believe in them, you can accomplish special things.”

Arnold began his coaching career at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas in 2005. He served four years as an assistant coach before taking over as head coach from 2009-2012. He helped Blinn to its winningest season in program history.

He had stints at NCAA Division I programs Iona College in New York and Samford University in Alabama from 2018-2021.

In college, Arnold played at the College of Southern Idaho from 2000-2002. At the time, the team was the top-ranked program in NJCAA Division I. He ended his collegiate career playing for Biola University, where he earned a degree in kinesiology.