On the morning of March 26, it was announced that now former Texas basketball head coach Shaka Smart would be leaving the program to take the same job with the Marquette Golden Eagles. This move came for Smart just as his seat was starting to heat up greatly following the tough Round of 64 upset loss at the hands of the 14-seed Abilene Christian Wildcats from back on March 20.
Smart and the Longhorns were the three-seed in the NCAA Tournament and lost in the Round of 64 last weekend entering a game where they were nearly a double-digit favorite. Texas definitely had a decision to make entering a long offseason as to whether they should part ways with Smart or bring him back for a seventh year.
Texas basketball’s quest to replace Shaka Smart
But the decision for Texas athletic director Chris del Conte and the rest of the administration concerning Smart’s job status was made easy when the news came down that he would become the next Marquette head coach. Smart will take over as Marquette’s next head coach following the firing of their former head coach Steve Wojciechowski last week.
Moreover, Texas finished up the 2020-21 season, following the upset loss to ACU, with a record of 19-8 (11-6 Big 12). Despite their Big 12 Tournament title and mostly successful regular season, the 2020-21 campaign left a really bad taste in the mouths of Texas hoops fans. Smart had moved his postseason record during his time as Texas head coach to 0-3 following the loss to ACU.
But now the Longhorns will have a chance to move the program in a more prominent direction. This will be just the third head coach in more than the last 15 years for the Texas men’s hoops program.
Here’s a look at some of the early big-time coaching candidates for Texas to look to replace Smart.