Texas hires Schaefer as next women’s basketball head coach

Marcus Krum

After not extending women’s basketball coach Karen Aston’s contract, Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said Friday that the coaching search would begin immediately. That search sure did not take long.

Forty-eight hours later, Del Conte announced via Twitter that former Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer would be “coming to the Forty.”

“In looking for a new head women’s basketball coach, there was one name that continuously came up as the perfect fit for The University of Texas, and that was Vic Schaefer,” Del Conte said in a statement from Texas Athletics today. “He’s a coach who knows the state of Texas and the national women’s college basketball landscape extremely well.”

Given Schaefer’s pedigree of success, it’s a huge hire for Del Conte and the Longhorns. Schaefer turned a Bulldogs team that went 13–17 in his first year at the helm into a perennial National Championship contender, leading them to the Elite Eight in each of the last three years and to the National Championship game in both 2017 and 2018. In 2018, Schaefer won Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year after the Bulldogs fell to Notre Dame on a buzzer beater in the National Championship.

“Coach Schaefer has a wealth of experience and knowledge,” Del Conte said. “He built Mississippi State into one of the nation’s premier programs in very short order, leading them to the NCAA Championship Game twice and the Elite Eight three times in the past three years. In that time, he earned National Coach of the Year honors twice.”

And it’s not as if Schaefer had inherited a powerhouse program — the Bulldogs had only been to the Sweet 16 one time before Schaefer’s arrival and had only totaled five NCAA Tournament appearances. In his final season, Mississippi State finished the coronavirus-shortened season No. 9 in the AP poll. He compiled a 221–62 overall record in his eight seasons in Starkville, Miss.

Schaefer will inherit a Texas squad that went 19–11 and finished the season winning four of their final six games before the postseason was cancelled. The Longhorns will lose leaders in seniors forward Joyner Holmes, guard Sug Sutton and guard Lashann Higgs to graduation, but will return leading scorer forward Charli Collier after her breakout sophomore season.

“Knowing what I know from 35 years of coaching and a lifetime in the state, the storied history of Texas Women’s Basketball is something very special to be a part of,” Schaefer said in the statement. “I certainly feel really fortunate and just truly humbled to be entrusted with the opportunity to build on the years of success and help lead the Longhorns back where they belong – among the nation’s elite.”