Junior guard Shae Routt first suited up for the UT women’s basketball team in 2018, but burnt orange has been in her blood since she was born.
Routt’s mother Erica was a standout forward for Texas from 1992-1996 under tenured coach Jody Conradt. During Erica’s four seasons at UT, the Longhorns went to the NCAA tournament second round three times and won the Southwest Conference twice. The success and lifelong bonds that Erica formed on the basketball court inspired Shae to follow in her footsteps.
“Before I even decided to come to Texas, I was already coming to events like Exes Weekend,” Shae said. “I was already around all of the other alumni and hearing stories about the things they did and their college experiences, which made me more excited to come to Texas and try to emulate what they did on and off the court.”
Despite being a proud alumna of the University and Shae’s high school basketball coach, Erica never forced her daughter to choose the same path she did. The decision to become a Longhorn was all Shae’s, Erica said.
“Ultimately for Shae, I think she really wanted to go to the University of Texas and get her education there,” Erica said. “I think her looking at a bigger picture of what her future could be, having a degree from Texas changed her mindset and her decision.”
Now, more than two years into Shae’s Texas career, Erica said she could not be happier that her daughter is playing basketball on the same court she did in the ‘90s.
“It’s an honor to have her play at the same school I went to and play the same sport,” Erica said. “I think it’s a neat situation that she’s able to have similar experiences that I had playing in the (Frank) Erwin Center. But she’s also had different experiences because so many things have changed.”
Indeed, Shae has already seen more turnover in the coaching staff than Erica ever experienced. While Erica played for Conradt her entire collegiate career, Shae will be suiting up for her first season with new head coach Vic Schaefer later this fall.
“I am super excited about the new coaching staff,” Erica said. “What he did at A&M with the national championship team and what he did with Mississippi State, he is bringing all of that to Texas, and I think that’s going to make it to where Texas can be back where it was when coach Conradt was there.”
One thing the Routts and Schaefer have in common is the value they place in family. Schaefer’s daughter, Blair, serves as the team’s director of player development and is a member of his staff, who moved with him from Mississippi State to Texas. Assistant coach Elena Lovato said Schaefer’s emphasis on putting family first is what makes him a great coach.
“He’s an amazing dad,” Lovato said to the Texan in June. “When he’s not coaching, he takes his family seriously.”
With all the turnover on the staff and inside the locker room, Shae has taken a more vocal role on the team as a multiyear veteran on one of the youngest rosters in the Big 12. Now, with the season inching closer, Shae hopes to continue what the ‘90s teams her mom played on worked so hard to build.
“I think it’s about keeping the traditions in mind when you step on the floor,” Shae said. “Passing that knowledge onto (the underclassmen) so when I leave, they still know those things.”