Shaka Smart leaving Texas after 6 seasons as head coach

Matthew Boncosky

Men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart is leaving Texas after six years as head coach, according to numerous reports from ESPN, the Austin-American Statesman, CBS Sports and others.

Smart, who had two years remaining and a $7.1 million buyout on his contract with Texas, will become the new coach at Marquette University, according to the reports.

“I’m so grateful for all Coach Smart did for Texas Basketball, our university community and our athletics department,” Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “I’ve enjoyed our time together, really appreciate the passion he has for his team and student-athletes, and I learned a great deal from him during our many conversations. I will miss Coach Smart and his family and wish him the very best.”

Smart led Texas to a 17-7 regular season record and the program’s first-ever Big 12 Tournament title this season before being upset by Abilene Christian University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

In six years as Texas’ head coach, Smart compiled a 109-86 record and led the Longhorns to a National Invitational Tournament championship in 2019, but failed to win a game in the NCAA Tournament in three appearances.

Smart first gained national attention when he led 11-seed Virginia Commonwealth University to a Final Four appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. 

In 2015, Smart was hired to replace longtime Texas coach Rick Barnes, who led the team to numerous NCAA Tournament appearances, including its most recent tournament victory in 2014.

Despite initial promise, leading Texas to an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season, and having three players drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, Smart failed to achieve the national success desired by fans and the school. The move to Marquette suggests Smart understood that his days at Texas were numbered.

Texas has not made any announcement in regards to Smart’s replacement as head coach.