Texas head coach Shaka Smart has agreed to become the next head coach at Marquette. Smart is a Madison, WI-native who became a star in the college basketball world when he took VCU to the Final Four in 2011.
“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to welcome Shaka, his wife Maya, and their daughter Zora to the Marquette and Milwaukee communities,” AD Bill Scholl said in the release. “We undertook an exhaustive national search, during which we discussed our opening with a significant number of highly-qualified coaches. The interest in our position was tremendous and the market certainly understands what a wonderful place Marquette is to coach college basketball.”
The biggest catch on the coaching carousel for several years, Smart finally left VCU in 2015 to take the Texas job. He’s been to the NCAA Tournament three times since then and won the NIT in 2019, but overall the on-court success has been a far cry from what got his predecessor Rick Barnes fired.
“Maya, Zora and I are absolutely thrilled to join the Marquette family,” said Smart. “I’m grateful to President Lovell and Bill Scholl for entrusting me with the growth and development of this storied basketball program and the student-athletes who make it so special. I am extremely excited to get to Milwaukee to begin building relationships and getting to work on the court!”
The Longhorns’ great 2020-21 season, during which time they were ranked as high as #4 in the country, ended in disappointment with a first-round upset at the hands of in-state mid-major Abilene Christian. We didn’t think Shaka would get fired this offseason, but we had him squarely on the hot seat headed into 2021-22.
Taking the Marquette job seems to be win-win-win, with the Longhorns avoiding a pricey buyout, Shaka leaving on his own terms and finding a much better fit for himself and Marquette landing someone still considered to be one of the best young head coaches in the country.
credit to Marquette Athletics for the image