After suffering yet another early exit in the NCAA Tournament, Texas Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart has been getting a lot of heat throughout this week. But rather than wait to potentially be fired, Smart appears to have found a way out.
According to reports, the Marquette Golden Eagles are closing in on hiring Smart as their new head coach. The position has been vacant for several days following the firing of Steve Wojciechowski after seven years at the helm.
Shaka Smart rose to national prominence in 2011 after leading VCU to the Final Four as an 11-seed. After making the NCAA Tournament four more times, he signed with Texas in 2015.
But Smart’s success with the Rams didn’t follow him to Texas. He has made the NCAA Tournament three times in six years, but has been eliminated in the First Round each time.
The reaction to Smart’s impending move to Marquette is being met relatively positively. Everyone recognizes that Smart didn’t have much of a future at Texas. People believe he’ll thrive at a basketball school instead of a football school.
That’s a good hire. Marquette is a basketball school. Texas is a football school. Shaka has thrived at a basketball school in the past. I like the move.
— KW (@kdub2211) March 26, 2021
Shaka finding a new job before the inevitable. I think he’s a better fit at Marquette than Wojo but this is a step down.
— emilykmm (@emilykmm) March 26, 2021
Leaving a football school to a basketball school is the easy choice
— KDRoberts (@thakicker11) March 26, 2021
Shaka has a good agent. He was about to get bounced out of Austin.
— Paul Batts (@TxEnergyTiger) March 26, 2021
Texas guy and Shaka fan here. Would be a great hire by Marquette and bummer for the Longhorns.
— Ali Raza, M.S. #BlackLivesMatter (@aliraza312) March 26, 2021
As for Marquette, bringing on Shaka Smart could be the boost they’ve been looking for since Buzz Williams left.
Over the past eight years, the Golden Eagles have just two NCAA Tournament appearances and have not gotten out of the First Round.
Steve Wojciechowski went 128-95 as a head coach, but just 59-68 in the Big East.
Can Shaka Smart turn Marquette into a Big East powerhouse?