Shaka Smart will return as Texas coach after getting public backing of Longhorns AD

Texas won’t be the first school among college basketball’s major seven conferences to make a coaching change. Longhorns Athletic Director Chris Del Conte confirmed to 247Sports on Friday that Shaka Smart will return for a sixth season.

“He’s our coach,” Del Conte told

Smart is 90-78 (40-50 Big 12) in five seasons and has led Texas to two NCAA Tournament appearances, both of which ended with first-round losses. The former Virginia Commonwealth coach rose to acclaim by leading the Rams to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2011 to 2015 but has struggled to emulate that success in the Big 12.

The Longhorns finished the 2019-20 season as one of the first four teams out of the projected NCAA Tournament bracket of CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. Texas and fellow bubble team Texas Tech were set to play in a Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal game on March 12 before the tournament — and ultimately the season — was cancelled.

As universities grapple with the financial fallout and overall uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, they have been hesitant to make coaching changes. Those dynamics may have benefited Smart, who has recruited well at Texas but failed to translate that talent into postseason success.

The Longhorns’ last five recruiting classes all ranked in the top 20 nationally, according to 247Sports. Texas is viewed as a frontrunner for Greg Brown, a local player who is the No. 9 overall player in the 2020 class. But as of now, no one is committed to Texas’ 2020 class, which may be a byproduct of the uncertainty that surrounded Smart’s future until now.

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