Shaka Smart hires ISU’s Neill Berry to fill out coaching staff

Neill Berry

Texas men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart has rounded out his coaching staff with the hire of Iowa State assistant Neill Berry.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join Coach Smart’s staff at Texas,” Berry said in a statement Texas released to announce the hire. “I have always had tremendous respect for Coach Smart from afar, and I am excited about the opportunity to learn from him and help out in any way possible moving forward.”

Smart had spent the last month and a half looking to fill the vacancy left by Mike Morrell who became the head coach at UNC-Asheville.

“I’m extremely excited about Neill joining our staff,” Smart said. “It’s been about six weeks since Mike got the job at UNC Asheville. I wanted to make sure I did my homework and considered a variety of candidates,” Smart said. “I did a ton of research on many different guys, trying to figure out who would be the best fit for our program. I kept coming back to the feeling that Neill is the best fit for our staff and our team, and he is a guy who can come in here and hit the ground running in all facets of the job.”

While Berry has no previous experience working with Smart, he had worked with Darrin Horn, one of Smart’s assistants for the last three years, for a total of six seasons at two different stops. He started out as an intern at Western Kentucky during the 2005-06 season when Horn was the Hilltoppers’ head coach. Two years later, he was promoted to an assistant for two years.

Once Horn was named head coach at South Carolina, Berry followed, joining his staff as the director of player development before becoming an assistant coach for the 2009-10 season.

Before joining the Iowa State staff, Berry spent three seasons at High Point University.

Thursday was a busy day for Texas basketball. Berry’s hire was announced after the news broke the Kerwin Roach would return for his senior season, and the Longhorns learned they would be playing Georgia for the second time in three years in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

Texas will travel to Athens in January for the sixth annual inter-conference showcase. In 2017, the Longhorns lost to the Bulldogs, 59-57.

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