AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart is leaving to become the head coach at Marquette.
Smart’s tenure at Texas is best described as good, but not good enough. Smart is 109-86 overall with the Longhorns, but 0-3 when it mattered most in the NCAA Tournament.
The Big 12 Tournament champions were expected to make a run to at least the second weekend of the 2021 NCAA Tournament before their season was dashed by 14th-seeded Abilene Christian. Smart is leaving the Longhorns with two years left on his contract.
In a statement on Saturday, Longhorns Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said:
“I’m so grateful for all Coach Smart did for Texas Basketball, our university community and our athletics department. 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.”Longhorn Athletics Director Chris Del Conte
With the end of Smart’s time at Texas, who will Del Conte find to replace him?
Possible Texas coaching candidates
Chris Beard – Texas Tech
Any conversation about the Texas vacancy will start with Texas Tech’s Chris Beard.
The University of Texas graduate has turned the Red Raiders into a powerhouse. He’s 112-55 in five seasons at Tech with a national championship runner-up finish and an Elite Eight appearance. Beard is from Irving and worked as a student assistant under Texas coach Tom Penders.
Texas Tech will do just about anything to keep Beard from going to his Big 12 rivals. He makes around $5 million a year and is under contract at Tech through the 2024-25 season. His buyout is $4 million.
Let’s go with another massive name that Texas will have a hard time pulling away from their current program — current Illinois coach Brad Underwood.
Underwood is under contract with the Illini through the 2025-26 season. He’s reportedly being paid around $3.5 million a year with Illinois.
Illinois lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big Ten championship and earning a No. 1 seed.
The Kansas native has some experience in Texas and in the Big 12, spending three seasons at Stephen F. Austin and one at Oklahoma State before leaving for Illinois.
Loyola Chicago head coach Porter Moser is one of the hottest names in college basketball after taking the Ramblers to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three tournaments. Moser’s 2018 team reached the Final Four in San Antonio.
This season, as a No. 8 seed, Loyola Chicago upset No. 1 Illinois to reach the Sweet 16 last week.
Moser is reportedly the top candidate for the Indiana Hoosiers, but the 52-year-old currently has his pick of jobs, which may mean he stays with the Ramblers.
Moser has a tie to the Lone Star State. He was an assistant at Texas A&M for seven seasons in the 90s.
If Texas wants its new head coach to have a true connection to the program, look no further than Royal Ivey. Ivey was a lockdown defender with the Longhorns in 2000s. He was on the 2003 Final Four team that lost to eventual national champion Syracuse.
Ivey had a 10-year NBA player career before becoming an NBA assistant coach in 2016. Ivey is a current assistant with the Brooklyn Nets.