Texas Basketball: Substantial buyout avoided for Shaka Smart

It worked out well for all sides in this matter. The Texas basketball program saw their now former head coach Shaka Smart bolt from Austin entering the weekend to become the next Marquette Golden Eagles head coach. On March 26, it was reported that Smart would replace the former Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski (who was fired last week) in the same role.

This came just as the Longhorns had their head coach, at the time, Smart on one of the hottest seats in the entire country. Smart and the three-seed Longhorns fell short in the Round of 64 at the hands of head coach Joe Golding and the 14-seed Abilene Christian Wildcats by just a one-point margin on March 20.

That gave Smart a postseason record of 0-3 during his six years as the Texas head coach. His three postseason losses came at the hands of the 14-seed Abilene Christian this year, and the 11-seed Northern Iowa Panthers, and seven-seed Nevada Wolfpack, in prior years.

Smart and the Longhorns also finished up their run this season with a record of 19-8 (11-6 Big 12). A mostly successful regular season and a Big 12 Tournament crown for the first time in program history made way for a very disappointing early exit in March Madness.

What a buyout of Shaka Smart would’ve cost Texas basketball

According to a report from Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman on March 27, the buyout figures for Smart were set at $7.1 million if he hadn’t taken the job with Marquette. That’s why it worked out so well for all parties involved for the former Longhorns head coach to take the same job with the Golden Eagles entering the offseason.

Smart had two years remaining on his current contract, worth around $3-3.5 million annually. But Texas won’t owe him any buyout since he left for the Marquette job before athletic director Chris del Conte had to take to any formality to part ways with him.

Texas now has one of the more high-profile coaching searches open in the college hoops landscape at this point in time. Names like Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard, Oregon Ducks head coach Dana Altman, and former Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino have come to the forefront in the early stages of the coaching search of late.

It might be a good while before the Longhorns are able to officially find a replacement for Smart. The NCAA Tournament still sits in the Elite 8 following another crazy weekend in Indianapolis, IN. But the thought of the Longhorns ousted in the Round of 64 again looms large in the minds of fans on the Forty Acres.