3 worst head coaching hires in Texas basketball history

Shaka Smart, Texas basketball
Shaka Smart, Texas basketball / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
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Shaka Smart, Texas basketball
Shaka Smart, Texas basketball / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Shaka Smart (2015-16 to 2020-21)

109-86 (.559 winning percentage)

Regarding win percentage, former Texas head coach Shaka Smart wasn't one of the three worst bench bosses in program history. In fact, he is the only head coach on this list to finish with a winning record during his time at Texas.

He is also the only one of these three Texas head coaches on this list to make an NCAA Tournament appearance. But it was the lack of postseason success and occasional regular season let downs that lands Smart on this list.

Smart's time at Texas is the quintessential example of an underachieving head coach who never really came close to matching preseason expectations.

When Texas hired Smart away from the VCU Rams before the 2015-16 season, it looked like the Longhorns were getting a rising star in the college hoops coaching ranks. Smart led VCU to the Final Four in 2011 and two conference championships.

What Smart's teams at Texas turned into was a shell of the caliber of teams he had and the style he liked to play at VCU. The postseason success he found at VCU also quickly faded early in his time at Texas.

Smart is the only Texas head coach in the last three decades to miss the NCAA Tournament in more seasons than he made it.

Most notably, Smart is the only Texas head coach to never win an NCAA Tournament game while making multiple appearances in the Big Dance.

He also suffered from a lack of proper roster construction at Texas. While Smart recruited at a very high level, he could never truly find elite guard talent to take his program to another level.

Most of the elite talents that Smart recruited were frontcourt players who were effective, but ultimately lacked the ability to take this team far when it mattered in March and April.

Smart's tenure as Texas's head coach had its fair share of highs and lows. The 2020-21 season is a microcosm of the entire half-decade he coached at Texas. The Longhorns ranked as high as No. 4 in the AP Poll during the 2020-21 campaign and earned a three-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But the 14-seed Abilene Christian Wildcats upset Smart and the Longhorns in the Round of 64 in 2021 to essentially put the nail in the coffin for Smart as Texas's head coach. The Texas faithful couldn't endure another year of falling way short of postseason expectations after Smart went 0-3 in NCAA Tournament games.

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