5 reasons Shaka Smart isn’t fired at Texas

Not much changed since Texas fired Rick Barnes to bring in Shaka Smart, who made VCU a well-known team in college basketball for a sustained period of time.

Despite high expectations, Texas regularly finds itself on the bubble in March. You’d think a school like Texas with all its power would put together a consistently good college basketball (and football) team, but the Longhorns’ last Sweet 16 appearance came in 2008.

In this past year, Texas stood at 14-11 overall and not expected to be a part of the NCAA Tournament picture when a video of an empty basketball arena went viral before a home game against in-state rival TCU. After this moment, the Longhorns became a bubble team rattling off 5 wins in a row before getting blown out by Oklahoma State in the season finale.

Deceptive Speed’s final Bracketology had Texas barely in the field, but would the Longhorns have made the NCAA Tournament? We’ll never know and whether Texas fans want it or not, AD Chris Del Conte said Friday that Smart will lead the basketball program to start the 2020-21 season

Here are 5 reasons why Shaka Smart isn’t fired at Texas.

No NCAA Tournament

I love this excuse and if I was a head coach, I’d go all in saying we would’ve won the damn national title if the whole NCAA Tournament wasn’t canceled. Texas won 5 games in a row to end its season. All they need is 6 wins in the tournament to be a championship team.

Easy, right?


The AD declined to comment whether keeping Smart had anything to do with money.

What does that mean?

It means keeping Smart had everything to do with money.

Like everything in life, money is the biggest factor. Smart has 3 years left with $10.5 million owed to him no matter what. Even with the advantage Texas has with a massive athletic department budget, 8 figures lot of money to pay somebody to not do anything.

That’s especially the case when the next head coach would ask for more than what Smart is making right now including buying their contract from the previous school. It’s not a great time right now for big-money changes with what’s happening in college athletics, which leads to the next topic.


The NCAA slashed $375 million in payouts to schools after the tournament was canceled thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. There’s no doubt COVID-19 is saving the jobs of dozens of college basketball coaches across the country.

Let’s look at the numbers.

In 2018, there were 55 head coaching changes in college basketball. In 2019, we saw 59. At this point of 2020, we’ve seen 18 coaching changes and zero among the top teams and conferences.

It’s a strange time in college athletics with nobody on campus and the country going through a nationwide quarantine. An athletic director’s most important job is to hire the football and men’s basketball coaches. Would the AD be confident enough making that big of a hire without meeting face to face? And would coaches be interested without stepping foot on campus or meeting anybody?

Plus, spending this amount of money to fire and hire basketball coaches during on economical crisis might not be the way to go.


This goes along with the same idea previously mentioned, but would a prospect commit or sign with a head coach he’s never met in person? I would think a head coaching change at this point would open up the idea of other schools to high school kids.

Texas is the favorite to add 5-star power forward Greg Brown III, who said he will sign with the Longhorns if Smart remains the head coach. That certainly helps.

All players return

Texas doesn’t have a senior on the roster, so presumably everybody will return, which is incredibly rare for any team. On the flip side, Texas lost its top assistant coach Luke Yaklich to UIC earlier this week. He’s known for his expertise on defense, which was the key to the Longhorns’ late-season surge. Texas held teams under 60 points during their 5-game winning streak down the stretch.

Coaches are fired way too often and way too early in football and men’s basketball, but Shaka Smart is guaranteed yet another make-or-break season heading into year 6 with zero NCAA Tournament wins at Texas.