Basketball

Shaka Smart named head coach at Marquette

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Shaka Smart is the new head coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles, MU athletic director Bill Scholl announced Friday.

“Throughout the search, one individual continued to rise to the top and that was Shaka,” Scholl said in the school announcement.  “I am beyond excited for our current and future student-athletes who will have the great fortune of being mentored by Shaka.  He is a great teacher of the game, while also being a great molder of young men.  And I am proud to say, he is now a Marquette Golden Eagle!”

Smart also was quoted in the statement: Maya, Zora and I are absolutely thrilled to join the Marquette family,. I’m grateful to President Lovell and Bill Scholl for entrusting me with the growth and development of this storied basketball program and the student-athletes who make it so special. I am extremely excited to get to Milwaukee to begin building relationships and getting to work on the court!”

In six seasons at Texas, Smart accumulated a 195-109 record. He made the NCAA Tournament three times but did not win a game in March Madness. In 2019, his team won the NIT Championship, and in 2021, won the Big 12 Tournament title.

Several NBA first-round picks made one-year stops in Austin during Smart’s tenure, including Jarrett Allen, Mohamed Bamba, and Jaxson Hayes. Two-to-three more could join that group this year with Kai Jones, Greg Brown, and Jericho Sims.

Despite good recruiting and accumulated talent, Smart could never re-capture the magic that propelled him onto the national stage. His best finish in the Big 12 was third, and the 2016-17 season where he went 11-22 did not sit well with Texas fans used to the heights achieved in the previous decade.

Marquette recently fired Steve Wojciechowski, who was 128-95 in seven seasons in Milwaukee.

Smart grew up in Wisconsin, attending Oregon High School in Oregon, Wisc.