Late last week, an extraordinarily unique situation emerged — Texas Longhorns head coach Shaka Smart’s name was connected with the open Michigan Wolverines coaching position, all while he interviewed former John Beilein assistant Luke Yaklich in Austin. Meanwhile, Yaklich was also a candidate to take over for his former head coach.
Follow all of that?
Over the weekend, former Michigan standout Juwan Howard emerged as the frontrunner to take over for Beilein, with reports on Wednesday suggesting that Howard’s hire is all but official.
While that won’t mean a soft landing for Smart in Ann Arbor, it does open up the possibility that Yaklich could take the job at Texas this week and end up in Austin. In fact, Matt Norlander of CBS Sports expects Yaklich to do exactly that “in short order.” One potential hold up is an official offer from the Longhorns, which hasn’t happened yet, according to Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, but that now seems like a formality.
Given the acumen of Yaklich as a defensive coach and the rising perception of him as a strong recruiter and potential future head coach, it would make sense for Howard to attempt to retain him for his first staff at the college level, though that’s not yet known.
In that scenario, Yaklich would have to decide whether he wants to remain in Ann Arbor after being passed over for the head coaching position or take a position that may not have a lot of job security in Austin.
What remains clear is that Yaklich is the clear first choice for Smart and would represent a slam-dunk hire. So there’s some pressure on the Texas side now to make this happen, because there isn’t a publicly-known second choice and that assistant almost certainly wouldn’t have Yaklich’s recent track record of success.