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Shaka Smart named the new Marquette head coach

After the disastrous NCAA Tournament loss against Abilene Christian, Smart finds a soft landing spot in his native Wisconsin.

NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Less than a week after the Texas Longhorns flamed out of the NCAA Tournament with a loss as the No. 3 seed to the No. 14 seed Abilene Christian Wildcats, Shaka Smart was announced as the 18th coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles early Friday evening.

“I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to welcome Shaka, his wife Maya, and their daughter Zora to the Marquette and Milwaukee communities,” Marquette athletics director Bill Scholl said in a statement released by the school. ”We undertook an exhaustive national search, during which we discussed our opening with a significant number of highly-qualified coaches. The interest in our position was tremendous and the market certainly understands what a wonderful place Marquette is to coach college basketball.”

“Throughout the search, one individual continued to rise to the top and that was Shaka,” Scholl added. ”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 replaces Steve Wojciechowski, who was fired last week after seven seasons as the head coach, during which he compiled a 128-95 record and failed to win a game in the NCAA Tournament in two appearances.

At Texas, Smart went 109-86 (.559) and, like Wojciechowski, was winless in the NCAA Tournament in three appearances, although the Longhorns did win the NIT in 2019. In conference play, Smart compiled a 52-56 record (.481) and led Texas to a Big 12 Tournament title in 2021, the first in school history after six previous losses in the championship game.

“Maya, Zora and I are absolutely thrilled to join the Marquette family,” Smart said. ”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!”

For Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte, the search for Smart’s replacement begins without a dismissal as Smart returns to his home state of Wisconsin.