Texas’ basketball program meant business as they fired head coach Rick Barnes after 17 seasons, and they immediately found his replacement as they hired VCU head coach Shaka Smart.
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Smart, who is 37 years old, gained national recognition in 2011 when he led VCU to the Final Four even though they were a No. 11 seed.
They have gone 163-56 and made the NCAA Tournament for five consecutive seasons under Smart’s watch, and the coach had turned down multiple offers before finally accepting the Texas role.
The Longhorns have promising talent, which they demonstrated at the beginning of the season when they started 12-2 and ranked sixth in the country.
Their play fell off though as they limped into the tournament as a No. 11 seed before losing in the Round of 64 to Butler.
Barnes had led the Longhorns to the Final Four in 2003 and made the tournament in all of his seasons except 2013, but they never fully reached expectations as they possessed championship-caliber rosters.
However, Barnes has been given another chance as he was hired as the new Tennessee head coach.