Mailbag: Did Texas Make the Right Call Keeping Shaka Smart?
We're all sitting at home anyway, why not take a few minutes to answer some of your questions with another edition of Mailbag.
Do you think Texas is making the right call by keeping Shaka Smart?
I think Texas made the right call for this situation. The Longhorns were kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place here. It looked like they had a concrete testing mechanism to decide whether to keep Smart or not. They were going to base it on whether the team made the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they will never know if that was going to happen. I think several factors brought Smart back.
First, the team showed signs of life down the stretch. Had Texas floundered to a finish several games below .500 in the Big 12, Smart may have found himself out no matter what else happened.
Second, the fact he still has quite a bit of money and time on his contract. I've written before about why Texas can't just go and throw a bunch of money at a guy like Chris Beard from Texas Tech. Not only would they have to continue to pay Smart, but most schools would require a buyout to hire a coach away from them. Add in the price tag of an up-and-comer and suddenly your coaching budget triples at least. It can get real expensive real fast.
Third, the obvious fact that it's hard to make major changes in athletic programs right now. COVID-19 has brought the sports world to a standstill. It's almost impossible for a coach to conduct an in-person interview with everything on lockdown, much less allow for that new coach to do all the things that he would need to do right off the bat after getting hired. Good luck recruiting this late in the game with on-campus and in-person visits halted. I think these factors took what may have been a 50-50 decision and pushed it firmly in the direction of sticking with the status quo for at least one more year.