University of Texas Head Women’s Basketball Coach Karen Aston’s contract, which runs through Aug. 31, 2020, will not be extended, UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said on Friday. Aston led the Longhorns for eight seasons and was in the final year of her contract in 2019-20 when UT posted a 19-11 (11-7, Big 12) record. Del Conte said an immediate search now commences for Aston’s successor.
“This was an extremely difficult decision as Coach Aston’s contract was up and we put a great deal of thought into it, but decided not to extend it,” Del Conte said. “We can’t thank Coach Aston enough for everything she’s done for The University of Texas and our Texas Women’s Basketball program. She has given her all, as have the staff members. She has been totally committed to our program and everyone involved in it for eight years. We have had our successes and challenges, and through it all, Coach Aston has been a first-class representative of UT. She is a dedicated coach and special person. After evaluating and reviewing where we stand as a program and discussing the future, we have determined to move in a different direction with our continued goals to work to contend for conference championships and NCAA elite status.
“For our student-athletes, staff, letterwinners, fans, alumni and donors, we recognize the challenge of making a change in this particular springtime, but there is never a right time for a difficult decision like this. We feel it is in the best interest of our program to move forward now and establish new direction for the 2020-21 season.”
Aston’s teams posted a 184-83 (93-51, Big 12) record in eight seasons at Texas. Her overall head coaching record is 285-146 in 13 years. After a 12-18 mark in her first year at Texas (2012-13) and advancing to the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament the following season, Texas had four straight Sweet 16 appearances from 2014-15 to 2017-18 before the Longhorns fell in the first-round of the 2018-19 tournament. UT’s best finish in Aston’s eight years was in 2015-16, when the Longhorns were 31-5 and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight.
A native of Benton, Ark., Aston, who was an assistant coach/associate head coach at Texas from 1998-2006, also served as head coach at Charlotte (2007-11) and North Texas (2011-12). Her collegiate assistant coaching stints include stops at Baylor (1994-96; 2006-07) and North Texas (1996-98). She began her coaching career as a high school head coach at Vilonia (Ark.) High School from 1988-93 and went on to Fort Smith Northside (Ark.) High School in 1993-94 before entering the college ranks.
Aston was a two-time first-team all-state selection at Bryant High School. She capped her high school career by leading Bryant to the 1982 Arkansas Class 4A State Championship. Aston earned a bachelor of arts degree in physical education from Little Rock in 1987. She played two seasons of basketball at UALR after transferring from Ouachita Baptist.