Shaka Smart to return as Texas coach

Shaka Smart will be back as the coach of Texas next season, athletic director Chris Del Conte said Friday.

"Shaka's our coach," Del Conte told the Austin American-Statesman. "Nothing's changed. We won five of the last six down the stretch, finished third in the conference. We have a good team coming back. Nothing's changed on my end."

There was speculation all season that Smart could be on the hot seat, given that Texas missed the NCAA tournament in two of the previous three seasons and hasn't won an NCAA tournament game in Smart's four seasons in Austin. A 29-point loss at Iowa State in mid-February appeared to seal Smart's fate, but the Longhorns won five of six to end the regular season, including victories over West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

Texas was squarely on the bubble entering the Big 12 tournament, facing a must-win quarterfinal matchup against fellow bubble team Texas Tech.

"I'm really excited," Smart told the American-Statesman. "I'm big on controlling what I can control, and that's been my mentality all season long. If I really allowed myself to get super caught up in everything that was said or written, it would've been a very distracted season."

Smart would have been owed more than $10 million had he been fired this spring.

Texas is expected to bring back its entire roster next season, and the Longhorns are squarely in the mix for uncommitted five-star senior Greg Brown. They were not ranked in ESPN's Way-Too-Early Top 25 for the 2020-21 season.