Homecoming: Marquette hires Shaka Smart to lead MBB team

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

Shake Smart was a lame-duck coach with the Texas Longhorns. He could have been fired there.

Instead on Friday, he removed himself from the situation. He has decided to go home.

Former Texas Longhorns Men’s Basketball head coach Shaka Smart watches the action against the Oklahoma Sooners
Shaka Smart watches the action against the Oklahoma Sooners (Getty Images)

Smart has been named the Marquette Golden Eagles men’s basketball coach. He is from Madison, Wisconsin.

“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 Vice President & Director of Athletics Bill Scholl said. “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 after the season. Wojo, as he is commonly known, went 128-95 in seven seasons at the school.

This past season, Wojo guided the Golden Eagles to a 13-14 record.

In his seven seasons, Marquette went to two NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament appearances. However, both times, they were eliminated in the Round of 64.

The 43-year-old Smart served as a head coach with the VCU Rams and the Longhorns. He is 272-142 as a head coach at both schools.

In 2011, Smart guided the Rams to the Final Four.

“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!”

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