Days after the school announced that it would not renew the contract of women’s basketball coach Karen Aston, the University of Texas has hired Mississippi State head coach Vic Schaefer as her replacement.
On Sunday, Chris Del Conte, the Longhorns’ Vice President and Athletics Director, tweeted, “Guess who’s coming to the Forty…” along with a photo of the Schaefer family flashing the “Hook ’em Horns” hand signal.
“In looking for a new head women’s basketball coach, there was one name that continuously came up as the perfect fit for The University of Texas, and that was Vic Schaefer,” Del Conte said in the announcement. “He’s a coach who knows the state of Texas and the national women’s college basketball landscape extremely well.
“We had great conversations with him, we’ve received incredible recommendations, and he’s just a tremendous person. Anyone who follows college basketball knows Coach Schaefer. He’s a proven winner, and I’m so fired up to have him and his family here at Texas!”
Starkville reporter Steve Roberston reports that the Bulldogs tried to retain Schaefer, but the move allows the coach to return closer to home in Texas.
As part of the announcement that the school would not be renewing Aston’s contract , the University of Texas said, “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.”
This season, Texas finished 19-11 (11-7 Big 12) after a first-round NCAA tournament exit in 2019.
The season before he took over at Mississippi State, the school went 14-16 (4-12 SEC). But since arriving in 2012, Schaefer held a 221–62 record and established Mississippi State as a national presence.
He led the Bulldogs to two national championship appearances, recruited and developed multiple All-Americans as well as cemented his teams’ place in Mississippi State, SEC and NCAA history. Schaefer and State are more widely known for ending UConn’s 111-game win streak in 2017. He’s received multiple national and SEC Coach of the Year honors.
In the last few years, State and the South Carolina Gamecocks have emerged as rivals, and the two schools played in three consecutive SEC tournament championship games before the Bulldogs won their first title in 2019.
“I want to thank everyone at Mississippi State for eight wonderful years,” Schaefer said. “Thank you to the Bulldog Family for your loyalty and love of our program. We will always be grateful for our time in Starkville. I am driven to bring that same energy, exciting play and success to the Erwin Center in the fall and look forward to down the road when we’ll fill the brand-new Moody Center with excited women’s basketball fans for years to come! We can’t wait to start working with the team and to get everything going.”
There are questions that remain, about who Schaefer will hire as a part of his Longhorn staff as well as who will fill his shoes in Starkville, and whether the talent he recruited will remain Bulldogs.
Depending on the hire and its timing, it wouldn’t be surprising to see movement from a player like freshman Rickea Jackson, who just completed her first year, and was named to the 2020 SEC All-Tournament team.
Naturally following the departure of 2019 SEC Player of the Year Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State looked like a different team. But the 6’2 freshman led the team with 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds and propelled the team to the SEC tournament final in March.
There may be more answers than questions as the offseason continues.
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