AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas moved quickly to hire a new women’s basketball coach, luring Vic Schaefer away from powerhouse Mississippi State on Sunday.
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte announced the move by tweeting a picture of himself with Schaefer and his family holding up the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal. Del Conte did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
The move comes just two days after Texas dismissed eight-year coach Karen Aston, who had only one losing season in her tenure and had led the Longhorns to the Sweet 16 or farther four times. Aston had reached the end of her contract and it was not renewed.
Schaefer will inherit a Texas program that went 19-11 last season but will lose four of its top six scorers next season.
Schaefer, 59, was 221-62 games at Mississippi State and the Bulldogs lost in the NCAA Tournament championship game in 2017 and 2018. Mississippi State was 27-6 and ranked No. 9 before last season was cut short and the tournament canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. He also led Mississippi State to one of the greatest upsets in women’s basketball history when the team beat UConn in the Final Four in 2017, ending the Huskies 111-game winning streak.
He was set to make $1.65 million at Mississippi State next season. Details of his Texas contract, which will have to be approved by the school’s Board of Regents, were not immediately released.
Schaefer will be the first male head coach to lead the Longhorns program since Rodney Page in the 1970s when program was first elevated to varsity status. Page led the program from 1974-1976 and then was replaced by Jody Conradt, who won the school’s only national championship in 1986 and led the program back to the Final Four in 2003.
Aston appeared to have the program back among the national elite when the Longhorns went deep into the NCAA Tournament each year from 2015-2018. But Texas couldn’t break Baylor’s stranglehold on the Big 12 in that span, got knocked out of the tournament in the first round in 2019. The Longhorns were 19-11 before last season was cut short.
Hiring Schaefer means Texas will have only two women head coaches (swimming and diving and soccer) across the athletic program.
A Texas native and graduate of Texas A&M, Schaefer was the head coach at Sam Houston State for seven seasons and was an assistant at Arkansas and Texas A&M before leading the Mississippi State program.