University of Texas pulled off a blockbuster move on a quiet Sunday afternoon, luring Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer to take over the Longhorns.
Schaefer, who recently turned 59, is a Texas native who has spent the past eight seasons in Starkville while lifting the program into the nation’s elite.
The apex of his time with the Bulldogs was back-to-back national runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2018. His 2017 Bulldogs will live on in women’s basketball lore after beating UConn 66-64 in the national semifinals, ending the Huskies’ record 111-game winning streak.
MSU lost to South Carolina 67-55 in the ensuing national title game, then lost to Notre Dame 61-58 for the 2018 championship.
The Bulldogs’ reward in 2019 was getting shipped to Portland, Oregon, where they beat Arizona State in a Sweet 16 game before a “neutral site” loss to Oregon in the Elite Eight.
Schaefer’s teams won the SEC title in 2018 and 2019.
MSU finished this abbreviated season 27-6 and ranked No. 9 in the final AP poll.
Texas dismissed head coach Karen Aston on Friday after eight seasons. She led the Longhorns to four-consecutive Sweet 16 appearances (2015-18) and reaching the Elite Eight in 2016.
But as ESPN pointed out after Sunday’s news broke, Aston was only 1-18 against women’s powerhouse Baylor and its head coach, new basketball hall of famer Kim Mulkey.
Mulkey has won three national titles at Baylor.
Longhorns AD Chris Del Conte moved quickly to fill the job, announcing Schaefer’s hire on Twitter at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The attached photo had Schaefer and his family holding up the “Hook’em Horns” hand signal.
Texas went 19-11 this past season and will lose four of its top six scorers.
Schaefer is 301-172 in 15 seasons as a head coach overall, at Mississippi State (2012-20) and previously at Sam Houston State (1990-97). He was an assistant for Gary Blair at both Arkansas (1997-2003) and Texas A&M (2003-2012) before arriving in Starkville.
Texas A&M, his alma mater, won the national title in 2011 while Schaefer was serving as associate head coach.
Whoever succeeds Schaefer will have a strong team on paper – one that was ranked No. 3 nationally in a way-too-early Top 25 from ESPN.
“We can really put some offensive weapons on the floor next year,” Schaefer told the Daily Journal’s Logan Lowery last week.