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Schaefer leaves SEC to be Texas women's coach

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Sunday, 05 April 2020 14:42

Vic Schaefer is the new women's basketball coach at Texas, after spending the past eight seasons building a powerhouse at Mississippi State.

Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte sent a tweet on Sunday of Schaefer and his family giving the "Hook 'em Horns" sign with the words, "Guess who's coming to the Forty" referencing Texas' nickname as the Forty Acres.

Schaefer, a Texas native, graduated from Texas A&M and spent nine years as associate head coach there under coach Gary Blair. He was a member of the Aggies' staff when they won the national championship in 2011.

He took over as head coach of Mississippi State in 2012 and led the Bulldogs to the national championship game in 2017 and 2018, losing both times.

Schaefer replaces Karen Aston, who was 184-83 at Texas. Del Conte announced Friday that her contract, which expires in August, would not be renewed.

Schaefer, who turned 59 in March, has gone 221-62 in his eight seasons with the Bulldogs, which includes the regular season and SEC tournament this year. He becomes the fifth women's basketball coach in Texas history, following Rod Page, Jody Conradt, Gail Goestenkors and Aston.

Texas won the 1986 NCAA title with a perfect season under Conradt, and she also led the program to two other NCAA Women's Final Fours, most recently in 2003. But the Longhorns have been eclipsed in the Big 12 by three-time NCAA champ Baylor, which has gone 22-1 against Texas in the past decade.

Aston was 1-18 against the Lady Bears, which was a big contributing factor to why she was let go despite three Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight appearance in her eight seasons as head coach.

Texas went 19-11 overall this past season, and was third in the Big 12 at 11-7. Mississippi State went 27-6 overall and was second in the SEC at 13-3.

A Houston native, Schaefer has long recruited the state of Texas throughout his coaching career. One of his best players at Mississippi State, center Teaira McCowan, the No. 3 pick in last year's WNBA draft, is from Texas.

He also has had success against Baylor. While an assistant specializing in defense at Texas A&M, he helped the Aggies defeat the Lady Bears in the 2011 Elite Eight and go on to win the NCAA title. At Mississippi State, his Bulldogs upset Baylor in the 2017 Elite Eight.

Schaefer started coaching at the high school level. He began his college coaching career as an assistant at Sam Houston State in 1987, then took over as head coach there in 1990. He became an assistant to Gary Blair at Arkansas in 1997, and then followed Blair to Texas A&M in 2003, before leaving for Mississippi State in 2012.

Schaefer and the Bulldogs went for a third consecutive Final Four last season, but lost in the Portland Regional final to Oregon. In 2017, Mississippi State had the biggest win in its program's history, when the Bulldogs ended UConn's 111-game win streak in the national semifinals in Dallas on Morgan William's buzzer-beating shot in overtime.

But Mississippi State then lost the 2017 NCAA final to the Gamecocks, who were the thorn in Schaefer's side during his time in Starkville, Mississippi. He went 3-12 against Dawn Staley's South Carolina program, losing in the SEC tournament championship game four of the past five years to the Gamecocks.

Schaefer did have several program-breakthrough victories, including Mississippi State's first win over Tennessee in 2016 after the Bulldogs had gone 0-36 all time against the Lady Vols, and last year's SEC tournament title, the first for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs beat Arkansas in that final.

Over the past five seasons, Mississippi State is third in overall victory total with 159, following UConn's 174 and Baylor's 167. Mississippi State was 6-6 in the NCAA tournament before Schaefer took over. He went 16-5 in five NCAA tournament appearances.

Schaefer will be the first male head coach to lead the Longhorns program since Page in the 1970s. Texas now has only two women head coaches (swimming and diving and soccer) across its athletic program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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