Shaka Smart is expected to become the next men's basketball coach at Marquette University. Once the deal is finalized, he will become the first Black coach in program history.
This news comes shortly after the school cut ties with Steve Wojciechowski. During his tenure, Wojciechowski led the Golden Eagles to an overall record of 125-98, but he struggled in the Big East with a 59-68 in-conference record. He finished this season with a 13-14 record and was fired shortly thereafter.
"After a thorough evaluation of our program over the last week, which included multiple conversations with Steve, I concluded that now is the right time for a new leader of our storied program," Marquette Athletic Director Bill Scholl said last week.
"I'm confident that our history of success and our commitment to developing young men who are leaders on and off the court will attract the highest caliber of coaching talent. I want to thank Steve for his dedication to our student-athletes, and for how he represented our men's basketball program and the university. We wish Steve, Lindsay, Jack and Charlie nothing but the best in the future."
One week later, Smart is set to take the program in a new direction. As the team's first Black coach, he comes in having already made history at his previous two stops. At his first coaching stop, he led VCU to two conference titles, five NCAA Tournament appearances and the school's first final four. During his time at the University of Texas, he led the Longhorns to three tournament appearances and the first Big 12 Tournament Championship in school history.
Smart is the second Black basketball coach hired at the Division I level this week. Earlier this week, Jacksonville State University hired Florida Gators Assistant Coach Jordan Mincy to be their head coach. While promising, these hires highlight a larger issue within college basketball. Despite more than half of men's Division I rosters being made up by Black players, less than 25% of Black head coaches are Black. Prominent programs like UCLA, Duke and Kansas still have not hired a Black coach in their respective histories.
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