Five days after former Texas head coach Rick Barnes and the Longhorns parted from a 17-year relationship, University of Texas Athletic Director Steve Patterson found what appears to be a very capable successor in Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Shaka Smart. Smart, who turns 38 years old next week, was handpicked by Patterson to lead a Texas program that has struggled in recent years to live up to expectations, but possesses the resources, talent and potential to accomplish more. He becomes the 24th head coach in Texas Basketball history.

While the Longhorns remain devoid of a national championship in basketball, Barnes left the program as the winningest coach in itshistory with a record of 402-180. His accomplishments are notable, including earning his 600th career win and guiding Texas to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances in 17 years.

Smart became VCU's head coach in 2009 when Anthony Grant accepted the head coaching position at Alabama. In his six seasons with the Rams Smart amassed a .744 winning percentage (163-56) and led his 2011 team to the Final Four - a first for VCU. Smart’s Rams also won the CBI Tournament Championship in 2010, the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament in 2012 and the Atlantic-10 Tournament this season. Recognized with the Fritz Pollard and Clarence Gaines National Coach of the Year Awards, Smart's credentials are well-established.

Smart’s first head coaching position was at VCU but he’s no stranger to the game. He played point guard for Kenyon College, a private college in Gambier, Ohio, and after college immediately became an assistant coach at California University of Pennsylvania. Smart then served in the front-office for the Dayton basketball program for a couple of years before deciding he needed to be back on the court coaching. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at the University of Akron for three years, Clemson for two, and Florida for one where he learned under head coach Billy Donovan.

As the old saying goes, behind a good man is a good woman. In this case, women. When Smart arrives in Austin, he won’t be alone...Maya, his wife of 9 years, and their 4-year old daughter, Zora, will be new Austin residents.

The rumor-mill on potential coaches to replace Rich Barnes was in high-gear throughout Patterson’s search. Reports indicated that a search firm hired by Patterson contacted Jay Wright, Brad Stevens and other notable coaches.

In the end Steve Patterson wanted a young, knowledgeable, energetic and charismatic coach. He wanted Shaka Smart…and he got him.