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23 in 23: Who takes over Texas basketball?

13, Jan 2023

23 in 23: Who takes over Texas basketball?

Texas has parted with head coach Chris Beard. That means one of the premier gigs in college hoops is now open. Who is the first call for the Longhorns? We asked our staff - Who is coaching the Longhorns next season?

They answered.

JOSH TEC: The first call has to be to John Calipari. When Texas first let Beard go, I felt like Calipari would be the first call, but that would be it. The Longhorns would check the temperature before ultimately being turned down or moving on to different candidates. As Kentucky’s season has continued to spiral, I’m starting to think that this might be a viable option. 

247 Sports’ Travis Branham reported that both parties have been in contact already, and the tumult between Calipari and Big Blue Nation isn’t lessening. During Kentucky’s home loss to South Carolina, a fan was escorted out of the game for holding up a sign that said “please go to Texas,” so the Calipari-to-Texas energy is out in the ether. 

Why would anyone leave Kentucky for Texas in basketball? Texas is loaded with money, and they have all of the resources in the world to be successful. Texas is going to the SEC, so league affiliation is the same. Austin is bad ass. Calipari would be able to recruit there still. Most importantly, Texas fans care about football, so his job pressure would reduce significantly. He wouldn’t be under a microscope like he is at UK. 

GARRETT TUCKER: My first call would go to Jay Wright. The former Villanova head coach shocked the world when he announced his resignation last spring, so why not touch base and see if he’s itching to get back in the game?

To save everyone some time, I think Wright is perfectly fine stepping away from the game. In the new age of NIL money and the transfer portal, some coaches just don’t want to deal with it, and I truly think Wright is one of those guys. But, man, he can coach ‘em up with the best of them. 

Would Texas’ endless money and NIL perspectives pique his interest? I’m sure it would, but I just see him making his way back to the college game.

Assuming Wright says ‘thanks but no thanks,” my second call would go to Auburn’s Bruce Pearl. His ability to market and unite a program with a fan base has been second to none at Auburn. He obviously has experience manning a program that falls in line with football, too. Just think about Pearl’s potential with endless resources at Texas. Scary, right?

I’m interested to watch the rumor mill surrounding the Texas job over the next few months. The Longhorn athletic department could go a multitude of ways with this hire, so it makes things intriguing. 

Theoretically speaking, if interim head coach Rodney Terry weathers the storm and makes it to the Sweet Sixteen, does he get another year to prove himself? It’s a worthy argument and I think a lot of the players would have a say in that situation.

Chris Del Conte has a long road ahead of him. If I was in his shoes, I’d go with a safe name with a lot of upside. The name that fits the bill for me is Jerome Tang, barring any setbacks at Kansas State in the latter part of the schedule. Tang has plenty of connections going back to his time as an assistant coach at Baylor and he’s already proven he can lead a high-major program. 


JUSTIN YOUNG: I think Garrett is spot on - not with Jay Wright (sorry, Garrett) - with Rodney Terry. He deserves a legit shot at the job. Taking over the program and logging seven wins 

The real test begins this weekend as the Longhorns take on Texas Tech and run through the rest of the season in Big 12 play. The schedule is a gauntlet and Terry’s opportunity to really become the guy is now. He’s certainly capable. 

Here’s someone to really consider: Richard Pitino. Josh mentioned him in our coaches on the rise story from earlier in the week. He’s pumped life into the New Mexico program and he and his staff are recruiting at a high-level. A national spotlight is nothing new for Pitino and the Texas job could be the kind of place where he builds a decades-long career at one of the premier gigs in all of college sports. 

Just a thought. 

What kind of impact could Calipari make at Texas?

JUSTIN YOUNG: A big one. But that’s obvious, right? 

The state of Texas is one of the five best states to recruit from each and every year and Cal knows this. Look at some of the best players he’s coached at Kentucky - Texans. He knows the Lone Star State and the state knows him. 

Make no mistake about it, Cal has always had guys on his staff that can just get the job done. So, having a coaching staff that can continue such work is critical. So, keep this in mind… 

Brandon Chappell is a star on the staff. The Texas native will be critical for whoever the new coach is in the full-time position. He’s one of the best young recruiters in the game and is quickly on the rise as an up-and-comer assistant coach. That’s a scary pairing to think about. 


JOSH TEC: I don’t think that Calipari’s impact at Texas is in question. What intrigues me most is the impact his leaving Kentucky would have on the sport as a whole. 

We’ve seen some of the biggest brands in the sport open up in recent years—Arizona, Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Villanova, UCLA, UNC—but none of them made those schools made the big, splashy hire that shook up basketball. For Kentucky, I don’t think there would be an option other than to go big and reach for the stars. Humbly hiring a member of the family or turning to an assistant won’t appease the fan base. They have to flex their muscles and take big swings. 

That would mean plucking an established star from another big-time college job or even turning to the NBA. In either case, a ripple effect would follow suit and create more waves throughout the game.



Justin Young

Justin Young has been the editor-in-chief of since 2013. He manages the day-to-day operations on the site and in conjunction with our national and regional events. He was the national basketball editor for and a contributing editor at Yahoo! Sports. Young has been earned numerous awards for his work in sports journalism, including the Georgia Press Association Columnist of the Year. His Justin Young Basketball recruiting service has been in existence since 2002 and worked with over 300 schools from all levels. He is the director of HoopSeen Elite Preview camps and our national Preview camp series.