Texas switches from women’s basketball coach Karen Aston after eight seasons


Women’s basketball

Posted on April 3, 2020

Texas women’s basketball coach Karen Aston will not be back next season, sports director Chris Del Conte said on Friday.

Aston, 55, has coached the Longhorns for eight years. The three-year extension she signed in 2016 will expire in August and she received a base salary of $ 515,000 last season. Friday’s announcement comes a week after Del Conte made the decision to retain men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart, who is still three years on his contract.

Aston went 184-83 with the Longhorns. Texas reached the Elite Eight in 2016 and was in the Sweet 16 in 2015, 2017 and 2018. Of the four head coaches who worked for a Texas program that started in 1974, only Jody Conradt had more wins and years of training than Aston.

Friday, Aston did not respond to requests for comment from the American statesman. Del Conte said in a statement that the decision not to extend Aston’s contract was “extremely difficult”.

“We have had our successes and challenges, and through it all, Coach Aston has been a first class representative of the UT,” said Del Conte. “She is a dedicated coach and a special person. After assessing and reviewing where we are as a program and discussing the future, we are determined to move in a different direction with our continued goals of working to fight for the conference championships and the elite status of the NCAA.

Aston, who was a longtime assistant to Conradt, was hired in 2012 to replace Gail Goestenkors. Aston came to Texas after a 15-16 season in North Texas. She was also 86-47 as a head coach at Charlotte for four years.

Aston’s first team in Texas struggled to reach a score of 12-18 and the worst winning percentage in school history. But the program quickly took off. Texas has won at least 20 games in each of its next six seasons, and Aston was named Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2017.

Fourteen McDonald’s All-Americans competed for Aston at Texas. His 2017-18 team, which opened its season in second place in the country, had 10 of these signatories.

Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey greets Texas head coach Karen Aston before a game on February 4, 2019 in Austin. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

But all these high-level signatures have not failed. The three McDonald’s All-Americans in the 2017 UT recruiting class were all transferred before their first years, and Texas had a complicated divorce from the signatory for Sedona Prince in 2018. The last two UT classes had only ” only one recruit among the 50 best (Celeste Taylor in 2019).

Perhaps the most overwhelming section of Aston’s curriculum vitae concerned his track record against rival Baylor. Aston only beat Baylor once – an 85-79 win at Waco in 2017 – during his tenure. Baylor, who won a national title in 2019, beat the Aston Longhorns 18 times by an average of 15.3 points.

With Aston coaching without overtime and for his future this season, Texas was ranked 15th in the country at one point. The Longhorns had notable victories at the time. 1 Stanford, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 25 TCU. But they also suffered a staggering loss in Kansas and were twice routed by Baylor. The average 69.5 points for Texas ranked 81st nationally. The 64.2 points he awarded ranked 169th.

Texas (19-11) was still the third Big 12 team this shortened season. The Longhorns were probably a shoo-in for the NCAA tournament, but the team never started their post-season run. On March 12, the Big 12 and the NCAA both canceled their tournaments due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas basketball players Charli Collier (35), Celeste Taylor (0) and Joanne Allen-Taylor (11) defend Rio Grande Valley forward Desirea Buerge on November 20, 2019 in Austin. Collier, Taylor and Allen-Taylor are all subclasses. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

Aston’s replacement will be the third hire of Del Conte, who took over in Texas in December 2017. This summer, Del Conte hired Mike White of Oregon to coach softball and Edrick Floréal of Kentucky to lead the program athletics.

If the UT roster remains intact, his next coach will inherit seven players and a five-member recruiting class. Four of the team’s top six scorers from last season graduated, but 6-5 year-old forward Charli Collier was the first team winner of all conferences. Taylor also averaged 9.3 points in his first year at Austin.


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