MILWAUKEE — Marquette University formally welcomed Shaka Smart as its new head coach for men's basketball during a ceremony Monday afternoon.
The former University of Texas Longhorns head coach knew how to make fans excited, saying that he was born in 1977 - the year the Marquette Golden Eagles won the NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.
Smart said he expects three things from his players: Train with enthusiasm, give each other energy and compete.
"Our job as coaches is to cultivate that leadership, and understand that this is a very high level of basketball and our goals are very, very high. I think in order to prepare for a challenge, you have to challenge yourself during that preparation. So it's going to be hard. We're going to need to work extremely hard. We're going to need to set the bar at a very high level before we even get to the games," Smart said.
"Part of our job in the offseason is to get our guys to fully understand that, by the time that ball goes up for official practice. I'm excited about that," he said.
Smart says while he hasn't met the players yet in person, he is excited to.
"They're the ones who make this program go, and I can't wait to be around them," Smart said.
In 12 seasons as a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2009-15) and Texas (2015-21), 43-year-old Smart guided the two programs to a total of eight NCAA Tournament appearances. Those trips were highlighted by a run from the First Four to the Final Four by VCU in 2011.
Texas claimed the National Invitation Tournament title in 2019 under Smart.
In 12 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Smart has compiled a 272-142 record and seven of his first 10 teams played in the NCAA tournament. He posted a record of 163-56 (.744) at VCU and five trips to the NCAA. While at Texas, the Longhorns were 109-86 (.559) and made NCAA appearances in 2016, 2018 and 2021.