Texas Longhorns men's basketball

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Texas Longhorns men's basketball
2014–15 Texas Longhorns men's basketball team
Texas Longhorns men's basketball athletic logo
University University of Texas at Austin
First season 1906
Conference Big 12
Location Austin, TX
Head coach Shaka Smart (1st year)
Arena Frank Erwin Center
(Capacity: 16,540)
Nickname Longhorns
Colors

Burnt Orange and White

            
Uniforms
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Home jersey
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Team colours
Home
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Away jersey
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Team colours
Away
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Alternate
Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions
1933
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1943, 1947, 2003
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1939, 1943, 1947, 1990, 2003, 2006, 2008
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1960, 1963, 1972, 1990, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008
NCAA Tournament appearances
1939, 1943, 1947, 1960, 1963, 1972, 1974, 1979, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015
Conference tournament champions
SWC
1994, 1995
Conference regular season champions

SWC
1915, 1916, 1917, 1919, 1924, 1933, 1939, 1943, 1947, 1951, 1954, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1972, 1974, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995


Big 12
1999, 2006, 2008

The Texas Longhorns men's basketball team represents The University of Texas at Austin in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition. The Longhorns currently compete in the Big 12 Conference.

The program achieved national prominence under former head coach Rick Barnes. Barnes guided Texas to 16 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 17 seasons, including a school-record fourteen consecutive appearances (1999-2012), as well as fifteen 20-win seasons overall and a school-best thirteen consecutive 20-win seasons (2000-12).[1][2]

Since 1977, the team has played its home games in the Frank Erwin Special Events Center, where it has compiled a record of 463-109 (.809) as of the end of the 2014-15 season.[1][2]

History[edit]

The University of Texas began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1906.[3] The Longhorns rank 16th in total victories among all NCAA Division I college basketball programs and 26th in all-time win percentage among programs with at least 50 years in Division I, with an all-time win-loss record of 1719-1019 (.628).[4] Among Big 12 Conference men's basketball programs, Texas is second only to Kansas in both all-time wins and all-time win percentage.[4]

The Longhorns have won 27 total conference championships in men's basketball and have made 32 total appearances in the NCAA Tournament (11th-most appearances all time, with a 35–35 overall record), reaching the NCAA Final Four three times (1943, 1947, 2003) and the NCAA Regional Finals (Elite Eight) seven times.[1] As of April 2015, Texas ranks third among all Division I men's basketball programs for total NCAA Tournament games won without having won the national championship (35), trailing only Illinois (40) and Oklahoma (37).[4][5]

The Texas basketball program experienced substantial success during the early decades of its existence, but its success in the modern era is of relatively recent vintage. After two losing seasons during the program's first five years, Texas would suffer only one losing season from 1912 to 1950, reaching two Final Fours and one Elite Eight during the first decade of the NCAA Tournament; the Longhorns finished with losing records 14 times from 1951 to 1987 and participated in the Tournament only five times during that span.[1] Texas achieved some measures of national recognition during the tenures of head coaches Abe Lemons (1976–82) and Tom Penders (1988–98), but the program rose to its present level of prominence under the direction of former head coach Rick Barnes (1998–2015).

The early years (1906–36)[edit]

1906–13[edit]

W. E. Metzenthin

The Texas men's basketball program began in 1906 under the direction of Scotland native Magnus Mainland, a lineman for the Texas football team who organized, coached, and played on the University's first varsity basketball team. The Longhorns took the court for the first time on March 10, 1906, defeating the Baylor Bears 27–17 at outdoor Clark Field.[6] Texas won seven of the eight games scheduled in its inaugural season. Due to inadequate funding, the University Athletics Council canceled the program after two seasons, leaving Texas without a basketball team for 1908, but revived the program in 1909, thanks in large part to the efforts of Longhorn player Morgan Vining.[3][7][8] Language professor, German native, and Longhorn football head coach W. E. Metzenthin (1909–11) assumed head coaching duties for the three seasons following the re-establishment of the program. J. Burton Rix (1912) and Carl C. Taylor (1913) each coached for one season following Metzenthin's stint as head coach.[1]

1914–27[edit]

Eugene Van Gent

L. Theo Bellmont, the first Athletics Director at the University of Texas, and a man instrumental in the formation of the Southwest Conference, took the reins as head coach from 1914 to 1915 and directed the Longhorns to 11–0 and 14–0 records in the 1914 and 1915 seasons, respectively, as well as the inaugural Southwest Conference championship during the latter season.[9][10] Bellmont's teams contributed 25 victories to a winning streak that would ultimately grow to 44 games. The Longhorns began the streak on February 15, 1913 with a 70–7 win at Southwestern and finished the 1913 season with two additional victories. After Theo Bellmont's teams extended the winning streak to 28 games, head coach Roy Henderson's team recorded Texas' third consecutive undefeated season in 1916 to extend the total to 40 consecutive victories. Head coach Eugene Van Gent's 1917 team added the final four wins to the streak before suffering a 24–18 loss to Rice in Austin.[1] Texas' winning streak stood as the NCAA record for consecutive wins in men's basketball for almost 40 years (until Phil Woolpert's San Francisco teams won 60 consecutive games from 1955 to 1957), and the achievement today remains the fifth-longest winning streak in Division I history.[7][4]

Berry Whitaker

Following Van Gent's single year as head coach, Henderson returned to coach Texas for two additional seasons, guiding the Longhorns to the SWC Championship in his final season (1919)—Texas' fourth basketball conference title during the five years the conference had existed.[10] From 1910 through 1919, Texas recorded an overall winning percentage of .789.[1] Only three NCAA schools—California, Navy, and Wisconsin—recorded better winning percentages for that decade.[7]

E. J. "Doc" Stewart

Berry M. Whitaker coached for a single season (1920) before Athletics Director L. Theo Bellmont designated him as the Longhorn football head coach.[11] Bellmont himself would assume basketball head coaching duties for two more seasons (1921 and 1922), leading Texas to its first 20-win season during his final year.[10]

Milton Romney directed the Longhorns to an unremarkable 11-7 season before Bellmont hired E. J. "Doc" Stewart from Clemson University to lead both the Longhorn football and basketball programs in 1923. A medical school graduate, a piano enthusiast, a former sportswriter, a one-time automobile dealership owner, and a veteran coach, Stewart quickly became a popular figure across diverse segments of the University population. His oratory eloquence landed him an open job offer from the head of the UT English Department. Some have speculated that Stewart's devotion to his varied non-athletic interests was the root cause of his football and basketball teams' decline in performance over his tenure.[11] Stewart led the Longhorn basketball team to a perfect 23-0 mark and SWC Championship during the 1924 season (after having coached the football team to an undefeated season as well), but his subsequent teams finished 17-8, 12-10, and 13-9. This slide coupled with his football teams' similar decline in performance resulted in the popular Stewart's controversial dismissal following the 1926-27 season.

1927–36[edit]

Fred Walker

Excepting two strong seasons—one particularly noteworthy—Texas maintained this level of relatively unremarkable performance in basketball for the better part of the next decade. Texas won only a single SWC Championship during the next nine seasons—in the exceptional 22-1 season of 1932-33, for which the Longhorns were also retroactively awarded the Premo-Porretta Power Poll national championship (presently unclaimed by UT).[12]

Fred Walker (1927–31) coached the Longhorns following E.J. Stewart's dismissal, producing a 51–30 combined record during his four-year stint as head coach. Walker led Texas to an 18–2 overall record and 10–2 conference record during his second season. He was terminated following the Longhorns' disappointing 9-15 season in his fourth year.

Ed Olle (1931–34), who had played for Texas under Stewart, coached Texas for three seasons after Walker's dismissal, leading the Longhorns to a 22–1 overall mark, a conference championship, and a retroactively-awarded Premo-Porretta Power Poll national championship during his second year. During his third year, Olle signaled that he would resign at the end of the season and recommended that freshman team and assistant varsity coach Marty Karow take his place.

Karow (1934–36) would direct Texas to a combined 31–16 record over his two years as head coach. His relationship with Texas Athletics Director and Longhorn football head coach Jack Chevigny marked by increasing friction, Karow resigned as head coach in the summer of 1936 and was hired shortly thereafter as the baseball head coach for the United States Naval Academy.

Jack Gray & H.C. "Bully" Gilstrap era (1937–51)[edit]

Only two seasons removed from his senior year at Texas, in which he earned consensus first-team All-American honors, and with only one year as an assistant coach with the Texas freshman team, the immensely popular Jack Gray was hired as the fourteenth Texas men's basketball head coach in the summer of 1937 at the age of 25.

After his first two teams combined for a 24–21 record, Gray's 1938–39 team posted a 19–6 overall mark and won the Southwest Conference championship outright for UT's first basketball conference title in six years. The season featured the then-most anticipated intersectional matchup in school history, as Phog Allen's Kansas Jayhawks came to Austin.[13] The Jayhawks appeared to be on their way to winning the first game until the Longhorns rallied late in the second half for a 36–34 victory. The second game the following night proceeded more in line with expectations, with Kansas winning handily, 49–35. Texas began conference play with an upset loss to the Rice Owls before hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks for two games in Austin. The Longhorns won a close first contest, 41–37, before being thoroughly outclassed by the Hogs in the second, falling 65–41. With Texas reeling—having started 1–2 in SWC play, and hosting no conference games in Austin for the next month—the team's goal of ending the conference championship drought was in peril. The Longhorns began a four-game conference road stretch with a win over Baylor in Waco before continuing on to Dallas to face the SMU Mustangs, who stood at 5–0 in conference play. Gray praised the Mustangs as "probably the most powerful team in the history of the school," and SMU coach Whitey Baccus confidently announced that his team would dispatch the Longhorns.[14] Instead, Texas handed SMU its first defeat of the conference season, 33–27. The Longhorns defeated the TCU Horned Frogs and the Texas A&M Aggies in their remaining two conference road games before winning all five SWC contests in Austin, concluding with a 66–32 rout of the Aggies. With a nine-game conference winning streak, Texas had finished at 10–2 in SWC play to claim sole possession of the SWC championship. The Longhorns were one of eight teams to qualify for the inaugural postseason NCAA Tournament, where they fell 56–41 to the "Tall Firs" of the Oregon Webfoots (later known as the Ducks), the eventual NCAA champion. Texas lost the West Regional third-place game to Utah State, 51–49.

Hopes and expectations for the 1939–40 team were high, as all but one of the key players returned from the previous season's SWC champion and NCAA Tournament squad. Texas entered the penultimate game of the season at 18–3 and tied at 8–2 in conference play with the preseason conference favorite Rice Owls—a team that the Longhorns had defeated on Rice's home court earlier in the season, 50–46. In front of a raucous pro-Texas crowd of more than 8,000 fans packed into Gregory Gymnasium, the Longhorns suffered a heartbreaking one-point loss to the Owls, 42–41, to see their hopes of winning a second consecutive outright SWC championship dashed and their chances of even sharing the championship greatly diminished. Another painful defeat followed in the final game of the season, as the Longhorns fell to a 10–11 Texas A&M team in College Station, 53–52, on a long running shot from the Aggies' backup center in the final seconds.[15] Texas finished 18–5 with no invitation to a postseason tournament. The Premo-Porretta Power Poll retroactively assigned the 1939-40 Longhorn team a national ranking of no. 17.

After his next two teams combined for a 28–19 overall record and a 12–12 record in conference play, Gray was notified of his acceptance for duty in the Navy in April 1942, four months after the United States had entered the Second World War. Gray's assistant Ed Price had also left for naval service. Longhorn football assistant coach Howard "Bully" Gilstrap was appointed to coach the team for the duration of the war.[16]

In addition to both coaches, three starters from the 1941-42 team had departed for service in the war. Accordingly, expectations for the 1942-43 Longhorns were low.[17] Despite losses of coaches and players that were projected as insurmountable hardships, Texas defied expectations, winning 13 of its first 16 games. Gilstrap credited Gray and Price with encouragement and advice from afar and his players with a degree of cooperation he said he had not seen before. Gilstrap explained, "There were a lot of things I didn't know about the system, and the boys realized that. They came to the rescue. They've been assistant coaches as well as players. We've just been trying to work it out together."[18] After stumbling on a swing through North Texas late in the season with losses to TCU and SMU, the Longhorns concluded the regular season with victories over the Baylor Bears and Texas A&M to win a share of the SWC championship and qualify for the NCAA Tournament for the second time. The Longhorns drew the Tournament co-favorite Washington Huskies for their first game. After falling behind by 13 points in the first half, Texas came back to win 59–55 behind 30 points from John Hargis and 15 from Buck Overall to advance to its first-ever Final Four, where it drew the other Tournament co-favorite, the Wyoming Cowboys.[19] It was then the Longhorns who surrendered an early 13-point lead, as the bigger and stronger Cowboys regrouped to win 58–54, on their way to defeating the Georgetown Hoyas 46–34 for the NCAA championship.[20] Texas finished the season with a 19–7 overall record.

Following the 1943–44 and 1944–45 seasons, in which Gilstrap's Longhorn teams posted overall records of 14–11 and 10–10, respectively, Jack Gray returned as head coach with the end of the Pacific War in August 1945.

Gray took charge of a 1945–46 Texas team that returned only five lettermen—none of whom had ever played under him—and which had very little size, as both forward John Hargis and Robert Summers would be out for the entire season.[21] Little was expected of the Longhorns that season, but Texas managed to win its first seven games. The team's grave liabilities in defense and rebounding against bigger teams were never more evident that year than against defending—and soon-to-be-repeating—national champion Oklahoma A&M (later renamed Oklahoma State University) and its 7'0" All-American center, Bob "Foothills" Kurland. Kurland and the Aggies (later known as the Cowboys) dominated the diminutive Longhorns from start to finish, winning 69–34 in the opening round of the eight-team All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City. The Longhorns dropped the second game of the tournament to fellow SWC member Rice, 55–52. Discussions had begun about the projected need to build a larger arena for UT basketball team. Longhorn basketball had grown significantly in popularity under Gray and Gilstrap's guidance. Sellouts had not been particularly common during the war years, but the University was growing rapidly, and if Texas basketball continued to achieve success, a looming capacity problem was clearly foreseeable. Football and basketball were growing in popularity nationwide, and a spending and building boom was expected to take place in athletics departments around the country. No specific plans for basketball took shape at UT, but discussions of a larger gym or arena continued over the next three years.[22] The Longhorns opened a new season of SWC play with a road win over TCU. Texas was not expected to fare significantly better in two consecutive games against the towering Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville than it had against Oklahoma A&M. The Longhorns acquitted themselves well in a close loss in the first game, 55–47, but the pre-game prognostications came to fruition the following night, as Arkansas routed Texas 90–63 in the second contest. After having lost four of five games, Texas posted an 8–3 record in its final 11 contests to finish with a respectable mark of 16–7 and a third-place conference finish, significantly exceeding preseason expectations for the undersized 1945-46 team.

Returning all but one all but one top player and adding some military veterans and players from the freshman team, Gray's 1946–47 Texas team was thought to have a legitimate chance of winning the SWC championship, along with Arkansas, SMU, and defending SWC champion Baylor.[23] Future Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member and five-time NBA champion guard Slater Martin and forward John Hargis returned to the team to join guards Roy Cox and Al Madsen, who had returned the previous season. All four men, along with three other of that year's letterwinners, had served in the war. Martin, Cox, and Madsen were dubbed the "Mighty Mice."[24] Though the return of Hargis helped, the Longhorns were again a team not possessed of great size, but they did possess great speed and scoring ability. The Longhorns began the season with four blowout wins, the last and closest coming by a score of 46–34 against the Continental Air Liners of Denver. The game against the Air Liners was the last game Texas would play against a semi-professional team, once a routine component of the nonconference schedule, until the 1957 season.[25] Not content to play only overmatched local teams for the remainder of the nonconference slate, Gray wanted to harden his team for the season ahead, and the Longhorns next embarked upon a 10-day, 4,000-mile train trip to face Canisius in Buffalo, Long Island in New York City, and DePaul in Chicago.[26] Texas defeated Canisius 52–46 before traveling to New York for the most-anticipated contest of the trip, the game in Madison Square Garden against Clair Bee's LIU Blackbirds, who were averaging 90 points per game and had recently defeated defending national champion Oklahoma A&M. In front of a strongly pro-LIU crowd of 18,453, the Longhorns upset the Blackbirds, 47–46. Texas next traveled to Chicago to face the DePaul Blue Demons of Ray Meyer, whose team had won the National Invitation Tournament two years earlier, and won the final game of their road trip in a rout, 61–43.[27] Before returning to Austin, the 7–0 Longhorns stopped in Oklahoma City to play in the All-College Tournament. Texas dominated the Missouri Tigers 65–46 before falling to Oklahoma A&M, the two-time defending national champion, in the semifinal by a single point, 40–39. The Longhorns defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in the third-place game the following night by a score of 62–50.[28] With demand for tickets outstripping the seating capacity of Gregory Gym, calls began to grow louder for the construction of a new arena. At the same time, a group of Austin businessmen announced plans for the construction of a 10,000-seat arena adjacent to soon-to-be-built Interregional Highway, the precursor to Interstate 35, and 23rd Street and East Avenue—plans which ultimately did not bear fruit.[29] Texas was only occasionally challenged during the remainder of the regular season, winning its three remaining nonconference games by 29, 24, and 12 points and seven of its first 10 conference games by 12 or more points (and the first 10 SWC contests by an average of 16.6 points).[1] The Longhorns entered the final weekend of the conference season needing only one win in two games against the second-place Razorbacks. In front of more than 8,000 fans at Gregory Gym, Arkansas led for most of the first game before Slater Martin led a late surge to secure the win and the outright conference championship for Texas, 49–44.[30] The pressure to win the SWC championship thus relieved, the Longhorns easily dispatched the Hogs the following night, 66–46, to finish the regular season 24–1 overall and 12–0 in SWC play for their first undefeated conference season since Doc Stewart's 1923–24 team finished 23–0. Texas traveled to Kansas City to face Wyoming in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. Four players from each team had been on the 1943 teams that faced off in the Final Four on Wyoming's way to the NCAA championship.[31] Texas trailed until the final minutes of the second matchup, and Martin's long shot with 35 seconds remaining provided the margin of victory, with the Longhorns winning 42–40 to advance to the Final Four for the second time, where they would face Oklahoma. Despite having defeated the Sooners earlier in the season by 12 points, the Longhorns trailed 53–49 in the final minute of their second contest. Texas scored five points to take a 54–53 lead with seconds remaining, but OU scored on a 40-foot shot as time expired to deal the Longhorns a heartbreaking defeat, 55–54.[32] Texas returned to Madison Square Garden to play the City College of New York in the national third-place game prior to the NCAA championship game between OU and Holy Cross (won by the Crusaders, 58–47).[33] Texas defeated CCNY 54–50 to finish the season with 26 wins and two last-second, one-point defeats.[1]

Slater Martin and Al Madsen returned to the 1947–48 Longhorn team, among others, but this team was short on depth compared to the previous season's Final Four team, with only seven players in Gray's rotation. For the first time in six years, freshmen were barred from playing on the varsity team.[34] Texas started the season 6–0—highlighted by a 51–42 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders and a 51–30 blowout of the LSU Tigers, who proved too slow to handle the speed of another fast and quick Longhorn team—before embarking on another road trip to the Northeast, stopping in New York for the third time in two seasons. In a rematch of the previous season's national third-place game, Texas faced the CCNY Beavers in Madison Square Garden. Texas blew an 18-point first-half lead but withstood a late CCNY rally, holding on to win, 61–59.[35] Texas defeated the St. Joseph's Hawks in Philadelphia, 61–57, before returning to Oklahoma City for the All-College Tournament. There the Longhorns defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by a score of 54–45 and the Alabama Crimson Tide, 40–31, to advance to the title game against Oklahoma A&M. For the second consecutive year, the Aggies defeated the Longhorns by a single point, 32–31, after Bob Harris again provided the winning margin in the final five seconds.[36] During the season, members of the UT Development Board met with several dozen prominent alumni to discuss plans for the construction of a 20,000-seat coliseum, at a cost of roughly $2 million, to be located south of Memorial Stadium. UT architects had already begun to draw up designs for such an arena, but the effort did not progress beyond the planning stages.[37] Texas opened conference play 5–0, pushing its overall record to 16–1, before suffering three consecutive losses to Baylor, Rice, and Arkansas to see its prospects for defending its SWC crown dashed. The Longhorns recovered to win the second game against the Razorbacks in their weekend trip to Fayetteville, 54–43, to halt the losing streak. By the time of the Longhorns' next contest, against Baylor, the Bears were 11–0 in conference play and had already secured the SWC championship. Although Texas could do no better than second place, more than 8,000 fans squeezed into 7,500-seat Gregory Gym to see the Longhorns hand the Bears their only defeat of the conference season, 32–29, after Al Madsen added a layup and a free throw in the final 20 seconds.[38] The win over Baylor landed Texas an invitation to the 1948 NIT with two conference games remaining.[39] (Baylor would go on to advance to the championship game of the 1948 NCAA Tournament, where the Bears fell to Adolph Rupp's Kentucky Wildcats in the first NCAA championship game appearance for either program.) Texas narrowly avoided an upset loss to SMU at home before blowing out Texas A&M in College Station, 54–34, to finish 9–3 and in second place in the SWC play. The Longhorns boarded a train for New York the following morning to face the favored Violets of New York University, led by future fourth overall 1948 draft pick, 16-year NBA star, and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Dolph Schayes. Martin and Madsen led Texas to a 43–39 lead with under four minutes remaining—after Texas had trailed by seven points midway through the second half—but NYU tied the game in the final minute and scored the final basket on a long shot with six seconds remaining to win the quarterfinals game, 45–43.[40] The Longhorns finished the season 20–5, marking the first time in program history that Texas had won 20 or more games in consecutive seasons.[1]

An era of decline (1951–76)[edit]

After two losing seasons during the program's first five years, Texas suffered only one losing season from 1912 to 1950, reaching two Final Fours and one Elite Eight during the first decade of the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns would finish with losing records ten times from 1951 to 1976.[1]

Steep decline (1951–59)[edit]

Thurman "Slue" Hull was hired as men's basketball head coach prior to the 1951-52 season. In his five seasons as the Texas head coach, Hull led the Longhorns to one Southwest Conference championship (1953-54) and finished with an overall record of 60–58 (.508). He was dismissed following the 1955-56 season after his final two teams produced a combined record of 16–32—easily the worst two-year period in the history of Longhorn basketball to that point. Hull was the first Texas coach since W. E. Metzenthin, who coached the basketball team for three years during the program's first five seasons (1909-11), to finish with a Texas career win percentage below .600.[1]

Following Hull's dismissal, Marshall Hughes was hired as the next men's basketball head coach prior to the 1956-57 season. Under Hughes, the Texas basketball program reached the nadir of its existence. Hughes was fired after only three seasons—each with a losing record, and each worse than the one preceding it—with an overall record of 25–46 (.352) after his final team posted a mark of just 4–20.[1]

Players like Raymond Downs, Jay Arnette and Albert Almanza dominated the hoops landscape at Texas. The Longhorns went to no postseason tournaments, and were not ranked at any point in this particular time.

Uneven recovery (1959–67)[edit]

Between coaches Harold Bradley, hired as head coach in 1959, and Leon Black, who directed the basketball team from 1967 to 1976, the Longhorns played in four NCAA Tournaments, two under each coach, as a result of winning the Southwest Conference five times (three times outright) in 17 years.[1]

In Bradley's first season, the Longhorns won the SWC outright to reach the 1960 NCAA Tournament, where they fell to the Kansas Jayhawks by a score of 80–71 in the Sweet Sixteen contest. Texas subsequently lost the Midwest Regional third-place game to DePaul by a score of 67–61. Texas finished the season ranked No. 13 in the UPI Coaches Poll, marking the first time that the basketball team had finished the season ranked since the introduction of the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll for the 1948-49 and 1950-51 seasons, respectively.[4]

Bradley's 1962-63 team again won the SWC outright and reached 20 wins for the first time since Jack Gray's 1947-48 Longhorns. Texas advanced to the NCAA Tournament and defeated the Texas Western Miners by a score of 65-47 in its opening game to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where the Longhorns fell 73–68 to Ed Jucker's defending two-time national champion and fifth-consecutive Final Four participant Cincinnati Bearcats.[1] Texas would go on to win the Midwest Regional third-place game against future Texas head coach Abe Lemons' Oklahoma City Stars by a score of 90–81. The Longhorns finished the season ranked No. 12 in the Coaches Poll.[4]

The 1964-65 Longhorns tied SMU for the conference championship but lost the tiebreaker for the conference's NCAA Tournament berth and thus did not participate in postseason play. In the following two seasons, Bradley's Texas teams posted overall records of 12–12 and 14–10, leading to his dismissal following the 1966-67 season. Bradley finished with an overall record of 123–75 (.631) and a conference record of 73–39 (.716) as Texas head coach.[1]

Resumed decline (1967–76)[edit]

With the hiring of Leon Black prior to the 1967-68 season, Texas entered a period that saw the reversal of most of its progress since the lost decade of the 1950s. Black opened with three losing seasons and one non-winning season before his 1971-72 team finished 19–9, won a share of the conference championship, and reached the 1972 NCAA Tournament.[1] The Longhorns defeated the Houston Cougars 85–74 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, where they fell to the Kansas State Wildcats by a score of 66–55. (This was the final game of the Tournament for Texas, as regional third-place games ceased to be held following the 1967 NCAA Tournament.)

After posting a 13–12 overall record in 1972-73, Bradley's Longhorns recorded three consecutive losing seasons, each with fewer wins and more defeats than the one before. Bradley's 1973-74 team managed to win the SWC championship outright, even with an overall record of 12–15, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where the Longhorns fell to the Creighton Bluejays, 77–61, in the first round.[1]

Following 10–15 and 9–17 seasons in 1974-75 and 1975-76, respectively, Black resigned from his position as Texas head coach. Black finished with an overall record of 106–121 and a record of 63–65 in conference play.[1] Prior to Black, only two Texas head coaches had finished with overall losing records—W. E. Metzenthin (1909-11) and Marshall Hughes (1956-59)—and each had only coached for three seasons. Black coached for nine seasons, only twice finishing with a winning record.[1]

Abe Lemons years (1976–82)[edit]

Following Leon Black's resignation, Texas athletics director and Longhorn head football coach Darrell Royal selected then-University of Texas-Pan American and former longtime Oklahoma City University head coach Abe Lemons as his primary target for the open position. Lemons and fellow Oklahoman Royal agreed to a five-year contract worth roughly $30,000 per year, and Lemons was subsequently introduced as the twentieth Longhorn head basketball coach in the program's 72 seasons.

Thanks to his exuberant personality, quick and acerbic wit, and rare quote-making skill, the cigar-smoking Abe Lemons' growing status as a fan favorite anticipated any of his notable accomplishments in basketball at Texas. Though he and his staff inherited two players that would play central roles on his most successful Texas teams in freshman forward and Los Angeles high school player of the year Ron Baxter and sophomore Auburn transfer Jim Krivacs, Lemons was nevertheless assuming control of a moribund program coming off of three consecutive losing seasons, the last of which featured the then-third-most defeats in the history of the program. Lemons was less than sanguine about the Longhorns' prospects for the 1976–77 season. Asked in a preseason media session if he felt his first Texas team to be worthy of a top-twenty ranking, Lemons replied, "You mean in the state?" After starting the season with a 6–9 record, Texas managed a six-game winning streak against some of the conference's weaker teams before stumbling to a 1–4 finish over the final five games. Despite Lemons' dejected mood following the final game of the season, a loss to Baylor in the final men's basketball game in Gregory Gymnasium, his first team had posted a four-game improvement in its season record over the 9–17 squad of the prior year, finishing 13–13 on the season.

No significant preseason expectations attended the 1977-78 Texas Longhorns, a team that would produce one of the more successful seasons in Longhorn basketball history. After a one-point loss in the opening game against Southern California in Los Angeles, Texas inaugurated the $37-million, 16,231-seat Special Events Center with an 83–76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, the first of eight straight wins. Texas lost 65–56 to fifth-ranked, defending national champion Marquette before posting another nine straight victories, including a 75–69 upset of third-ranked and eventual Final Four participant Arkansas, with its famed "Triplets" (guards Sidney Moncrief, Ron Brewer, and Marvin Delph). The win over Eddie Sutton's Razorbacks vaulted Lemons' Longhorns to a No. 15 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, Texas' first appearance in the poll since a one-week showing at No. 20 in 1949, the inaugural season of the AP basketball poll. Texas would finish the regular season ranked No. 12 in the AP poll with records of 22–4 overall and 14–2 in conference play, sharing the Southwest Conference Championship with the Razorbacks. Despite the impressive season, Texas saw its hopes of playing in the 32-team NCAA Tournament dashed in a two-point loss to Houston in the SWC Tournament Final. Houston claimed the automatic bid to the Tournament, Arkansas received an at-large bid, and the Longhorns were left to accept a bid to the 1978 National Invitation Tournament. Texas would storm through the tournament to reach the NIT Championship Game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, defeating Temple, Nebraska, and Rutgers by an average of over 17 points in the first three rounds. The Longhorns posted an easy 101-93 victory over the Wolfpack to win the NIT Championship behind 22, 26, and 33 points, respectively, from point guard Johnny Moore and 1978 NIT Co-MVPs Ron Baxter and Jim Krivacs. After the end of the 1977–78 season, Abe Lemons was named National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Lemons remains the only men's basketball coach in UT history to earn National Coach of the Year honors.[7]

With its four leading scorers returning, Texas entered the 1978–79 season with a No. 6 ranking in the AP poll and as the near-unanimous favorite to win the SWC championship. The Longhorns struggled early, beginning the season 7–4 and falling out of the AP rankings after a 21-point road defeat to Bill Cartwright and the San Francisco Dons. After another blowout road loss to Texas Tech, Texas regrouped to win three straight road games and 12 of its next 13 games, including a three-point upset of 10th-ranked Arkansas in Fayetteville, a 23-point blowout of Shelby Metcalf's No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies in Austin, and an eight-point win over the 11th-ranked Aggies three weeks later in College Station. During the preceding thirty seasons, Texas had only managed a total of six wins against AP-ranked opponents, and never more than one such victory in a single year. A home loss to 14th-ranked Arkansas was the lone blemish during the 13-game stretch, a game that featured a shouting and shoving episode, famous in SWC lore, between Lemons and Eddie Sutton after Sutton had admonished Texas player Johnny Moore on the court. Police and assistant coaches intervened, but Lemons told the media following the game that if Sutton dared to address his players again, he would "tear his Sunday clothes" and "liquidate his ass." Struggling SMU dealt Texas a shocking defeat in the final game of the regular season, depriving the Longhorns of sole possession of the SWC crown and forcing them to share the conference championship with Arkansas for the second straight season. Following a 39–38 loss to the ninth-ranked Razorbacks in the SWC Tournament Final, Texas received a No. 4 seed and a bye to the second round in the 1979 NCAA Tournament. Texas fell to No. 5-seeded Oklahoma in the tournament to finish the season with a 21-8 overall record and a No. 15 final ranking in the UPI Coaches' Poll. The Longhorns drew an average of 15,886 fans per home game in 1978–79, a school and Erwin Center record that to this point has not been challenged.

The 1979–80 Texas Longhorns returned only one starter, forward Ron Baxter. LaSalle Thompson, 6'10" center and future Longhorn great, joined the program as a freshman. Texas ended the regular season with an 18–10 overall record and a 10–6 conference record, finishing third behind Texas A&M and Arkansas in SWC play. Passed over by the NCAA Tournament selection committee, Texas received a bid to the 1980 NIT, the last postseason tournament a Lemons-coached Texas team would reach. The Longhorns posted a 70-61 win over St. Joseph's before falling to Southwestern Louisiana, 77–76, in the second round to finish with a 19–11 overall record. Baxter, the 1980 Southwest Conference Player of the Year, finished his UT career as the then-all-time school leader in both scoring and rebounding.

The 1980–81 Longhorn team carried little in the way of preseason expectations of success. Even before the season began, the program was embroiled in controversy and turmoil. Lemons had summarily fired assistant Steve Moeller, leading to a caustic public feud between the two men, with each blaming the other for recent disappointing recruiting results. Moeller charged that Lemons' lack of inhibition with regard to public and private criticism of players was damaging the program. Only one of the four players signed in the 1981 class—6'9" forward Mike Wacker—was considered a coveted prospect. Texas opened with a home loss to Pacific. The regular season's zenith, a two-point win over Arkansas in Fayetteville on January 12, did nothing to reverse the team's downward trajectory, with losses to TCU, SMU, North Texas, Rice following shortly thereafter. The Longhorns stumbled to a 10–14 overall record with two conference games remaining. Lemons' habitual sarcasm and indiscriminately acid tongue, heretofore endearing to fans if not academic administrators, began to draw criticism, with some citing his routinely quippish comments as evidence that he failed to take his team's poor performance sufficiently seriously. Nonetheless, just as Lemons began to face notable fan frustration and criticism for the first time at Texas, his team began an unexpected run of late-season success. Lemons' team managed to win the two remaining regular season games as well as three of four games in the SWC Tournament—including a 76–73 victory over No. 15 Arkansas in the semifinal round—to avoid finishing with a losing record. The end-of-season success quelled discontent for the time being, with fans and commentators pointing to the return of LaSalle Thompson, Mike Wacker, and a healthier and more experienced supporting cast as reason for renewed confidence about the near future and optimism about the program's prospects.

While his teams' records and performance had declined since the 1977–78 season, Lemons was not thought to be in danger of losing his job as he entered the 1981–82 season, the first year for new Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds and Lemons' last at Texas. Preseason expectations had Texas posting improvement over the prior season, but the 1981–82 Longhorns were nonetheless not expected to challenge for Southwest Conference supremacy. Texas began the season unranked, only entering the January 12 AP Poll at No. 19 after winning the first ten games of the season. Consecutive double-digit wins over No. 10 and eventual Final Four participant Houston at Hofheinz Pavilion and No. 9 Arkansas in Austin vaulted Texas to No. 7 in the following poll. An 88–71 nationally televised win over South Carolina the following week moved Texas to No. 5 in the AP Poll, the then-highest ranking in program history. Keyed by the performance of 1982 All-American, national rebounding champion, and eventual fifth overall 1982 NBA Draft pick LaSalle Thompson and the much-improved sophomore forward Mike Wacker, the Longhorns had started the season with a record of 14–0, then the program's finest season start in the NCAA Tournament era. Two weeks and five losses later, the Longhorns would drop from the polls altogether. The loss of Wacker to a devastating knee injury in the first half of a 69–59 loss to Baylor, the Longhorns' first defeat of the year, disrupted the team's on-court chemistry and confidence and ultimately derailed the season. Texas would win only two of its final 13 games, finishing the season with a 16–11 overall record.

On March 9, eight days after the Longhorns' final game, DeLoss Dodds announced Abe Lemons' firing. Dodds was not specific as to the reasons, vaguely citing a "series of incidents from this and past years, along with the need for new leadership and direction." The news met with surprise and outrage from players and fans. Lemons, who, despite some struggles, had presided over the resurrection of Texas basketball during the preceding six seasons, professed shock. Even with the collapse following Wacker's injury, there had been no indications that his job was in jeopardy. Privately, though, Dodds had faced pressure from important administrators and boosters to dismiss the popular Lemons ever since he had arrived at Texas the prior autumn. A powerful faction of UT officials and donors felt that Lemons was presiding over an undisciplined program and that he had become excessively and irresponsibly outspoken. His refusal to enforce a curfew or to punish players for missing practices, for instance, had already drawn criticism in the past. A lack of academic progress during his time at Texas was another reflection of a shortage of discipline and another cause for embarrassment for UT officials. Only one player that Lemons recruited to Austin graduated during his tenure. Moreover, his sharp-tongued and indiscriminate public insults and criticism of people ranging from UT administrators and faculty to officials and coaches at other schools to SWC administrators and referees had progressively earned Lemons the ill will and resentment of a growing number of people with influence over UT athletics. Lemons remained a popular figure among fans, but his support among administrators and powerful donors had dissipated. Following the end of the season, the UT Office of the President and the Board of Regents directed Dodds to fire Lemons. The ousted head coach did not leave quietly, commenting that he wanted a glass-bottomed car so that he could see Dodds' face as he ran him over, and adding, "I hope they notice the mistletoe tied to my coattails as I leave town." Despite the acrimonious parting, Lemons would be invited back to reunions in later years and would eventually be inducted into the Longhorn Hall of Honor in 1994.

Lemons finished with an overall record of 110–63 (.636) and a conference record of 58–38 (.604) as Texas head coach.

Bob Weltlich years (1982–88)[edit]

Second-year Athletics Director DeLoss Dodds signaled his determination to change the culture of the basketball program, noting that the next Texas head coach would be expected to oversee significant improvements in players' academic progress and off-court discipline and the near-total elimination of contact between players and boosters. Texas players petitioned in support of Barry Dowd, a long-time Lemons assistant, for the vacant coaching position, but Dodds and UT administrators were intent on severing all connections to the Lemons era. Dodds ultimately chose 37-year-old Bob Weltlich, a former assistant coach under Bob Knight at Army and Indiana who came with Knight's recommendation, from the University of Mississippi to serve as the next Texas men's basketball head coach. Dodds and Weltlich agreed to a five-year contract worth $95,000 per year, and Weltlich was introduced as head coach on April 2, 1982.

Nicknamed "Kaiser Bob" by Longhorn fans for his harshly disciplinarian approach, Weltlich was almost immediately faced with such a manpower shortage from the departures—both voluntary and involuntary—of so many Texas players that he famously had to press Texas male cheerleader Lance Watson into service during the Longhorns' abysmal 6–22 season of 1982–83.[41][42]

Weltlich's next three teams posted yearly improvements in overall records, with the 1985–86 team—which finished with a 19–12 mark and a share of the SWC Championship—representing the zenith of his tenure at Texas. After his teams finished 14–17 and 16–13 in the 1986–87 and 1987–88 seasons, respectively, Weltlich was dismissed with two years remaining on his contract.[3][10]

Weltlich compiled a 77–98 record during six seasons as the head coach at Texas. None of his six teams managed an appearance in the NCAA Tournament; only the 1985–86 team participated in postseason competition, losing 71–65 to Ohio State in the second round of the 1986 National Invitation Tournament.[10] With the combination of poor overall results and an ultra-slow-tempo style of play that fans found unappealing, attendance plummeted from the lofty marks achieved during the tenure of the popular Lemons to an average of barely more than 4,000 fans per game during Weltlich's final season (far below the turnout for Jody Conradt's Lady Longhorns teams at that time).[43]

Tom Penders era (1988–98)[edit]

Tom Penders

Hired from the University of Rhode Island on April 6, 1988 to replace Weltlich as the Texas head coach, Tom Penders rapidly revitalized the moribund Longhorn basketball program.[44]

Months before coaching in his first game at Texas, Penders set about reviving fan enthusiasm for Longhorn men's basketball. He canvassed the state, speaking to every University of Texas alumni chapter and booster club in Texas. Penders called his team the "Runnin' Horns," and he promised an exciting, fast-paced style of play that would stand in stark contrast to the basketball on display during the prior six seasons.

Penders led his first team to a 25–9 overall record, marking the first 20-win season in ten years at Texas and the then-second-highest win total in school history. The Longhorns' on-court success—in combination with Penders' appealing, fast-tempo brand of basketball and his tireless promotion of the Texas program—produced a rise in average attendance from the prior season of almost 149 percent (from 4,028 to 10,011), the largest such increase in NCAA Division I basketball for the 1988-89 season.[43]

For the 1989-90 season, Texas returned its high-scoring trio of guards, Lance Blanks, Travis Mays, and Joey Wright—dubbed "BMW—the ultimate scoring machine" by the Texas sports information department and labeled the third-best set of guards in the country by Dick Vitale. Penders' second team finished 24-9 made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year—a first in Longhorn basketball history—and for only the second time since the Tournament field expanded to 64 teams. Having defeated the Georgia Bulldogs and Gene Keady's Purdue Boilermakers, Texas advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 18 seasons. With a come-from-behind 102-89 win against the 28-4 Xavier Musketeers—in which Blanks, Mays, and Wright combined for 86 points—Texas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 43 years to face its SWC archrival, the Arkansas Razorbacks, for the third time that season. Trailing by 16 points with 12 minutes remaining, the Longhorns mounted a comeback that fell just short, falling 88-85 as Travis Mays' last-second three-point attempt came off the rim. Mays finished the season as the Southwest Conference's all-time leading scorer with 2,279 points.

Penders resigned on April 3, 1998 following a scandal involving the unlawful release of player Luke Axtell's grades to the media. Longhorn players Axtell, Chris Mihm, Gabe Muoneke, and Bernard Smith had met with Texas athletics director DeLoss Dodds "to say that they had lost faith in Penders and his program."[45][46]

In ten years at Texas, Penders' teams appeared in eight NCAA Tournaments, advancing past the first round in all but one appearance. Penders finished as the then-winningest coach in program history, with an overall record of 208–110 (.654).

Rick Barnes era (1998–2015)[edit]

Logo for the 100 years of Longhorns basketball, released in 2006.
The Frank Erwin Center during a UT basketball game.

Hired as the twenty-third men's basketball coach in Texas history on April 12, 1998, Rick Barnes left Clemson University to take over a Texas program coming off of a losing season and "in disarray" following Tom Penders' resignation.[45]

Despite playing with just seven scholarship players for the majority of the 1998–99 season—and opening the season with a 3–8 record—Barnes engineered one of the greatest midseason turnarounds in school history. The Longhorns won 16 of their final 21 games, posting a 13–3 record in conference play and winning the school's first regular season Big 12 Conference championship by a two-game margin. Texas finished the year with a record of 19–13, earning with a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

In 2002, Texas advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the 1996–97 season, and for only the third time since the expansion of the tournament to 64 participants in 1985. The 2003 Longhorn basketball team matched the school record for most basketball victories in a season with their 26-7 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Final Four round for the first time in 56 years, and for the third time in school history. Along the way, Texas earned its highest ranking in school history in both the Associated Press and the ESPN/USA Today polls (No. 2 in both polls on Dec. 2, 2002) and received its first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore point guard T. J. Ford became the first UT male player to earn the Naismith and Wooden Awards as college basketball's National Player of the Year in 2003.

Despite the early departure of Ford to the NBA as the eighth overall pick (Milwaukee Bucks), Texas compiled a 25–8 overall record in 2004 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen round for a school-record third consecutive year. The four senior starters on the 2004 team graduated as the winningest class in school history (98 wins) to that point. In 2006, the Longhorns recorded the program's first 30-win season (30–7), claimed a share of the Big 12 Conference regular season championship, received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and advanced to the Elite Eight (Texas fell to LSU in overtime), marking the fourth time in five years that Texas had advanced to at least the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. The 2006 class, which finished with 101 wins in four years, bested the 2004 class's mark of 98 wins to become the then-winningest class in the history of Longhorn basketball.

The 2005–06 season also marked the hundredth anniversary of basketball at UT. Special logos were placed on the uniforms to commemorate this anniversary.

Rick Barnes

In 2006, the Longhorns introduced blue-chip recruit and future NBA superstar Kevin Durant to Austin. A recruiting class which included in-state talents such as Damion James and D. J. Augustin helped garner unforeseen levels of hype and scrutiny for the Texas basketball program. Durant's spectacular lone season at Texas resulted in his receiving unanimous National Player of the Year honors. The Longhorns, however, saw their season end at the hands of the USC Trojans in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Durant became the No. 2 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the former Seattle SuperSonics, and was the 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In the 2009 NCAA Tournament, Texas earned a No. 7 seed in the East Region. The Longhorns defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the first round by a score of 76–62 behind the sharp shooting A.J. Abrams. The Longhorns' season came to a close with a 74–69 second-round loss at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils. The 2009 graduating class finished with 109 wins, besting the 2006 class's mark of 101 wins to become what remains the winningest class in school history.

During the 2009 recruiting cycle, Texas acquired top-tier prospects Avery Bradley and Jordan Hamilton. Partnered with veteran Damion James, center Dexter Pittman and a solid stable of guards, the Longhorns achieved their first-ever No. 1 ranking in 2010, roaring to a 17–0 start. Texas' fortunes turned upside-down with a 71–62 loss on the road to Kansas State and the ensuing 88–74 loss to Connecticut, beginning a 7–10 finish and raising the pressure for Barnes' Texas teams to reach over the hump, a recurring theme in the head coach's final six seasons in Austin. More of the same occurred in 2011, when Texas garnered two elite prospects in Canadians Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph and had a similar scorching (23–3) start—only to lose the league to Kansas again and fall in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to the Arizona Wildcats. Bradley left the program for the NBA in 2010, and Hamilton, Thompson, and Joseph followed suit in 2011.

In the 2012–13 season, Barnes' Longhorns finished 16–18 and missed their first NCAA tournament since 1997–98—the season prior to Barnes' arrival. This began a slow, yet cascading trend by fans and media to replace what had become Texas' winningest basketball coach. Not much change was expected, but turbulence within the Texas athletic department ensued following Dodds' retirement in 2013. New athletic director Steve Patterson set out to dramatically change the entire Longhorn program, with the resignation of popular football coach Mack Brown following the 2013 football season. Fans and media began to speculate that Barnes' job was at similar risk; even in recruiting—seen as Barnes' specialty—the program could not capture much of the elite Texas talent that had begun to emerge in recent seasons.

After a 2013–14 season in which the Horns defied very low expectations by finishing with a 24–11 record, tying for third place in the Big 12, and reaching the NCAA Tournament, Barnes was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and calls for his job tempered again. The 2014–15 season began with raised expectations from Longhorns fans and media, especially with the signing of top-ranked Dallas-area center Myles Turner. The Horns were ranked as high as No. 6 in the AP and coaches polls, yet only managed to finish sixth in the Big 12 in a very competitive season of conference play. The 20–14 Longhorns' loss to Butler in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament marked the final game coached by Barnes at the University. After declining to meet Patterson's demand that he fire his assistants in order to save his job, Barnes was removed from his post as head basketball coach in late March.

Shaka Smart era (2015–present)[edit]

After many days of deliberation and speculation over who would fill Barnes' post, which included names such as Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall (who was heavily courted by Alabama), Villanova coach Jay Wright and Virginia's Tony Bennett, Texas reached an agreement with Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart on April 2, 2015. Smart was introduced as the twenty-fourth Texas men's basketball head coach the following day at a press conference in Austin.

National honors and awards[edit]

Barnes received his 4th Big 12 Coach of the Year award on March 10, 2014.

Facilities[edit]

Clark Field

Clark Field[edit]

Clark Field, originally known as Varsity Athletic Field, was an on-campus, outdoor stadium that was the original home of the Texas Longhorns men's basketball team, as well as the Longhorn football, baseball, and track teams. The stadium opened in 1887. In its final years, the facility held 20,000 spectators.

The Texas Longhorns men's basketball team moved indoors to the new Men's Gym in 1917.

Men's Gym[edit]

The University constructed the Men's Gym to serve as the temporary home of the Texas men's basketball team pending the construction of a permanent gymnasium. Built for a total cost of $8,500, the all-wood Men's Gym featured a pinewood floor, an electric scoreboard, and seating for 2,500 spectators.

Front façade of Gregory Gymnasium

The Texas men's basketball team played home games in the Men's Gym beginning with the 1917 season until moving into the new Gregory Gymnasium for the 1929-30 season.

Gregory Gymnasium[edit]

Originally built in 1930, Gregory Gymnasium was named after its main advocate and planner, Thomas Watt Gregory. An alumnus of the University, Gregory served on the University's Board of Regents and as United States Attorney General (1914-1919) before the gym was built.

The Texas men's basketball team played home games in Gregory Gymnasium beginning with the 1929-30 season until moving into the Special Events Center (later renamed the Frank Erwin Center) for the 1977-78 season.

Frank Erwin Center[edit]

The Frank Erwin Center

The Texas men's basketball team opened the Frank Erwin Center on November 29, 1977 with an 83-76 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners. The Longhorns won their first 25 games in the Erwin Center before falling to Arkansas in February of 1979.

The building is named for former UT alumnus and Board of Regents member Frank Erwin.[48] Originally known as the Special Events Center, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who had died earlier that year.

Frank Erwin Center during a UT men's basketball game

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) currently accommodates up to 16,540 spectators for basketball games. UT undertook extensive renovations of the facility from 2001 to 2003 at a cost of $55 million, adding, among other things, new and renovated seating, new video and sound systems, new lighting, and 28 suites. As part of the project, UT constructed the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion, a state-of-the-art practice and training facility that sits adjacent to the Erwin Center.

The master plan released in 2013 for the University's new Dell Medical School indicated that the Erwin Center would be demolished in a later phase of construction within six to fifteen years. No decisions have yet been made as to the location and layout of the arena that will replace the Erwin Center.

Denton A. Cooley Pavilion[edit]

Built during the final phase of the renovation of the Erwin Center, the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion opened in the fall of 2003. The two-level, 44,000-square foot building sits adjacent to the Erwin Center and serves as a state-of-the-art practice and training facility for the Texas men's and women's basketball teams. The Pavilion is named for Dr. Denton A. Cooley, a UT alumnus, basketball letterman (1939-41), and pioneering heart surgeon.

The Texas men's and women's basketball teams have separate 9,000-square foot practice court areas, each consisting of one full-court and one half-court practice area with seven basket stations. The practice facility also includes a locker room with a players' lounge, an instructional film theater, a 4,100-square foot strength and conditioning area, an athletic training and hydrotherapy area, an academic resource and activity center, and a coaches' lounge and locker room.

The Cooley Pavilion will demolished and replaced during the same phase of construction of the Dell Medical School as the Erwin Center. As with the Erwin Center, no decisions have been made as to the location or features of the replacement basketball practice and training facility.

All-time season results[edit]

Postseason[edit]

NCAA Tournament results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the NCAA Tournament 32 times. Their combined record is 35–35.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1939 Elite Eight
Regional 3rd Place Game
Oregon
Utah State
L 41–56
L 49–51
1943 Elite Eight
Final Four
Washington
Wyoming
W 59–55
L 54–58
1947 Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place Game
Wyoming
Oklahoma
CCNY
W 42–40
L 54–55
W 54–50
1960 Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Kansas
DePaul
L 81–90
L 61–67
1963 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Texas Western
Cincinnati
Oklahoma City
W 65–47
L 68–73
W 90–83
1972 First Round
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place Game
Houston
Kansas State
Southwest Louisiana
W 85–74
L 55–66
L 70–100
1974 First Round Creighton L 61–77
1979 #4 Second Round #5 Oklahoma L 76–90
1989 #11 First Round
Second Round
#6 Georgia Tech
#3 Missouri
W 76–70
L 89–108
1990 #10 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#7 Georgia
#2 Purdue
#6 Xavier
#4 Arkansas
W 100–88
W 73–72
W 102–89
L 85–88
1991 #5 First Round
Second Round
#12 Saint Peter's
#4 St. John's
W 73–65
L 76–84
1992 #8 First Round #9 Iowa L 92–98
1994 #6 First Round
Second Round
#11 WKU
#3 Michigan
W 91–77
L 79–84
1995 #11 First Round
Second Round
#6 Oregon
#3 Maryland
W 90–73
L 68–82
1996 #10 First Round
Second Round
#7 Michigan
#2 Wake Forest
W 80–76
L 62–65
1997 #10 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#7 Wisconsin
#15 Coppin State
#6 Louisville
W 71–58
W 82–81
L 63–78
1999 #7 First Round #10 Purdue L 54–58
2000 #5 First Round
Second Round
#12 Indiana State
#4 LSU
W 77–61
L 67–72
2001 #6 First Round #11 Temple L 65–79
2002 #6 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#11 Boston College
#3 Mississippi State
#2 Oregon
W 70–57
W 68–64
L 70–72
2003 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
#16 UNC Asheville
#9 Purdue
#5 Connecticut
#7 Michigan State
#3 Syracuse
W 82–61
W 77–67
W 82–78
W 85–76
L 84–95
2004 #3 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#14 Princeton
#6 North Carolina
#7 Xavier
W 66–49
W 78–75
L 71–79
2005 #8 First Round #9 Nevada L 57–61
2006 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#15 Penn
#10 NC State
#6 West Virginia
#4 LSU
W 60–52
W 75–54
W 74–71
L 60–70OT
2007 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 New Mexico State
#5 USC
W 79–67
L 68–87
2008 #2 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#15 Austin Peay
#7 Miami (FL)
#3 Stanford
#1 Memphis
W 74–54
W 75–72
W 82–62
L 66–85
2009 #7 First Round
Second Round
#10 Minnesota
#2 Duke
W 76–62
L 69–74
2010 #8 First Round #9 Wake Forest L 80–81OT
2011 #4 Second Round
Third Round
#13 Oakland
#5 Arizona
W 85–81
L 69–70
2012 #11 Second Round #6 Cincinnati L 59–65
2014 #7 Second Round
Third Round
#10 Arizona State
#2 Michigan
W 87–85
L 65–79
2015 #11 Second Round #6 Butler L 48–56

NCAA Tournament seeding history[edit]

The NCAA began seeding the tournament in 1979.

Years → '79 '89 '90 '91 '92 '94 '95 '96 '97 '99 '00 '01 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '14 '15
Seeds → 4 11 10 5 8 6 11 10 10 7 5 6 6 1 3 8 2 4 2 7 8 4 11 7 11

NIT results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) four times. Their combined record is 6–3. Texas won the NIT Championship in 1978.

Year Round Opponent Result
1948 Quarterfinals NYU L 43–45
1978 First Round
Quarterfinals
Semifinals
Finals
Temple
Nebraska
Rutgers
NC State
W 72–58
W 67–48
W 96–76
W 101–93
1980 First Round
Second Round
Saint Joseph's
Southwestern Louisiana
W 70–61
L 76–77
1986 First Round
Second Round
New Mexico
Ohio State
W 69–66
L 65–71

CBI results[edit]

The Longhorns have appeared in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) one time. Their record is 0–1.

Year Round Opponent Result
2013 First Round Houston L 72–73

All-time series records against conference opponents[edit]

All-time series records against Big 12 members[edit]

Texas men's basketball leads the all-time series against all Big 12 Conference opponents but Kansas (which leads 25-8), Kansas State (17-13), and Oklahoma (52-35).

In series against conference opponents since the advent of the Big 12, Texas trails only KU (which leads 15-6) and OU (23-22).

All-time series records against former Big 12 members[edit]

Texas men's basketball leads the all-time series against all former Big 12 Conference opponents but Missouri (which leads 13-12).

Texas holds a winning record against all former Big 12 members in games played in Big 12 competition.

All-time series records against non-Big 12 former SWC members[edit]

In series against former Southwest Conference members who are not current members of the Big 12, Texas trails only Arkansas (which leads 86-67).

In contests against these opponents since the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, Texas holds the lead against all opponents but Southern Methodist, whom the Longhorns have not played since joining the Big 12. The Longhorns hold the advantage against every opponent in the last five games played and all opponents but Arkansas in the last ten games played against each respective opponent.

Rivalries[edit]

Oklahoma Sooners[edit]

With the formation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, the University of Oklahoma (OU) became The University of Texas' main rival in basketball. Texas and Oklahoma are not traditional rivals in any sport other than football, due to their prior residence in different conferences (UT in the Southwest Conference and OU in the Big Eight Conference), but the mutual enmity from that historic rivalry quickly extended into competition in basketball and other sports in the Big 12. The competitiveness of the Texas and OU basketball programs—which are second and third in all-time Big 12 regular season conference wins, respectively—only accelerated the development of the new basketball rivalry.

The Texas Longhorns and the Oklahoma Sooners play one game in Austin and one game in Norman each year during the regular season. Oklahoma leads the overall series 52-35. OU leads Texas 23-22 in games played since the inception of the Big 12. Texas has held the upper hand in recent years, winning 19 of 25 meetings from 2003 to 2013, but OU currently holds a four-game winning streak in the series (2014–15).

Kansas Jayhawks[edit]

Rick Barnes' tenure also coincided with the emergence of a rivalry between Texas and the Big 12 Conference's traditional national basketball powerhouse, the Kansas Jayhawks. Under Rick Barnes, the Longhorns emerged as Kansas's most consistent competition for Big 12 Conference supremacy. From the inception of the Big 12 through the 2014-15 season, Texas has produced a 202-110 (.647) mark against conference competition during the regular season, trailing only Kansas's record of 258-54 (.826).

The first decade of the 2000s saw the peak of this new rivalry, with the Longhorns at one point trailing Kansas only 5-7 in games played over an almost-nine-season period, and with many of the contests being closely-contested classics. Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Texas has been less competitive both nationally and in the rivalry, trailing Kansas 2-10 in games played since that time.

Texas and Kansas played one game during the regular season until the 2011-12 season, when the two schools began meeting twice per year. Kansas leads the overall series 25-8 and has won 21 of the 28 contests since the Big 12 was formed. Current KU head coach Bill Self is 15-6 in games against Texas since becoming the Jayhawks' head coach prior to the 2003-04 season.

Baylor Bears[edit]

The Longhorns' series with the Baylor Bears has featured more games played than any other UT basketball series, and is also the most lopsided, with the exception of the UT's series against former Southwest Conference opponent Rice and the much more abbreviated series against former Big 12 member Nebraska. Texas leads 161-84 in the overall series with Baylor.

The intensity of the series has grown sharply in recent years with the Bears' emergence as a nationally competitive program under current head coach Scott Drew. Through the end of the 2008-09 regular season, Texas held a 25-3 record against Baylor in Big 12 competition and a 24-0 record against the Bears under Rick Barnes. In games played since the 2009 Big 12 conference tournament semifinals, Baylor holds a 9-6 edge over Texas (though Texas leads 4-1 in the last five games played).

Texas Tech Red Raiders[edit]

Texas and Texas Tech have played at least twice yearly since the 1957-58 season. The Longhorns and the Red Raiders play one game in Austin and one game in Lubbock each year during the regular season.

At the time that UT and Texas Tech entered the Big 12, Texas Tech held a 49-45 lead in the all-time series against Texas. Long-time Red Raider coach Gerald Myers' teams dominated the Longhorns for much of the 1970s and 1980s, with the only interlude of Longhorn success occurring during the six-year tenure of Abe Lemons (1976-82), who finished 8-4 against the Red Raiders. By the time Tom Penders became the Texas head coach prior to the 1988-89 season, Texas Tech held a 43-32 lead in the series. Penders narrowed Texas Tech's lead to 50-49 during his tenure (1988-98). During Rick Barnes' 17 seasons as head coach (1998-2015), the Longhorns posted a 33-4 record against the Red Raiders, for a period of dominance unequaled at any other point in the series.

Texas currently leads the overall series 82-54 and has won 37 of the 42 contests since the formation of the Big 12.

Oklahoma State Cowboys[edit]

The formation of the Big 12 led to the development of a competitive rivalry between Texas and the Oklahoma State Cowboys, two programs that had already compiled a significant series history despite their residence in different conferences since OSU's departure from the Southwest Conference following the 1924-25 season. Between 1941 and 1979, Texas and OSU met 32 times, with the Cowboys winning 21 of the meetings. At the time of the formation of the Big 12, OSU held a 24-19 lead in the all-time series.

The rivalry reached its peak in the early years of the Big 12, above all when the tenures of Rick Barnes and Eddie Sutton coincided at the two schools, a time when both programs were nationally prominent. From the 1999-2000 season through the 2004-05 season, at least one of the two teams was ranked in 13 of 14 total contests, and both teams were ranked at the time of eight of the 14 meetings. In recent years, the rivalry has declined in intensity as both programs have receded from the national spotlight.

Texas and Oklahoma State have played at least twice yearly since 1997, the first Big 12 basketball season. The Longhorns and the Cowboys play one game in Austin and one game in Stillwater each year during the regular season. Texas currently leads the overall series 46-41 and holds a 27-17 lead in games played in Big 12 competition.

Other rivals[edit]

Texas A&M Aggies[edit]

Before the Texas A&M Aggies' departure for the Southeastern Conference at the end of the 2012 academic year, Texas and Texas A&M had played at least twice (and up to four times) yearly since 1917. During their concurrent membership in the Big 12, the Longhorns and the Aggies played two games during the regular season, with the venue alternating between the home courts of each school. No games have been played or scheduled between the two schools since the end of the 2011-12 season. Texas leads the overall series 137-85.

By the time the Big 12 was formed, the in-state rivalry was at a low ebb. The Longhorns had won 18 of the previous 21 contests against the Aggies, dating back to the 1987-88 season. Texas continued to dominate the series in Big 12 play, winning 15 of the first 16 contests between the schools in their new conference. By the time the Aggies hired Billy Gillispie in 2004, the lopsided nature of the series—and the lack of Aggie fan interest in a program that had gone ten consecutive years without a winning season or postseason appearance under prior coaches—had long since diminished the stature of the once-heated rivalry.

With the rejuvenation of the Texas A&M Aggie basketball program under Billy Gillispie (2004–07) and Mark Turgeon (2007–2011), the basketball rivalry between Texas and Texas A&M quickly intensified. The Aggies successfully defended their home court from Gillispie's first year through the 2009-10 season, Mark Turgeon's second-to-last season with A&M. The Longhorns defeated the Aggies in all three games in Turgeon's final season and in both games in Billy Kennedy's first season with the Aggies. Texas is 12-6 against Texas A&M since Gillispie was hired in 2004.

Former Southwest Conference rivals[edit]

Several members of the former Southwest Conference, such as the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas and the Cougars of the University of Houston, still consider the Longhorns to be their primary rivals, despite presently infrequent and irregular competition between Texas and these schools.

Notable players[edit]

Kevin Durant, Texas Longhorn freshman forward and unanimous 2007 National Player of the Year
D. J. Augustin, 2008 Bob Cousy Award Winner
Name Position Seasons Notes
LaMarcus Aldridge PF 2005-06 Four-time NBA All-Star (2012-15)
2007 NBA All-Rookie Team
2006 NBA Draft 1st Round, 2nd pick — Portland Trail Blazers
2006 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year
2006 First-team All-Big 12 forward
D. J. Augustin PG 2007-08 2008 NBA Draft 1st Round, 9th pick—Charlotte Bobcats
2008 Bob Cousy Award winner
2008 Consensus First-team All-American guard
2008 Academic All-American
2008 Unanimous First-team All-Big 12 guard
Ron Baxter F 1977-80 1980 NBA Draft 4th Round, 22nd pick—Los Angeles Lakers
1980 Southwest Conference Player of the Year
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1978–80)
1978 NIT Co-MVP
Abb Curtis G 1922-24 1924 Consensus First-team All-American guard
1924 First-team All-SWC
Kevin Durant F 2007 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player
Six-time NBA All-Star (2010-15)
Five-time All-NBA First Team (2010-14)
Four-time NBA Scoring Champion (2010–12, 2014)
2008 NBA Rookie of the Year
2007 NBA Draft 1st Round, 2nd pick—Seattle SuperSonics
Unanimous 2007 National Player of the Year (seven awards)
2007 Unanimous First-team All-American forward
2007 Big 12 Player of the Year
T. J. Ford PG 2002-03 2003 NBA Draft 1st Round, 8th pick—Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs
2003 National Player of the Year (Naismith and Wooden Awards)
2003 Consensus First-team All-American guard
Daniel Gibson SG 2005-06 2006 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 12th pick (42nd overall)—Cleveland Cavaliers
2005 Big 12 Freshman of the Year
Jack Gray G 1933-35 1935 Consensus First-team All-American guard
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1933–35)
Longhorn basketball head coach (1937–42, 1946–51)
Royal Ivey G 2001-04 2004 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 8th pick (37th overall)—Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks
Cory Joseph G 2010-11 2011 NBA Draft 1st Round, 29th pick—San Antonio Spurs
Jim Krivacs G 1976-79 1978 NBA Draft 6th Round, 4th pick—Kansas City Kings
1978 All-American guard
Two-time All-SWC (1978–79)
1978 NIT Co-MVP
Clyde Littlefield C 1913-16 1916 Consensus First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1915–16)
Acclaimed Longhorn head coach in football (1927–33) and track (1920–60)
Slater Martin G 1946-49 Seven-time NBA All-Star during 11-year career (1950–1960)
1949 First-team All-American guard
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1948–49)
UT's sole Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member (1982)
Travis Mays G 1987-90 1990 NBA Draft 1st Round, 14th pick—Sacramento Kings, Atlanta Hawks
1990 Second-team All-American guard
1989 & 1990 Southwest Conference Player of the Year
Three-time First-team All-SWC (1988–90)
Chris Mihm C 1998–2000 2000 NBA Draft 1st Round, 7th pick—Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers
2000 Consensus First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-Big 12 (1999, 2000)
Johnny Moore G 1977 1979 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 21st pick (43rd overall)—Seattle SuperSonics, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs
1979 First-team All-SWC
LaSalle Thompson C 1980-82 1982 NBA Draft 1st Round, 5th pick—Kansas City Kings, Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets
1982 First-team All-American center
Two-time First-team All-SWC (1981–82)
Tristan Thompson PF 2010-11 2011 NBA Draft 1st Round, 4th pick—Cleveland Cavaliers
2011 Wayman Tisdale Award (USBWA National Freshman of the Year)
2011 Big 12 Freshman of the Year
P. J. Tucker F 2004-06 2006 NBA Draft 2nd Round, 5th pick (35th overall)—Toronto Raptors
2006 Second-team All-American forward
2006 Big 12 Player of the Year
B. J. Tyler PG 1992-94 1994 NBA Draft 1st Round, 20th pick—Philadelphia 76ers
1994 Southwest Conference Player of the Year

Retired numbers[edit]

Other notable players[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "2014-15 Texas Basketball Fact Book" (PDF). texassports.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "2014-2015 Men's Basketball Cumulative Statistics". texassports.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "Timeline: A history of Texas basketball". Austin American-Statesman (Cox Enterprises). November 15, 2005. Retrieved April 18, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "NCAA 2015 Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). NCAASports.com. Retrieved April 4, 2015. 
  5. ^ "NCAA 2015 Men's Final Four Record Book" (PDF). NCAASports.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Foundation and Growth: Images of the University's Early Years: The first men's basketball team, 1906". The Center for American History (The University of Texas at Austin). Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Top 100 Moments in Texas Men's Basketball History". TexasSports.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Longhorns spotlight: A salute to the former lettermen". TexasSports.com. Retrieved May 3, 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online: Southwest Conference". www.tshaonline.org. Retrieved April 19, 2007. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "2004-05 Big 12 Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  11. ^ a b "All-time Longhorn Head Coaches," mackbrown-texasfootball.com
  12. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 542. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 
  13. ^ Pennington, Richard (1998). Longhorn Hoops: The History of Texas Basketball. Austin, TX: Athletic Department, The University of Texas at Austin. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-292-76585-6. 
  14. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 58
  15. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 63
  16. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 67-8
  17. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 68
  18. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 69
  19. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 70
  20. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 70
  21. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 75
  22. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 76
  23. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 78
  24. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 78
  25. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 78
  26. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 78
  27. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 78-9
  28. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 79
  29. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 79
  30. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 81
  31. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 81
  32. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 81
  33. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 81
  34. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 82
  35. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 82
  36. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 83
  37. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 83
  38. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 84
  39. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 84
  40. ^ Pennington (1998), p. 84
  41. ^ "Texas basketball from A to Z," Austin American-Statesman
  42. ^ "How the Longhorns got hot," www.texassports.com
  43. ^ a b "Player's Bio: Tom Penders," UHCougars.cstv.com
  44. ^ "Penders to Texas," New York Times
  45. ^ a b "Rick Barnes Leaves Clemson for Texas", Associated Press
  46. ^ "George Washington; Penders Hired," New York Times
  47. ^ "Big 12 Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). big12sports.com. Retrieved March 18, 2007. 
  48. ^ "University of Texas Facilities". Texas Sports. Retrieved November 10, 2006. 
  49. ^ "Men's Athletics retires nine jersey numbers". TexasSports.com. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 

External links[edit]