Texas coach Shaka Smart and assistant Mike Morrel celebrate after taking the lead against West Virginia at Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday, Feb 16, 2016. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Men's Basketball

Shaka Smart addresses staff shakeup with Lucas and Morrell

Posted June 22nd, 2016


Texas coach Shaka Smart said the decision to reshuffle his men’s basketball staff this spring boiled down to wanting to hold onto Jai Lucas, whom Smart kept away from TCU by promoting him to an assistant coaching role.

“He’s got a real connection to this program, the players here, the former players here, and obviously the city of Houston,” Smart said. “It was very obvious to me this is a guy we needed to have here.”

Lucas, a former UT player and a holdover from Rick Barnes’ staff, spent last season as Smart’s director of operations, a role that limited his involvement in recruiting and on-court coaching.


To make room on the bench for Lucas, Smart demoted Mike Morrell to a newly created title, director of program development. Smart said he’ll be working alongside Morrell on various projects and in organizing recruiting.

“For him, it’s an opportunity for some real personal and professional growth,” Smart said. “One of the things that’s terrific is he’s looking at it that way, too. “Mike is gonna be a head coach relatively soon, but he realizes there are certain areas where needs to continue to grow and I want to help him with that.”