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Once again, Texas women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer adds Elena Lovato to his staff

Danny Davis
Austin American-Statesman
Texas women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer addresses the team after a 78-56 victory over the Utah Utes in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship at the Frank Erwin Center on Sunday March 20, 2022.

A new-look coaching staff at Texas will feature a familiar face.

The women's basketball program at Texas announced on Friday that Elena Lovato has joined the Longhorns as an associate head coach. Lovato replaces Dionnah Jackson-Durrett, who held that job title before taking over the program at UMKC last month.

Lovato, 42, and the fans at Texas do not need an introduction. She worked as an assistant coach for the Longhorns during the 2020-21 season. Lovato spent the past season outside of the coaching profession.

"It’s a great day for Texas women’s basketball in announcing the return of Elena Lovato as my associate head coach here at The University of Texas,” UT coach Vic Schaefer said in a statement. “Coach Lovato and I have served together for many years, and we’ve had great success with our teams over the course of those seasons."

This is not the first time that Schaefer has hired Lovato. She joined his staff at Mississippi State ahead of the 2014-15 season and then rejoined the Bulldogs in 2018 after a two-year stint as the head coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith. Schaefer also retained Lovato when he moved from Mississippi State to Texas after the 2019-20 season.

In total, Lovato has worked for five seasons under Schaefer. Lovato has also been a head coach at Arkansas-Fort Smith, Trinity Valley Community College and Grayson College during her career.

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Lovato won't be the only assistant coach hired by Schaefer this offseason. Schaefer also needs to replace April Phillips, who was hired as San Jose State's head coach, and Calamity McEntire, who left for a job at Illinois.

Texas went 29-7 this past season. The Longhorns reached the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in two seasons under Schaefer.