After a sub-par 19-14 season, a first-round exit in the NCAA tournament, and the resignation of Head Coach Gael Goestenkors, the Texas women’s basketball team has been faced with an onslaught of questions regarding their future. The biggest question has been: who can return the program to its winning ways? Today, UT thinks it’s found the answer.
Karen Aston has been named the new head coach of the Texas women’s basketball team, becoming the fourth coach in the history of the program. Aston worked previously as an assistant to former UT women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt and as a head coach at North Texas and Charlotte. As an assistant to Hall of Famer Conradt, Aston was part of the staff that took the Longhorn team to its last Final Four appearance in 2003.
“Jody [Conradt] molded me in my career and I have an enormous amount of respect and love for what she means to this university,” Aston says. “My goals and my ambitions are to carry on the tradition of Texas women’s basketball. I’m excited about the challenge and thrilled to be a part of the storied Texas tradition.”
Tradition aside, Aston has her work cut out for her. Since the 2005-2006 season, Texas has yet to finish any year ranked in the national polls, and failing to advance beyond the second round of the NCAA tournament. But UT believes Aston has the credentials and fortitude to turn things around. As a head coach at Charlotte, Aston piled up victories in record numbers for the school, and remade a 5-win North Texas team into a 15-win team during her one year of coaching there.
Aston’s greatest asset, though, may be her ability to recruit. As an assistant at UT, she signed seven McDonald’s High School All-Americans and secured the No. 1 ranked recruiting class during the 2005-2006 season. UT is excited and hopeful that Aston will bring that recruiting success back to the Forty Acres.
While Aston celebrates her return to Austin, another coach is on her way out. The Texas Women’s Athletic Department announced that Kim Brackin is no longer head coach of the women’s swimming program. No explanation was given, but an official statement noted: “The search for a new head coach commences immediately.”
Photo courtesy UT Athletics.