Vic Schaefer leaves big shoes to fill for Mississippi State women’s basketball team

Vic Schaefer has decided to take the women’s basketball head coaching job at Texas, and replacing him at Mississippi State won’t be an easy task.

There were many who thought Vic Schaefer would be the first head coach to lead a Mississippi State team sport to a national championship. Over the past eight seasons, he’s built a powerhouse in the Bulldogs women’s program, but now athletic director John Cohen will have to begin the search for his replacement.

Schaefer announced that he is leaving Mississippi State to take the same job at the University of Texas, heading back to his home state.

It won’t be a simple task to replace Schaefer, who took the Bulldogs to the Women’s National Championship Game in both 2017 and 2018, going 221-62 in his eight seasons at Mississippi State, including this year’s SEC Tournament, and posted a 16-5 overall record in the NCAA tournament – third only to UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey.

This one hurts, folks.

“I certainly feel really fortunate and just truly humbled to be entrusted with the opportunity to build on the years of success and help lead the Longhorns back where they belong — among the nation’s elite,” Schaefer said in a prepared statement.

Who Can Step In To Replace Vic Schaefer?

So now who will continue to lead the Bulldogs and keep them among the elite? The answer is anyone’s guess. We’ve seen legendary women’s coaches step down at programs like Tennessee and Georgia and watch the teams struggle mightily afterward. Hopefully, Mississippi State will find a better fate post-Schaefer.

Schaefer will leave Mississippi State with the best overall winning percentage of any women’s basketball coach, and is second in total wins only to legendary head coach Sharon Fanning-Otis. The program’s only regular season and tournament SEC championships came under Schaefer as well.

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For a program that was clearly on the brink of breaking through and winning it all, this has to be a huge disappointment to the players. John Cohen told the Clarion-Ledger, “In my estimation, this is a group of really tough, forward-thinking young women who know that we’re going to go out and find the best possible candidate for our job.”

It will be interesting to see what names pop up on the list of candidates.

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