Texas coach Shaka Smart had ‘significant symptoms’ from COVID-19

An emotional Shaka Smart on Monday said he experienced “significant symptoms” in his bout with COVID-19.

In his first meeting with reporters since announcing on Jan. 25 that he had tested positive, the Texas head coach was reticent talking about his fight with the coronavirus. He did so while preparing the No. 6 Longhorns for an epic Big 12 battle against No. 2 Baylor on Tuesday night.

“I’ll be honest with you, I had significant symptoms from it. So, this was not a walk in the park for me,” Smart said. “Not saying it has been for anyone else. And I definitely … when you go through that kind of stuff, it certainly swirls some things around your mind. So that’s a much longer conversation than we have time for now. I’ll be happy to talk to you about it sometime, maybe after the season.

“I wasn’t at home. I was in isolation. I had to leave home to be away from my family. I’m not really going to talk much about that (what he was doing when his team played). I can talk about the game itself, but I’m not going to talk about myself.”

Shaka Smart
Texas Longhorns coach Shaka Smart. (Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)

Sunday was the first time in 19 days that the Longhorns (11-3, 5-2 Big 12) practiced with no players in quarantine, and Smart said he’s hopeful that he’ll have a full roster available for Tuesday’s game against the Bears (16-0, 8-0).

“It’s easy to take something for granted if you get to do it every day. But if you go 19 days without having a full group together, and then you get to be back, particularly for me it just happened to be my first day out of isolation,” Smart said. “It’s a very emotional and like moving thing, even just to be out there trying to get better at guarding a ball screen or transition defense or whatever it may be.”

Smart missed just one game, the Longhorns’ 80-79 loss to No. 24 Oklahoma, the day after his COVID announcement. Tuesday’s game will be just the second for Texas since Jan. 16.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)