Students react to Wojo’s dismissal and Shaka Smart’s Hiring

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Shaka Smart and his wife Maya walk into his introductory press conference March 29 in the Al McGuire Center. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette University recently decided to part ways with men’s basketball coach Steve Wojciechowski March 19 and hired Shaka Smart as his replacement. 

Kolbe Donoghue, a first-year in the College of Business Administration, said that the dismissal of Wojciechowski will benefit the team for the upcoming season. 

“I feel that Marquette has had too much talent in recent years to not make deep tournament runs, so a change in leadership is definitely a step in the right direction,” Donoghue said. 

Donoghue expressed his frustration with Marquette not making the NCAA March Madness tournament this year. 

“Overall, it’s disappointing that they are not in the tournament,” Donoghue said. “They certainly have the talent and they’ve shown that they can beat anybody, but they couldn’t put it together consistently enough as a team to have a successful season.”

Donoghue said what he hopes to see in the 2021-2022 season with new head coach Shaka Smart, a Wisconsin native that previously coached at the University of Texas for six years.

“I hope to see a team that is willing to make individual sacrifices to benefit the team as a whole,” Donoghue said. 

Sam Gutierrez, a sophomore in the College of Communication, said that Marquette was not given an opportunity to succeed this season because of Wojciechowski’s coaching.

“I’ve been torn as to whether or not I like the guy, and I really wanted to give him a chance this season,” Gutierrez said. “But his abysmal coaching job this year has been disappointing, to say the least, especially with a team with such talent.”

Gutierrez said his disappointment, along with the rest of Marquette basketball fans, would continue if Wojciechowski remained head coach. 

“I hate looking at the statistics, because there are a lot of contributing factors, but no NCAA tournament win in seven years, especially when we were in a good position, is frustrating,” Gutierrez said. “I think if Wojciechowski stayed, the trajectory would be little to nothing.” 

Nathan Marzion, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the release of Wojciechowski will improve the program.  

“I was happy about it from a program standpoint because it was the right move to make,” Marzion said. “The results weren’t there and the production wasn’t there and there were a lot of consistencies every year.” 

Marzion said that he has been a Marquette fan since 2008-2009, and the past few seasons have been upsetting. 

“It’s a program that experiences a lot of success and so when you come in and you’re just not getting those results in the tournament in March, or when it matters, then the fanbase begins to grow impatient,” Marzion said. 

Marzion said that consistency will be key to having Marquette be a successful team.

“I do think coach Smart will bring a better defensive team, because he has been consistently a good defensive coach,” Marzion said. “I’m hoping he can improve the defense, so that we can be a top 40-50 defensive team in the nation.” 

Marzion praised Wojciechowski’s efforts in attempting to create a successful basketball program at Marquette.

“He’s a very good recruiter and I wish he could have been the guy,” Marzion said. “He represented the program really well, but the results just weren’t there.”

Tate Herbst, a junior in the College of Engineering, said that the actual firing of Wojciechowski was a shock to him.

“I thought with COVID he would get one more year to prove himself, however, he has never been able to run an offense or get wins when they counted,” Herbst said. 

Herbst said that he enjoyed watching the Marquette games this past season, despite Marquette’s record being 13-14 for the 2020-2021 season.

“I really liked how they scheduled tougher non-conference games this past season, so that is something that I hope they keep doing,” Herbst said.  

In Wojciechowski’s seven seasons at Marquette,  his record was 128-95. He only made two NCAA appearances, with no recorded wins.

This story was written by Natalija Milesunic. She can be reached at natalija.milesunic@marquette.edu