Has UTSA become too complacent with Henson?

Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor

For the second straight season, UTSA men’s basketball lost in heartbreaking — yet fitting — fashion in the Conference USA tournament in the lowest-seeded matchup.

For the second straight season, UTSA men’s basketball went 10-22 in the regular season.

It is almost a night-and-day difference between the cultures set in Roadrunner football and basketball. Head football coach Jeff Traylor has positioned his team as the “team to beat” in conference play, while coach Steve Henson’s basketball team has become the “easy game” on opponents’ schedules.

And increasingly, baseball and soccer’s success at UTSA have put themselves in a better position for competitive play than the school’s men’s basketball team.

Henson, who has been at the helm of the men’s squad for seven seasons, has been confirmed by UTSA athletic director Lisa Campos to return for an eighth season, despite the outcry for a replacement.

“After careful evaluation of our men’s basketball program, including candid and open discussions with Coach Henson on the team’s performance and his leadership, he will remain as head coach for the 2023-24 season,” Campos said in a statement on March 10.

Henson is under contract through the 2023-24 season and would take a $400,000 buyout if the university had decided to go in another direction at head coach.

“Coach recognizes that we have high expectations at UTSA for all of our athletic teams and that this year’s men’s basketball season did not meet those expectations.”

Despite Campos’ optimism about returning Henson for an eighth season, Henson has led the team to a 99-123 overall record in seven seasons as the Roadrunners coach.

The most jarring, not-so-fun fact is that UTSA men’s basketball is 48-74 in its last four seasons, appearing to head in an even worse direction.

Since the news of Henson’s return for what seems to be his final season, there have been seven different Roadrunners to enter the transfer portal.

The list of players includes DJ Richards, Japhet Medor, Lachlan Bofinger, Azavier Johnson, Aleu Aleu, Jacob Germany and Lamlin Sabally.

Though it can be unfair to speculate reasons why student-athletes may leave a program, it is safe to say that if the players were on board with where the program was heading, half of the roster would not want to jump ship.

However, it may be wise to keep Henson for his final season under his current contract. As UTSA joins the American Athletic Conference in the fall of 2023, the Roadrunners can use the first season as a trial run.

The new, uncharted territory will give UTSA an evaluation of the new opponents and environments. With a coach who may have nothing to lose, along with basically a new roster, the Roadrunners can simply feel out the 2023-24 season.