Texas may have been the program to finally pry Shaka Smart away from VCU, and while the Longhorns will be able to bring Smart’s style of play to Austin, it does not appear that the brand will be going with him.
Smart’s success in Richmond was built around the ‘Havoc’ style of play that he incorporated, a full court press that was designed around forcing turnovers, making opponents uncomfortable and tiring teams out. The school registered an official trademark on the term back in 2012, and the VCU fans and city at-large completely bought-in.
Smart invigorated a fan-base that loves basketball, and that played a role in why so many of his former assistants have now landed head coaching jobs around the country. His replacement, Will Wade, spent two seasons trying to launch ‘Chaos’ at Chattanooga before he got the job at VCU, and his plan will be to keep building on ‘Havoc’.
That’s bad news for Texas. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
The University of Texas has withdrawn its applications to federally register variations of the “Havoc” trademark that is widely associated with Virginia Commonwealth University’s basketball team.
Texas filed an express abandonment of its application to register the marks “HORNS HAVOC” and “HOUSE OF HAVOC” on April 29 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The report does say that Texas is not necessarily precluded from using ‘Havoc’ or applying to register a different trademark in the future.
But it does appear that Smart is going to have to find a different way to brand and market his basketball program. It will be an important part in developing the program. One of the biggest reasons that VCU was so tough to beat at home was that the Siegel Center was always rocking, with a loud and talented pep band and a crowd that understood how important their role was in ‘Havoc’.
In a state and at a school where football comes first, second and third, can Smart generate that kind of interaction with the crowd?