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Shaka Smart reportedly turns down UCLA, will stay at VCU after contract extension

Mar 27, 2013, 8:09 PM EDT

Shaka Smart AP

Shaka Smart’s services are off the market.

The 35-year-old Virginia Commonwealth head coach will remain with the Rams after signing a contract extension that will keep him in Richmond through the year 2023, Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated is reporting.

According to the report, Smart will get a $300,000 raise and now make $1.5 million in guaranteed money. He also worked to negotiate raises and perks for his staff and players, as well as travel improvements for the program. This is his second raise since leading the Rams to the Final Four in 2011.

Smart’s name has been at the center of speculation for a number of possible high-major coaching vacancies, including at UCLA, USC, and Minnesota. He is no stranger to being talked about as a candidate would could make the leap to another school, having been considered a candidate for jobs at Illinois and North Carolina State in the past.

Since that 2011 run from the First Four to the Final Four, Smart has led the Rams to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. VCU finished 27-9 this season, including 12-4 in the program’s first year in the Atlantic 10.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

  1. bleedtwincitiessports - Mar 27, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Dang, Was hoping he was coming to Minnesota!

  2. brianjoates - Mar 27, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    Good for him. Now he doesn’t go to a school where the football program decides where he will play his games. The A-10 is a good basketball conference and will continue to get better. Hopefully the A-10 and Big East will spark up a rivalry.

  3. mnposter - Mar 27, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Although it sounds like there are some clear incentives being built in, I sort of thought that he’d get more for the interest he generated. That said, I imagine he’ll only last a few more years there and will sooner than later make a jump.

    • vcupats - Mar 28, 2013 at 6:04 AM

      If he didn’t jump for UCLA then who’s he going to jump for? Shaka is building a program for the long-haul.

  4. lawrinson20 - Mar 27, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    I’m a bit disappointed. I would have hoped he would move on to a different type of challenge. UCLA would let him recruit at a higher level, where he could mount a more consistent threat to a national championship. Oh, well. Now I can just hope he’s waiting for Boeheim to retire.

  5. cranespy - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    wow……I am pleasantly surprised. I thought for certain the lure of returning the Bruins to their once dominant status would be something that may appeal to Shaka.

  6. drewvt6 - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:42 AM

    Not sure if the coach who can, “return the Bruins to their once dominant status” exists out there.

  7. hoosiercolts - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    I thinks it awesome that a guy is willing to stay with a program and build it instead of jumping for the almighty dollar. Shaka gets mad respect from me.

  8. kirschmania - Mar 28, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Good for him. It’s refreshing to see a guy not get lured to a bigger program. Start your own history. Create a new big time program, Shaka!

  9. mostdiggity - Mar 29, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Almighty dollar? Damn, when did $1.5MM become chump change? At any rate, it is refreshing to see the once heralded trait (now considered stupidity) of loyalty poke its head out of the morass. Shaka is a Smart guy. He understands that happiness is not only about money, but there are many facets which make staying in Richmond more appealing for his future plans.

    Passing up the UCLA is quite impressive considering he would be the toast of L.A. and given all the tools he needed to succeed. But, it also signifies that Shaka thinks there he is more than Johnny-come-lately.

  10. mostdiggity - Mar 29, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    ooops, poor edit.

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