Shaka Smart to stay at VCU, contract extended to 2023

VCU and Coach Shaka Smart have agreed to the principles of a new contract.

Update #3 — March 28, 2013; 9:45 AM

“We’re extremely thankful for the tremendous belief shown in us by Dr. Rao, Ed McLaughlin and VCU. We’re also incredibly appreciative of the phenomenal fans that support our program and university. We are very excited about the challenges that lie ahead and the student-athletes that we have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. Our goal will always remain to progressively move our student-athletes forward on and off the court.” Coach Shaka Smart

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Update #2 — March 27, 2013; 9:16 PM

It’s official, Virginia Commonwealth University and Coach Shaka Smart have agreed to the principles of a new contract. The contract is reported to extend through 2023 and be worth $1.5 million annually in addition to incentives.

RICHMOND, Va. (March 27, 2013) – Shaka Smart will remain Virginia Commonwealth University’s head men’s basketball coach, the school announced late Wednesday.

Changes in his contract have been agreed to in principle, and the details are being finalized, officials confirmed late today.

“Coach Smart has demonstrated through this process that he is loyal to VCU and his greatest concern lies with our program moving forward every year,” said VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin. “Our goal was to present him with a revised agreement proactively rather than wait for another institution to step in with an offer.

“I believe we accomplished our goal,” McLaughlin said.

The majority of contract changes involve program enhancements for the student-athletes and coaches. McLaughlin said the proposed agreement extends the years of the contract and includes incentives to reward Coach Smart for his loyalty and success.

“VCU could not ask for a better icon to represent the university’s academic and athletic rise as a top 50 public research university,” VCU President Michael Rao said. “Coach Smart and our scholar-athletes represent the commitment of every VCU student, faculty and staff member to achieve excellence and success in every activity and aspect of our important mission as a national research university.”

Smart’s record is 111-37 in four years at VCU, the most wins over any four-year stretch in VCU history and the sixth-most in the country over the past four seasons. The 111 wins also is the second highest for any NCAA Division I head coach through their first four seasons.

In VCU’s first year in the A-10 Conference, Smart led the team to the championship game and then on to third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th overall. The Rams won an NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year, marking the first time in school history that has occurred.

VCU set a new single-season total attendance record, and with all 17 home games being sellouts VCU extended its consecutive home sellout streak to 35, which ranks as the fifth-longest active streak in the country. Additionally, VCU made 21 appearances on national TV this year, the most in school history.

Before coming to VCU, Smart was an assistant to University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan. He also was an assistant coach at Clemson, the University of Akron, the University of Dayton and at California University of Pennsylvania.

Smart played college basketball at Kenyon College in Gambler, Ohio, where he graduated magna cum laude with a history degree. He also earned a master’s degree in social science from California University of Pennsylvania.

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Update #1 — March 27, 2013; 8:26 PM

Several sources, including USA Today, are reporting that VCU and Coach Shaka Smart have agreed to a restructured and extended contract. Smart will now make around $1.5 million, and his contract has been extended to 2023.

Smart’s deal will run through 2023, and he will make about $1.5 million per year, the person said. The school is expected to put out a release Wednesday night. first reported news of Smart’s extension Wednesday night.

Talks this week focused less on compensation and more on ways to improve the program, such as travel. VCU and Smart did not begin discussing his contract until the Rams’ season ended, and the school is happy that it’s locked up its coach, a rising star in the coaching profession.

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Original — March 26, 2013

Tuesday afternoon, Ram Radio host Wes McElroy reported that VCU and Coach Shaka Smart are working to restructure his contract.

I’ve been told by a reliable source that VCU is actively working on restructuring Shaka Smart’s contract and working to make it so he stays here for quite sometime. Was told “Shaka wants to stay here.”

Since going to the 2011 NCAA Final 4, Coach Smart has had his fair share of suitors. NC State offered him a job in 2011, but Smart passed as he watched his salary triple from around $400,000 to $1.2 million. In 2012, Illinois offered, but again Smart passed while renegotiating his contract. Smart’s current contract has a base salary of $1.36 million, but he took home more than $1.5 million this year because of bonuses.

Minnesota and UCLA were the biggest threats this offseason. On Monday, former VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague fired former VCU assistant coach Tubby Smith after six seasons. The personal relationship between Smart and Teague made some fans nervous even though Minnesota could be considered a less attractive job than Illinois.

UCLA, a program that has won eleven national championships, fired head coach Ben Howland on Sunday despite a 230-105 record over ten seasons. Howland and the Bruins fell short in the national championship game in 2006 before returning to the Final 4 in 2007 and 2008. It is by far the most prestigious program to threaten Smart’s tenure in Richmond.

Keeping Smart has been the Rams’ number one priority every March. By the end of the week, Richmond, Ed McLaughlin, and Ram fans everywhere should be able to breathe a little easier – at least for another year.

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Aaron Williams

Aaron Williams loves music, basketball (follow @rvaramnews!), family, learning, and barbecue sauce.

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