VCU Coach Shaka Smart Extended Until 2023
One of the most talked about names in college coaching, VCU Coach Shaka Smart, has agreed to a contract extension with the Rams. Smart led the Rams to the NCAA Tournament this year, but they were prematurely ousted in the third round to Michigan.
Teams rumored to be looking into Smart for their recently vacant coaching positions were UCLA and Minnesota. Both teams would've brought with them more money greater acclaim, but Smart is content coaching VCU. After the Rams made it all the way to the Final Four in 2011, Smart has remained a hot name on the market.
It's clear why Smart would choose to stay with VCU. The style that he runs is extremely up-tempo and he's already recruited his current team to fit his coaching. At a new school, Smart would have to start over and get the players that he knows can run his system. Also, Smart looks like an amazing coach any time he can lead his squad to an NCAA Tourney berth. At UCLA or Minnesota, not reaching the tourney in any year would be seen as a huge failure for him and the team. He's content coaching in the A-10, where the competition is good but not quite Big 10 level.
Smart's decision to stay at VCU leaves the door open for other young coaches to make the move to a bigger school. Butler Coach Brad Stevens, Memphis Coach Josh Pastner, and Florida Gulf Coast University Coach Andy Enfield now become the most sought after coaches in college basketball. I'd doubt any of these guys would leave their current schools even if they receive a lucrative offer.
Smart has done an incredible job with the Rams over the past three seasons, and I'd bet that the team will be back in the NCAA tourney next season. Don't be shocked if you see other small school teams around the country try and copy the unique system Shaka Smart has developed for his team.