Every day since his VCU Rams were eliminated from the NCAA tournament, experts have been pointing at bigger, historic programs like UCLA or Minnesotta as suitors trying to lull Shaka Smart away from the program that he took to a Final Four two seasons ago. Makes sense, right? After all, Cinderella runs are fun and all, but isn’t a college basketball coach’s biggest dream patrolling the sidelines for a historic program like UCLA?
At least with Smart – at least for the time being – the answer is no. According to ESPN, Smart will remain with VCU despite getting offers from schools with more prestigious histories than Virginia Commonwealth. Per VCU AD Ed McClaughlin:
“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. Our goal was to present him with a revised agreement proactively rather than wait for another institution to step in with an offer.”
If there’s an antithesis to John Calipari, it’s probably Smart. The grass would probably be greener over in Westwood, at least from a publicity standpoint, but by committing to the house he built in Virginia, he has an opportunity to become the face of a basketball powerhouse. And before you claim “powerhouse” to be too hyperbolic, if there’s a sport that doesn’t require greatness to be a card-carrying member of a major conference, it’s college basketball.
Look out for VCU and the “Havoc” defense to keep making waves, next year and beyond with Smart remaining at the helm of the program.