Smart rejects N.C. State, staying at VCU

Posted: 05/04/2011 in NCAAB
Shaka Smart signs new 8-year deal at VCU

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Calling his contributions to the school “unquantifiable,” VCU signed Shaka Smart to a new eight-year deal as men’s head basketball coach.

The contract was announced Monday, two days after VCU’s improbable run in the NCAA Tournament ended with a Final Four loss to Butler. It came amid reports that NC State had offered Smart its head coaching vacancy.

“True to form, coach Smart’s primary concerns were about his players, coaches and the overall support of the basketball program,” athletics director Norwood Teague said in a statement.

“We are honored that he has decided to stay a VCU Ram. He embodies everything that is right about college athletics, and VCU is ecstatic about the future under his leadership.”

Smart, 33, guided the Rams to a 55-21 records in his first two seasons at the helm, including a 28-12 record this past season.

After the selection committee was widely criticized for including VCU in the NCAA Tournament, the 11th-seeded Rams made a thrilling run from the First Four to the Final Four, including an upset of top-seeded Kansas in the regional finals.

No VCU team had ever won more than one game in the tournament prior to this year.

Smart said in a statement that he was grateful for the belief the school has had in his program and its coaches.

“Their support, in addition to the bright future that our student-athletes possess, make VCU a very special place for me to be the head basketball coach,” Smart said. “I’m very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for both our program and our university.”

Terms of the contract will be released when the contract is fully executed, the school said.

– Steve

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