Shaka Smart Illinois: VCU Will Win Upset and Keep Coach from Fighting Illini
VCU is fighting a losing battle to keep their famed head coach from leaving to helm the Illinois basketball program. It's a good thing the Rams are used to exceeding expectations.
Money talks once again. In fact, the stuff can't keep it's mouth shut in regards to VCU head coach Shaka Smart and a lucrative offer on the table from Illinois.
The Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan reports money is being thrown in Smart's general direction in hopes that he bites.
In hopes of luring Smart, Illinois has guaranteed facility renovations, a long-term contract and a salary near the top of the Big Ten. His annual compensation would be comparable to that of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, who makes more than $3 million per year according to USA Today salary reports.
According to the report, Smart earned $1.285 million last season after getting a much deserved pay raise after a stirring Final Four finish.
CBS Sports is reporting a new deal with the Fighting Illini would be in the range of $2.5 million, a figure that sane people just don't turn down.
Then again, driven people with an unfinished job might also turn it down.
It's important to consider that the offer from Illinois is not a once in a lifetime offer for Smart, because this man has built something special at VCU.
Where will Shaka Smart coach next season?
National powerhouses are well aware that Smart is the heir apparent to some grander program on the horizon, but they will not fault him for seeing things out with a VCU program that is coming off a Final Four appearance and very nearly beat a great Indiana team to once again sneak into the Sweet 16.
Smart is a winner and that is something that translates very well nationally. He can turn this offer down and still expect more offers to pour in.
He will welcome back every player on the Rams roster next season, save senior Bradford Burgess.
Yet, another run at the Final Four is not out of the question, because that is what this program does, shattering the norm at every turn.
The next great upset for VCU will be retaining Shaka Smart for another magical run next season.
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