As teams slowly fall out of the NCAA tournament, the coaching carousel quickly starts turning.
In the case of Shaka Smart, whose VCU team was eliminated in the round of 64 by Stephen F. Austin, the 36-year-old coach's name has always been popular in coaching searches.
Now, Smart has taken his name out of consideration for other potential gigs and will stay with VCU following rumors that he could leave VCU for Marquette. ESPN's Adam Finkelstein was first to report a synopsis of Smart discussing his future:
Shaka Smart spoke to VCU commits & their coaches yesterday & assured them he isn't going anywhere— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) March 25, 2014
Tim Pearrell of the Richmond Times-Dispatch quickly followed with a statement from VCU AD Ed McLaughlin discussing Smart's status with VCU:
#VCU AD Ed McLaughlin says this a.m. that "Shaka Smart is our men's basketball coach" after erroneous reports about Marquette job on Mon.— Tim Pearrell (@timpearrelltd) March 25, 2014
The move might come as a surprise for some, but Smart has built a solid foundation at VCU and will continue to push the program forward as head coach.
Zac Johnson of Fox Sports Ohio gave his thoughts on the potential move to Marquette before Smart decided to stay at VCU:
If Shaka turned down all those other jobs and then accepts Marquette this is a stranger business than I even thought it was.— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) March 24, 2014
Michael Hunt of the Journal Sentinel also explained why Marquette would make for a popular destination for a young head coach:
On the plus side, Marquette spends more money on men's basketball than anybody in the country except Duke. It plays in an NBA arena. The Al McGuire Center is as good as any practice facility in the country.
The coach lives like Henry VIII with a top-10 salary and absolute control. It puts players in the NBA. A Marquette degree is also a selling point should the coach insist on classroom attendance.
Will Smart be successful at Marquette?
Smart coached for five seasons at VCU and went 137-46 during his tenure. During his time, Smart built the program from a virtual unknown outside of basketball circles to one that was a threat to win the Atlantic-10 and potentially make a run every season, as it did in 2011 when the Rams made the Final Four.
He was an assistant at Akron, Clemson and Florida before former being hired by VCU in 2009. Despite getting bounced in their NCAA tournament opener this season, Smart led them to a No. 5 seed.
You'll need to wear a neck brace to Wisconsin/Marquette games if Marquette winds up hiring Shaka Smart.— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) March 24, 2014
Shaka Smart to Marquette would mean we'd get Bo Ryan vs. Shaka at least once per season.— Shane Ryan (@ShaneRyanHere) March 24, 2014
As for current and future VCU players, they should take solace that Smart appears to be committed to the program. With Smart at the helm, VCU will continue to be a threat in future NCAA tournaments.
The coaching carousel will continue, but now fans can remove Smart's name from the list.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.