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:
Tim Pearrell of the Richmond Times-Dispatch quickly followed with a statement from VCU AD Ed McLaughlin discussing Smart's status with VCU:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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