Mike Rhoades Reportedly Will be Hired as VCU Head Coach, Leave Rice

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2017

LUBBOCK, TX - DECEMBER 03: Head coach Mike Rhoades of the Rice Owls talks to an official during the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on December 03, 2016 at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech won the game 85-84. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
John Weast/Getty Images

Rice University head basketball coach Mike Rhoades is reportedly leaving the Owls program to accept the same position at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports first reported VCU's choice of Rhoades to replace Will Wade. Jeff Goodman of ESPN confirmed the Rams' expected hire.

Rhoades previously served as a VCU assistant coach under Shaka Smart. He left the Rams in 2014 to accept the Rice job and returns after the Owls showed progress during his three years in charge.

The 44-year-old Pennsylvania native guided Rice to a 47-52 record. Nearly half those victories came during the 2016-17 campaign, however, as the Owls went 23-12 to earn a berth in the 2017 College Basketball Invitational postseason tournament.

They were eliminated by Utah Valley in the second round Monday.

In February, Rhoades explained the most important takeaway from his first stint at VCU to Craig Broadman of the Rice Thresher.

"Make it a player-first program," he said. "It's all about the players and their growth moving forward. Winning is a byproduct of our daily approach and how we treat each other. Take care of those things and you give yourself a better chance at winning."

Along with his time at Rice and VCU, Rhoades also spent 13 years with Division III program Randolph-Macon as both an assistant and head coach.

Now he'll be tasked with continuing the progress made by Smart, Wade and Anthony Grant to make VCU one of the most consistent basketball programs in the nation. The Rams have won at least 24 games in 11 consecutive seasons, earning nine NCAA tournament trips along the way.

Successful recruiting will be necessary to keep that streak alive. VCU is slated to lose six seniors during the offseason, including leading scorer JeQuan Lewis and five of the team's top eight scorers overall.

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