Saturday, April 04, 2015

Texas hires Shaka Smart

Texas has lured Shaka Smart away from Virginia Commonwealth to be its next men's basketball coach, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.

Smart led the Rams to a 163-56 record, and a surprising run to the Final Four in 2011, in six years in Richmond.

Since 2011, ​Smart, 37, had turned down multiple Power Five conference jobs in recent years to stay at VCU. This time, the Longhorns' offer was too much to pass up, and it had piqued Smart's interest for days before the deal was finalized. Texas athletic director Steve Patterson flew to Richmond on Thursday to seal the deal.

Smart replaces Rick Barnes, who was 402-180 at Texas. He took the Longhorns to the NCAA tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons, including a Final Four in 2003.

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Virginia Commonwealth University offered men's basketball coach Shaka Smart a $1 million raise in order for him to stay, according to a USA Today report.

The offer would have constituted a 55% raise, and elevated Smart's annual salary to $2.8 million. Smart made $1.8 million during the 2013-14 season, according to ESPN.

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