Every offseason for the last few years, VCU coach Shaka Smart has been connected to most of the major job openings in college hoops. Every time, Smart turns them down to stay in Richmond. The latest school that will vie for Smart’s services appears to be Texas, according to a report by the Associated Press. Longhorns AD Steve Patterson has reportedly zeroed in on Smart for the basketball team’s head coaching vacancy, and a source told the AP that Patterson plans to fly out and offer Smart the job today.
From the Associated Press:
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson is scheduled to travel Thursday to meet with Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart to make an offer to coach the Longhorns, a person with knowledge of the trip told The Associated Press.
Texas hopes to introduce Smart as its new coach as early as Friday, according to the person who requested anonymity because the talks with Smart are considered private.
Patterson has zeroed in on Smart since firing Rick Barnes last weekend after 17 seasons. Smart, 37, has been among the hot candidates for several high-profile jobs since leading VCU to the 2011 Final Four.
Smart’s teams have won at least 26 games each of the past six seasons.
After reports of Texas’ interest in Smart, a VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said, “Nothing is a done deal. He is still our coach.”
Barnes’ Texas teams won three Big 12 titles and made 16 NCAA Tournament appearances. But Texas hasn’t advanced past the first weekend of the tournament since 2008.
Details of Texas’ contract offer were not immediately available.
Smart’s compensation this year adds up to $1.8 million. If he leaves before May 1, he will owe VCU a $500,000 buyout, and his contract also contains a provision that if he becomes the head coach at another institution, that school would have to play VCU in a home-and-home series, or pay VCU $250,000.
Barnes’ salary this past season was $2.62 million.