Shaka Smart turns down UCLA, agrees to contract extension at VCU

Gregory Shamus

Smart will stay in Richmond after reportedly signing an extension that will keep him at VCU through 2023.

With Ben Howland out as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team, rumors abounded about who UCLA would go after to fill the coaching vacancy. Besides Butler Bulldogs head coach Brad Stevens and Florida Gators head coach Bill Donovan, VCU's Shaka Smart had come up frequently as a potential replacement. But according to Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, Smart will be staying put in Richmond.

For more on the story, visit Bruins Nation

Thamel is reporting Smart's extension will go through 2023 and ups his pay from $1.2 million to $1.5 million per season. Smart had also drawn interest from the Minnesota Golden Gophers and USC Trojans. Thamel says Smart also desired upgrades such as increased pay for assistants, improved travel arrangements and better meals for this players. He'd been courted by the Illinois Fighting Illini and North Carolina St. Wolfpack after last season as well.

While Smart's extension reaffirms his commitment to Virginia Commonwealth, it still leaves UCLA without a head coach after they fired Howland earlier this week. The Bruins could still land Stevens or Donovan and are also reportedly interested in Washington Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar and even Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino.

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