Marquette reportedly tabbed Shaka Smart as its No. 1 candidate to replace Buzz Williams, but the VCU coach will not be taking over the Golden Eagles, according to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports. Marquette made a run at Smart but has now "completely moved on to other targets," according to Parrish.
Marquette is far from the first school to make a run at hiring Smart, but with his Wisconsin ties, some speculated the Golden Eagles' job might be attractive enough to finally get Smart to jump. There were even rumors and false reports that Smart had accepted the position. Those reports were eventually determined to be inaccurate and now it appears Marquette is moving on and Smart is staying at VCU, at least for now.
Smart just completed his fifth season at VCU. The Rams have made four straight NCAA Tournaments, compiling a 137-46 record under Smart. They lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this season, but had previous tournament success, including a Final Four run in 2011. Smart has been one of the most sought-after coaching candidates in recent memory, drawing interest from a wide range of schools. He's rejected those overtures thus far, including interest from UCLA and Illinois last year.
With Smart now out of the picture, Marquette is moving on to other candidates. Former UCLA and Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland is widely thought of as one of the top contenders to get the job. Parrish also lists Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins and Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle as potential candidates. Howland has reportedly spoken to Marquette officials about the job and is interested in the position, according to Parrish.