Shaka Smart to Stay With VCU After Third Tournament Appearance

Virginia Commonwealth University men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart will stay with the program that he’s led to three consecutive national championship tournament appearances and 35 straight home sellouts.

Smart has agreed to rework his contract one week after the Rams lost to the University of Michigan in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament’s round of 32, the school announced on its website.

The 35-year-old was a candidate to fill coaching vacancies at UCLA and Minnesota, according to ESPN.

“Coach Smart has demonstrated through this process that he is loyal to VCU and his greatest concern lies with our program moving forward every year,” VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin said in a statement. “Our goal was to present him with a revised agreement proactively rather than wait for another institution to step in with an offer.”

The Richmond, Virginia, school was not specific about the changes made to Smart’s contract. Sports Illustrated reported that the extension runs through 2023, and raises Smart’s annual salary to $1.5 million from $1.2 million.

Smart is 111-37 in four years with the Rams, including the team’s run to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed in 2011 and its trip to the round of 32 last season. The Rams have won an NCAA tournament game in three straight seasons for the first time in school history.

VCU set a school attendance record this season, its first as a member of the Atlantic 10 conference, selling out all 17 home dates to bring its sell-out streak to 35 games, according to the statement.

-- Editors: Michael Sillup, Jay Beberman

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