Shaka Smart becomes Texas’ new head coach

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Updated: April 2, 2015
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Shaka Smart and his havoc defense will head to the University of Texas, as he has agreed to become the Longhorns’ next head coach.

He scheduled a 10 o’clock p.m. meeting with his team to announce the decision on Thursday night, as fans and students stood outside of the Siegel Center rallying for Smart to stay.

The 37-year-old, who will turn 38 next week, has shown his loyalty to VCU over the years, though there have been a number of schools interested in his services. He turned down jobs at UCLA, NC State and Marquette in the past, as his VCU team had become a nationally recognized school for basketball.

He led the Rams to the Final Four in 2011, which put him on the map as a top-tier college basketball coach. It also caused him to become the most popular person in Richmond. VCU eventually moved from the CAA to the Atlantic 10 in 2012, and they won their first Atlantic 10 tournament championship this season.

Smart has been the head coach at VCU for the past six years, and has led the team to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. However, outside of their Final Four run, they haven’t been able to get by the second round.

They lost in the Round of 32 in 2012 and 2013, and were bounced in the Round of 64 in both 2014 and this year. After awhile, even though he has a lot of love for the school, players and fan base, it has to be frustrating to see his season come to an end so soon.

Similar to many other coaches in college basketball, or in sports as a whole, they all want to be considered great. To be mentioned in the same breath as the Mike Krzyzewski‘s, John Calipari‘s and Tom Izzo‘s, Smart has to win national championships — or at least one. He’ll have a better shot at doing that at a school like Texas.

He will have the ability to recruit in one of the biggest basketball states in the country, and will have a team that plays in arguably the best conference in college basketball, the Big 12.

Rick Barnes had a long stint — 17 years to be exact — as the coach of Texas, but was fired on Saturday. He eventually landed another job at Tennessee just days afterwards. The Longhorns and their athletic director Steve Patterson, immediately started pursuing Smart. He personally made a trip to Richmond, VA to speak with Smart on Thursday.

This will be Smart’s second head coaching job, but he also spent time as an assistant at California PA (1999-2001), Akron (2003-2006), Clemson (2006-2008) and Florida (2008-2009), before replacing Anthony Grant at VCU in 2009. He had a record of 163-56 during his time spent with the Rams.

While this will take time for many of the players and VCU students to get over, this was probably the best move for Smart in his self-development as a coach. Now, will the players he recruited for this upcoming season join him in Texas?

 

 

Photo Cred (Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)

Josiah Turner

Josiah Turner

Josiah is the founder and editor-in-chief at Sideline Sports Report. He is a writer for ESPN, and has written for Rant Sports and FanSided covering the Washington Redskins. He's also covered high school basketball for Virginia Preps (Rivals.com). Josiah is from Chesapeake, VA and a college graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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  1. Pingback: Shaka Smart set to become Texas' new head coach. | Reddit Spy

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