March 27, 2013

SMART TO REMAIN AS HEAD BASKETBALL COACH AT VCU

RICHMOND, Va. (March 27, 2013) – Shaka Smart will remain Virginia Commonwealth University's head men's basketball coach, the school announced late Wednesday.

Changes in his contract have been agreed to in principle, and the details are being finalized, officials confirmed late today.

"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," said VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin. "Our goal was to present him with a revised agreement proactively rather than wait for another institution to step in with an offer.

"I believe we accomplished our goal," McLaughlin said.

The majority of contract changes involve program enhancements for the student-athletes and coaches. McLaughlin said the proposed agreement extends the years of the contract and includes incentives to reward Coach Smart for his loyalty and success.

 "VCU could not ask for a better icon to represent the university's academic and athletic rise as a top 50 public research university," VCU President Michael Rao said. "Coach Smart and our scholar-athletes represent the commitment of every VCU student, faculty and staff member to achieve excellence and success in every activity and aspect of our important mission as a national research university."

Smart's record is 111-37 in four years at VCU, the most wins over any four-year stretch in VCU history and the sixth-most in the country over the past four seasons. The 111 wins also is the second highest for any NCAA Division I head coach through their first four seasons.

In VCU's first year in the A-10 Conference, Smart led the team to the championship game and then on to third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 12th overall. The Rams won an NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year, marking the first time in school history that has occurred.

"We're extremely thankful for the tremendous belief shown in us by Dr. Rao, Ed McLaughlin and VCU. We're also incredibly appreciative of the phenomenal fans that support our program and university," Smart said. "We are very excited about the challenges that lie ahead and the student-athletes that we have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. Our goal will always remain to progressively move our student-athletes forward on and off the court."

VCU set a new single-season total attendance record, and with all 17 home games being sellouts VCU extended its consecutive home sellout streak to 35, which ranks as the fifth-longest active streak in the country. Additionally, VCU made 21 appearances on national TV this year, the most in school history.

Before coming to VCU, Smart was an assistant to University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan. He also was an assistant coach at Clemson, the University of Akron, the University of Dayton and at California University of Pennsylvania.

Smart played college basketball at Kenyon College in Gambler, Ohio, where he graduated magna cum laude with a history degree. He also earned a master's degree in social science from California University of Pennsylvania.

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