Originally written on Rumors and Rants  |  Last updated 3/28/13

Shaka Smart has been one of the most sought-after young college basketball coaches over the past few years and when any job opens up, his name is always among the first mentioned as a potential replacement. This year has been no exception, but we can now confirm that Smart will be staying at Virginia Commonwealth for the foreseeable future. Despite overtures from both Minnesota and UCLA, Smart has decided to turn aside all inquiries and remain at VCU for now. On top of rebuffing UCLA and Minnesota, Smart will also sign a contract extension with VCU through 2023. Last year, Smart also turned down the job at Illinois. From what we’ve been told, Smart was the top choice for both the Bruins and Golden Gophers, and both schools went after him hard through back channels. Smart was hired at VCU by Norwood Teague, who is now the athletic director at Minnesota, but that relationship wasn’t enough to draw the 35-year-old coach away from Richmond. Meanwhile, our sources claim that Smart just wasn’t ready to leave the friendly confines of VCU, where he has a low-pressure, high-paying job. UCLA is obviously the best job the young coach has been connected to, but there is a huge difference between Richmond and Los Angeles, and Smart just wasn’t ready to be thrown into the media fire that would awaited him out west. In addition to that, we’re hearing that UCLA has told people behind the scenes that whoever the new coach is, his salary will max out at around $2.5 million per season. Smart’s new extension will increase his salary to $1.5 million per season at VCU, so it’s not like the money from UCLA would have overwhelmed him. Our sources close to the UCLA program claim the Bruins have reached out to at least a dozen candidates through back-channels, casting a wide net. The reason? The school wants a new coach in place very soon, and won’t wait around to lick its wounds after being turned down by Smart. The coaches we can confirm that have been approached are former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, Villanova head coach Jay Wright, Purdue’s Matt Painter, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried. UCLA has also attempted to connect with Florida head coach Billy Donovan and Butler’s Brad Stevens, but neither coach appears willing to listen. Stevens has told people close to him that there are only two jobs he would leave Butler for (which I won’t list here, but those who know Stevens know what they are and it’s not much of a mystery), and UCLA is not on that list. Like Smart, Stevens is making nearly $1.5 million per year, so the money UCLA is offering won’t overwhelm him either. UCLA’s job is obviously one of the biggest in all of college basketball, but that wasn’t enough to lure Shaka Smart from his comfortable gig at VCU and isn’t likely to dislodge Stevens either. If I had to guess, I’d say Gottfried is the current leader. He has UCLA ties from his time as an assistant in Westwood under former coach Jim Harrick in 1995 when the Bruins won their last national championship. We’ll keep you updated with what we’re hearing.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bills GM denies report of going ‘rogue’ by cutting Fred Jackson

Mets, Scott Boras clashing over Matt Harvey’s innings limit

TJ Ward on suspension appeal: ‘My last name’s not Brady’

Jerry Jones on Brady ruling: ‘I’m ready for us to play football’

Report: Jim Harbaugh's 'Summer Swarm' tour cost $211K

Three injured when bolt falls from roof of Lucas Oil Stadium

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Utah beats Michigan 24-17, ruins Jim Harbaugh’s debut

Patriots keep Tom Brady excitement close to vest

Wayne happy about Brady verdict: 'That's my quarterback'

Markieff Morris on Twitter: ‘My future will not be in Phoenix’

Jonathan Kraft on asking for draft picks: 'Never say never'

Redskins charge non-season ticket holders $50 to use will call

Terrell Owens' wife explains what is holding up divorce

Under-the-radar MLB rookies on the rise

Pats were prepared to raise Brady banner instead of SB one

Daughter unimpressed by dad playing golf with Tiger Woods

Best and worst surprises of NFL preseason

Tim Tebow shines in Eagles’ final preseason game

Minnesota loses against TCU, but shows it belongs

Trevone Boykin’s Heisman bid off to rocky start against Minnesota

Michigan lost their opener, but showed signs of improvement

Aaron Rodgers on Brady ruling: ‘It’s a good day for the players’

Jim Harbaugh uses Seahawks play card and Seattle loves it

First drive of Jim Harbaugh Era in Michigan ends in interception

Redskins fan who named son after RG3: ‘I don’t regret it at all’

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Ryan taking leap of faith with Bills

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker