Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart agreed on Wednesday to an extension to remain with the Rams through 2023. "For us to be able to keep coach Smart when a few really impressive institutions with great tradition had interest is a huge credit to him and VCU," VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin told CBSSports.com. Just last season, Smart had agreed to a contract through 2020 worth about $1.36 million annually. Smart, who just finished his fourth season with VCU, was high on the wish lists of UCLA and Minnesota. But for the third straight year, he never seriously entertained overtures to leave Richmond. USA TODAY Sports reported that Smart's extension is worth $1.5 million per year. Much of the negotiations, which did not take place until the Rams were ousted from the tournament last weekend, focused on "program enhancements" including video system upgrades, chartered flight and more compensation for Smart's staff. Smart, 35, has coached at VCU since 2009 and made the Final Four in 2011. Illinois attempted to lure the Wisconsin native back to the Midwest, but VCU sweetened his deal with incentives and announced a move to the Atlantic 10 Conference from the Colonial Athletic Association. This year, the Rams finished 27-9, second in the A-10, and won their NCAA Tournament opener. VCU lost its second game to Michigan, 78-53, and the rumor mill began to churn about where Smart might wind up in 2013. Minnesota fired coach Tubby Smith after a third-round NCAA Tournament loss. Athletic director Norwood Teague helped hire Smart, a former Florida assistant, at VCU in 1999 to replace Anthony Grant.
- Sports & Recreation