It doesn't really surprise me that he stayed, but that's quite a long contract. VCU should remain fairly relevant as long as he's around. The search continues for Minny and UCLA.
OT - SI reporting Shaka Smart to stay at VCU until 2023
I think it's more likely that he gets to the Age 40 range and finally gets picked up by another school. Unless VCU gets swept up in realignment and finds itself in a better basketball conference than presently.
Is that anything like Nick Saban's ten year contract at LSU?
Yeah, but in typical SEC fashion it is probably year-to-year and Saban will probably end up getting a medical hardship release if he ever misses a bowl game. Not that I anticipate that happening absent an NCAA ban...
Why not? He's getting paid very good money to coach somewhere he should have success for a while. He's in a league that doesn't get a ton of talent top to bottom (the top teams do OK) so he should be able to make the tourney just about every year. He's getting $1.5MM which is not exactly chump change, and he lives somewhere he likes that has a low cost of living (relative to, say, LA if he were to go to UCLA).
If he leaves, a team would need to offer him in the 2 mil neighborhood for him to even consider it, and he risks having less success and getting canned in a few years a la RichRod. And, if he makes another deep tourney run sometime, he can renegotiate again and ask for a few hundred grand a year more.
I bet he stays a while.
The happy one.
I actually went to to college with Coach Smart at Kenyon. In 1999, as team Captain, he was selected to the USA Today All-USA College Academic Team. One of 20 candidates selected out of 1,000. He was a great classmate and the consumate student athlete about campus. Class act . . . all around.
So, I can easily see why so many of the big colleges would be looking to recruit him to coach their schools. However, I wonder, what is is the greater accomplishment for Coach Smart?
Proving you can win at the highest level/biggest university, at say a school like Minnesota or UCLA?
Or proving you can have great accomplishments at a school like VCU, one that has historically been overlooked by our nation's basketball experts?
Maybe it's the latter.
The reason for him to move is simple: it's much harder to go to Final Fours and win national championships there than it would be at a major program. Everything went right for VCU in 2011. It probably never will again.
I'm not saying there aren't any good reasons. There are plenty of good reasons for a guy in his position to bolt.
However, he had his shot at Illinois (a plenty big name school) and he turned it down, and he doesn't seem to want to check out UCLA either. Most guys in his position bolt, but most would have already and he hasn't. He has has a number of big school opportunities, but has passed on all of them. He might change his mind in 5 years, but I'm betting he doesn't.
It doesn't fit how these things normally go. Eventually a big conference school will offer him enough money, incentives, etc for him to go. Shaka's gotta know that he can't pull in the talent to really be elite at VCU. VCU is 'elite' now by playing that crazy havoc defense but it's a cover for a talent deficieny. You can see how mediocre they are when the havoc is broken
VCU is a small, small market school. I used to live in Richmond and no one is a VCU fan. It's like if Shaka made Oakland elite. It's just a small, commuter school amidst a bunch of bigger names. Eventually, he'll see that he can get elite talent and another school and, with the right amount of cash to go with it, he'll go. I'll eat all of my Michigan t-shirts if he's still at VCU in 2023
Longer he stays there the better. He did grow up a Michigan fan so maybe when Beilein retires we take a shot at him.
Labeling him a "system coach" is short sighted and poor analysis. He has effectively maximized the talent available to him and greatly improved the performance of the program since he has been there.
I remember people saying exactly the same thing about Belien and they were obviously wrong. Good coaches use what they have and that is what Smart. He would do well in the Big Ten and any conference in my opinion.
He has effectively maximized the talent available to him and greatly improved the performance of the program since he has been there.
Not true, actually. His predecessor, Anthony Grant, went 76-25 (.752) and won three consecutive conference titles in his three years. Smart has posted almost exactly the same winning percentage (.753) in his four years (going 111-36), but has never won a conference title. The 2011 tourney run is where Smart made his reputation.
Smart won the CAA conference title in 2012, so he did win one. Other than that he reached the final against St. Louis in his first year in the A10 and the final against ODU his first year in the CAA. Grant actually only won twice. VCU is also one of 8 teams in the country to win at least one tournament game each of the past three years. Also, improving performance does not always just come down to winning percentage. The program has reached heights that Grant never took it to.
If Smart's Wikipedia page is correct, his team finished 2nd in the CAA in 2011-12.
Anthony Grant OTOH finished first in all three years he was there:
Bottom line: VCU has been good at basketball for some time now. Under Grant they were a monster in the regular season and under Smart they've had tournament success. The question is how much of their success is due to the school itself. Grant hasn't done too much at Alabama (0-1 in the NCAA tournament in four years) and his VCU predecessor, Jeff Capel, was canned at Oklahoma.
for the regular season. I am talking about performance at the conference tournaments. No one remembers who won the regular season title. As to your other point, VCU started to invest heavily into basketball under Grant. The school is giving coaches what they need to succeed. Credit is given to coaches and institutions in this case in my opinion.
I don't really understand this "system coach" business. A lot of good coaches had systems. Knight ran the same passing-game offense for decades. Wooden's offense is so well known that probably half the high school teams in the country have a high-post play they call "UCLA". Dean Smith wrote books on his system (an eclectic one to be sure). John Chaney and his matchup zone, Boeheim's particular style of 2-3, Huggins with his half-court trap and teams that can't shoot. Izzo's teams are recognizably Izzo's, K's teams are recognizably Duke. I'm having trouble thinking of anyone that was successful over a long period of time and couldn't be said to have a system of one sort or another.
Good coaches have strengths that they coach to and recruit to and that give their program a focus. Often it's something tactical, sometimes (like Calipari) it's a system of player selection/recruitment/management. But there's something that distinguishes them, and their teams.
My concern is not that he runs a system, but more that his particular system might always be feast-or-famine. He isn't known for halfcourt offense, or defense, or rebounding. He's known for full-court pressure, which can cause undisciplined teams a lot of trouble but shouldn't bother the more disciplined ones. As noted above, he's never won a conference title. His 2011 team actually lost 12 games that year. It caught fire in the tourney - not just on D but shooting 3's - but that may have been a one-time fluke. (A lot of the guys on that team were also not recruited by Smart, but by Grant.)
Rick Pitino is known for full-court pressure, too. He's doing okay.
I knew someone was going to bring up Pitino. The press is just one thing Pitino is known for. He's also been an offensive innovator. He was one of the first coaches to take advantage of the 3-pointer by designing a motion offense that would extend defenses further out that most coaches had done previously. He's distinguished himself as a halfcourt coach. He's never been so reliant on the press that you could just look at his opponent's turnover total and know instantly whether he won or lost, as you can in pretty much any game Smart coaches.
If Smart is on our radar down the road, I hope he coaches somewhere else first. I want to see that he can succeed away from VCU. That school has been strong for a decade now, under Jeff Capel, Anthony Grant and now Smart. Perhaps that school has some natural advantages relative to its A-10 competition, because Capel and Grant really haven't distinguished themselves since leaving for bigger programs (Capel got fired at Oklahoma and is back being an assistant; Grant has been merely OK at Alabama).
''Oh, uh, well, whoops.''
The Gophers should get Flip Saunders. He's a decent coach and his NBA experience will help with recruiting. Seems like a potential Pete Carroll for hoops.
I'm of two minds about this. There were definitely people in the Minnesota program who thought they could get Smart, but it wasn't such a sure thing that they hung everything on it. I just think they believe they can do better than Tubby, and given how the B1G is this year, maybe they're right. There is no reason Minnesota shouldn't compete with the top of the conference, not when teams like Marquette can perennially compete in the Big Easy, and Butler can push the Sweet Sixteen every year.
Anyway, I don't think this is idiocy on anywhere near the same scale as the trade of Glen Mason for Tim Brewster.
Flip Saunders is an option. Watch for more talk like that.
It's hard to say, he's been pretty open about not feeling a need to leave VCU and he may feel that his system works best at a mid-major and that's where he will have the most success. It;s a weird thing how the two hottest coaching candidates for awhile now, Smart and Stevens, both appear to be in no rush to leave where they are. I think UCLA's search isn't going to go very well.
back when it was still cool for coaches to move up.
at the same time?
Coach K and Roy Williams retire within a year or two of each other
Brad Stephens to Duke
Shaka to UNC
First of all, it's Brad Stevens. Second of all, he's not coaching at Duke. Coach K has disciples all over college basketball. One of them will get the job.
UNC will stay inside the Carolina family too. Roy has a few young assistants who have recently moved on to other head coaching jobs. I have also heard speculation that Hubert Davis could may be a possibility if he is ready when the time comes.
So UCLA isn't good enough, but somehow Duke or UNC are??? There isn't a beter job than UCLA. There are different jobs, but none that are "better". the dude is staying put. I hate to say this, but what a lame decision. If his wife leaves him, I wouldn't blame her. He has cemented himself as a has-been.
Lol, well: 1) turning down Illinois last time didn't make him an unwanted has been; and 2) entirely possible his wife likes it where they are and helped talk him into staying.
It's nice seeing a coach stick with a small program like that. I'm not sure if he has some sort of external motivation for it, but if not, what a wonderful thing for him and VCU. Much respect!
Rich Rod's offense seemed to work pretty well for us once he got the players he wanted. It was the defense that was turrible.
But Mississippi State is laughing their collective ass off at that comment.
Pitino does pretty well with the press and Arkansas almost won back to back championships with it. I'm sure there are kids that don't want to play in that kind of system, but I wouldn't call it a gimmick.
Craploads of money and long term job security, or more craploads of money and almost zero job security. To me it's a no brainer, but to each his own I suppose.
I would be upset if Michigan ever hired Shaka. On top of being a system coach, you have to wonder why he hides in the mid-major instead of trying to compete at the highest level. He must not have much confidence in himself.
That must be it, douche. Guy can flat out coach.
Many coaches want to move up the line to bigger schools, conferences or dream jobs. Some even want to get o the pro level. Others just want to coach and may value a particular school or city.
We make the same mistake with players. Not all of them are in a big hurry to get to the league, some of them value the education or the experience.
This whole comment is terrible.
I mean, I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't have much confidence in themselves after making it to the Final Four. Hell, I'd wager Brad Stevens has to see a shrink 3 times a week; back-to-back National Championships? He must be a head-case.
I find this a bit perplexing on both sides, but great news for those who admire loyalty as a character trait. VCU is paying Smart a lot more money than schools that are barely mid-majors have a reputation for paying, and Smart is sticking around a lot longer than coaches in his situation usually do.
Congrats to both for giving fans one less reason to be cynical.
Thats odd. Surprised he's not jumping to a better school. With that said, even after this contract is over he'll still be a relatively young coach. (Not to mention if he gets a great deal his contract could be bought out)
Didn't Minnesota offer something ridiculous, like 3 years/$21Million? I'm all for loyalty, but if that figure is accurate, Smart is nuts for not taking it. Even though he makes good money ($1.5M/yr at VCU), he'd have to work 14 years to earn what he could have made in 3 at Minnesota.
I guess, if maximizing income is your primary goal. But for some people the utility of the 7th million isn't anywhere close to the utility of the first.
Maybe he's already making enough to live, and retire into, the lifestyle he wants? I'm guessing he has other things on his mind than short-term salary: job security, long-term career path. Maybe even loyalty.
Not calling you a liar, but I would seriously doubt any report that the Gophers would pony up $7 million/yr for a basketball coach. That's $1.7 million more than Saban makes at 'Bama.
tied for highest in the NBA for 2011-12 (Rivers) and a million dollars more than the Spurs pay Popovich and D'Antoni got paid with the Knicks. It's also $3m more than the current highest paid college coach (Calapari) and double what Izzo gets paid.
It was 97.1 here in Detroit. I just read online that it was 7yr/$21M. Slight difference (annually) and certainly not as lucrative as what I heard (or thought I heard).
If this is true the tubby firing makes even less sense than before. Why would you extend him last summer, increase the buyout amount in his contract and fire him after a decent season where they won a NCAA tournament game?
Minnesota changed ADs last summer. The previous AD, for some reason, decided to extend Smith's contract right before he left.
The previous AD wasn't very good. The current AD is the guy who hired Smart at VCU, and also has a chance to get Flip or the guy from Marquette as a backup plan. I think MN athletics might actually start to take winning seriously.
Staying around that long would be foolish. I'm a UT graduate, so we saw this with "Toledo" Tom Amstuz. He was the coach when Toledo was taking all commers in the late 90's. Beating #9 Pitt. The original potential BCS buster, etc. Everyone had him set as the next big MAC coach to move on up. He refused. Told everyone he was a UT man.
Then his star recruiting classes graduated, his luck ran a little dry, and suddenly he wasn't wanted to move up anymore. Now, he's a fundraiser and ticket hawker with UT, a job they gave him basically out of guilt.
Seeing these mid major coaches stay loyal to their programs even though better and higher paying programs want them. I have a lot of respect for that. Good for Shaka
Great coach stays at a small program, won't be long till it's not a small basketball program anymore. If Stevens stays at Butler, too, then both programs will be drawing better talent soon, since NBA teams value tourney performance so highly.
Good for VCU, I absolutely love his havoc defense.
Really glad to hear this. I've become a fan of him and VCU, they have an awesome thing going, teams like VCU are what college basketball is all about.
If Shaka is as Smart as his name suggests, there's not way he's at VCU for ten more years. He should have been on the first flight to Westwood.
If I were Smart or Brad Stevens, I wouldn't leave my current situation unless one of the truly elite programs (IU, UNC, UK, etc.) offered me a job.
Not that I disagree with the general idea of what you are saying, but wouldn't UCLA qualify as a truly elite program?
I would put them up there, but maybe Smart jsut didn't feel comfortable with the move. I should've been more specific. I wouldn't leave unless it was an ideal situation, i.e. an elite program that I'm comfortable with from a personal standpoint.
I feel like there were rumors swirling the first year butler made a deep run that Stevens was going to take over Duke when K quits. That was one of the reasons that his name wasn't as prominent after their second deep run. I could be wrong though. Maybe Shaka is waiting in UNC. I imagine Williams is the closest to retirement.
A traditional power that's down on it's luck? Crean taking over Indiana for example. Who would want to be the guy to follow Coach K? You can't help but do worse, wait for the faithful to get restless, and push you out the door. It's like being the guy who followed Dean Smith. I don't think Roy is quite up there, but still a tough act to follow. I'd say UCLA is a great spot, except they just fired a guy who went to 3 Final Fours. And other reasons, but it does reflect the expectations there....a good part of the fanbase still thinks they can do it like Wooden did with Alcindor at center. They're not going to win a half dozen in a row again.
I wasn't saying that I wouldn't have taken the UCLA job if I had been him. He was the entire West Coast to recruit from, and he has the power of the UCLA name to draw on. Now that name isn't as strong as it was a decade ago, but it's still strong. And I agree with the Duke argument. You don't want to be the one who replaces the legend. You want to be the one who replaces the replacement. Look at Rich Rod. He wasn't coaching after Bo, but he was the first one to come from outside that coaching tree, so in a way he was the one taking us from that legend.
I also wondered about maybe Louisville or Syracuse. Pitino and Boeheim(misspelled?) are both getting older, and they are 2 programs that have been strong the last decade.
I wonder how much of the "grooming a replacement" really goes on. I seem to remember Muschamp being the rumored successor to Mack Brown. And Schiano was rumored to be tagged for Penn State.
I was just saying that "I" would take the money, but I wouldn't want to be the next coach at Duke if I had any dreams of a nice long career at my next stop.
Depending on how Pitino's son does at FIU, which I think was fairly successful in year one, I think the plan Pitino has in mind is to hand the program down to his son. I'm sure their AD, Jurich, will do a fine job locating a coach. He's turned around U of L football, baseball, Softball, Women's Basketball, and Men's soccer. Outside of football, all have competed for a national title in their respective sports within the last four years.
Yep, look at Gonzaga for a contrast in two approaches to a coaching career. Dan Monson has two excellent seasons at Gonzaga culminating in an Elite 8 run in 99. He leaves for the Minnesota job which is a mediocre major conference job in general and a total dumpster fire after Clem Haskins' shenanigans. He does OK and gets to just 1 NCAA tourney and quits/gets canned after 7 years. Now at Long Beach State and no one is talking about Dan Monson as a hot coach.
On the other hand, Mark Few follows him up at Gonzaga and has similar success but continues to stay at the school. And while they have come up a little short in the NCAAs lately, they continue to have a ton of success overall. Plus they have enough of a rep now that they can get games like Oklahoma, Butler, Illinois, WVU, Clemson, Baylor, OK State that help keep them on TV and in the spotlight. He can win 30 games a year. They've been to the tourney 14 straight years which is a longer streak than anyone but Duke, Kansas and MSU. His total compensation is less than it would be at say Indiana but he is still making around 1 million/year. And he could still jump to a major job at another school if he really wanted to.
I think increasingly you see other coaches at these other schools trying to do the same thing. Not everyone, but some. A place like Kansas will always get great coaches but the gap between a school like Illinois or Minnesota to that of a Butler or a VCU is smaller now. More parity in talent, more TV programming to fill with mid-major teams and more TV money to pay mid-major coaches. Really this is sort of the Jerry Tarkanian UNLV model which is that if you can establish yourself, prove that you can repeat success at small conference schools and build up enough of a brand w/ recognition then you can have sustainable success outside of the major conference schools. There is still good money, way more job security, less pressure and easier competition. Makes Butler or VCU or Gonzaga more of a possible destination than a stepping stone.
Did he eat the forbidden donut or something?