Four years after the improbable Final Four run by Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams, we finally have the answer to the question everyone’s been asking. Where will Shaka Smart go next?
The answer is Texas.
Smart has agreed to become the next head coach of the Texas Longhorns, leaving VCU and replacing Rick Barnes.
VCU sports information director Scott Day told reporters that Smart was leaving to take the Texas job.
It’s an announcement that’s been a long time coming, at least the announcement that Smart has left for a new job. He’s been perhaps the most highly-targeted coach each off-season since his 11-seeded Rams went from First Four to Final Four in 2011. He rejected offer after offer but finally received one he couldn’t refuse.
The official terms haven’t been announced, but Barnes made $2.62 million last season while Smart earned $1.8 million at VCU.
The Longhorns are the richest program in the nation and have a hotbed of talent in Dallas and Houston. While Barnes has brought that talent to Texas, he wasn’t able to get the most of it. Smart’s tournament experience with less talent should help bridge the gap into making Texas a powerhouse in basketball, but it starts with taking down Kansas in the Big 12.
Texas A.D. Steve Patterson is hoping Smart makes him look just that–smart.