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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Shaka Smart staying at VCU after Final Four run

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — VCU coach Shaka Smart is staying with the Rams after leading them on a surprising Final Four run.

Team spokesman Scott Day said Monday that Smart has agreed to terms for a new contract at VCU. Day said details of that deal would be released later Monday.

“He is staying,” Day said.

The second-year coach led VCU from one of the “First Four” games in the NCAA tournament to upsets of prominent programs including Georgetown, Purdue and Kansas to reach the Final Four. VCU (28-12) became only the third No. 11 seed to get that far, losing to Butler 70-62 in Saturday’s national semifinals.

Making that run even more impressive: Four of the Rams’ five tournament wins came by double-digit margins, including the 71-61 win against the top-seeded Jayhawks for the Southwest Regional championship.

That run had Smart frequently mentioned for other coaching vacancies. Day said North Carolina State had recently offered Smart the job to replace Sidney Lowe, who resigned in March.

Smart, who turns 34 on Friday, has a 55-21 record at VCU and led the Rams to the CBI championship in his first year. The school has said Smart had a base salary of $325,000 this season and was due to make $640,000 in all due to performance bonuses.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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