RICHMOND, Va. — 8Sports was the first to report over the weekend that VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart is the number one candidate to replace Rick Barnes on the Longhorns’ sidelines.
Now ESPN is reporting that discussions have taken place between Smart and Texas, and Horns’ Digest reports that Texas has crafted an offer in the neighborhood of $14 million over five years.
VCU has responded to speculation by saying that the athletic department is operating normally, that there is nothing new to report, and that as of 6:00 PM Wednesday no school had contacted VCU to discuss Smart’s employment. Smart was at the Siegel Center today.
If Texas does hire Shaka Smart away from VCU, UT or Smart would owe VCU a $500,000-buyout. That buyout drops by $100,000 after April 30th.
Shaka Smart is 37-years-old. His Rams went 26-10 during the 2014-2015 season, his sixth as VCU Head Coach. Over those six years, Smart has amassed a 137-47 record and took VCU to its first and only Final Four in 2011.
His current contract, renegotiated after Coach Smart turned down Marquette last season, raised his guaranteed annual income to more than $1.5 million dollars. That contract keeps Smart under contract until 2023 with automatic renewals that bring the full term to 2028.