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Shaka Smart reportedly turns down UCLA, will stay at VCU after contract extension

Shaka Smart

FILE - In this Dec. 4, 2011, file photo, Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart reacts to a play during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against George Washington at the BB&T Classic in Washington. The Rams made an unexpected run to the Final Four last season, have 25 wins and finished a game behind Drexel in the Colonial Athletic Association. Even so, VCU could be left on the outside looking in. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez, File)

AP

Shaka Smart’s services are off the market.

The 35-year-old Virginia Commonwealth head coach will remain with the Rams after signing a contract extension that will keep him in Richmond through the year 2023, Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated is reporting.

According to the report, Smart will get a $300,000 raise and now make $1.5 million in guaranteed money. He also worked to negotiate raises and perks for his staff and players, as well as travel improvements for the program. This is his second raise since leading the Rams to the Final Four in 2011.

Smart’s name has been at the center of speculation for a number of possible high-major coaching vacancies, including at UCLA, USC, and Minnesota. He is no stranger to being talked about as a candidate would could make the leap to another school, having been considered a candidate for jobs at Illinois and North Carolina State in the past.

Since that 2011 run from the First Four to the Final Four, Smart has led the Rams to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. VCU finished 27-9 this season, including 12-4 in the program’s first year in the Atlantic 10.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_