Shaka Smart reportedly not coming to Marquette; nothing confirmed
Mar 21, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; VCU Rams head coach Shaka Smart gestures in the second half of a men's college basketball game during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at Viejas Arena. Image by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Will Shaka Smart, a coach who turned a mid-major program into a recent Final Four participant, become Marquette's head coach?
Based on events Tuesday, it doesn't look like it.
Despite repeatedly rampant rumors and plenty of unconfirmed reports, Marquette University has repeatedly told WIsports.com, TODAY'S TMJ4 and 620WTMJ that there has been no news yet on any completed deal for a new head basketball coach to replace Buzz Williams.
Marquette University spokesman telling me this morning nothing more confirmed on Shaka Smart. @tmj4— Samara Sodos (@samarasodos) March 25, 2014
Noted ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman says that "I'm being told he's leaning toward turning it down. One major issue is Marquette has an interim AD and president -- and coaches want to know they are working for someone who will stick by them and who hired them. Another is the TV package."
The Journal Sentinel's Michael Hunt wrote a piece saying "Smart appears to be staying at VCU."
Additionally, reports out of Richmond, Virginia, the home of Smart's current employer of Virginia Commonwealth University, say he's still the coach there.
#VCU AD Ed McLaughlin says this a.m. that "Shaka Smart is our men's basketball coach" after erroneous reports about Marquette job on Mon.— Tim Pearrell (@timpearrelltd) March 25, 2014
Shaka Smart spoke to VCU commits & their coaches yesterday & assured them he isn't going anywhere— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) March 25, 2014
That does not necessarily mean there won't be a deal...just that there is no deal right now.
620WTMJ's Doug Russell tweeted this Monday about Smart:
Hearing that #mubb is closing in on Shaka Smart, but source says no deal is done quite yet. In other words, carry on with your day.— Doug Russell (@RussellOnSports) March 24, 2014
Now hearing things could happen very, very quickly. #mubb— Doug Russell (@RussellOnSports) March 24, 2014
I stress...this is NOT a done deal yet. So, calm down....for now. #ShakaWatch— Doug Russell (@RussellOnSports) March 24, 2014
Later on Monday:
Just confirmed with Marquette University's Athletics Department that there is NO announcement imminent.— Doug Russell (@RussellOnSports) March 24, 2014
ESPN reported Monday morning that Marquette and Wake Forest University have both told Smart that they had interest in hiring him.
Smart, who played basketball at Oregon High School near Madison, led VCU to the 2011 Final Four. He has coached Virginia Commonwealth since 2009.
He also served as an assistant at Florida, Clemson, Akron and Dayton.
Marquette is searching for a successor to Buzz Williams, who led Marquette to five NCAA tournament appearances before departing for Virginia Tech on Friday.
Its search is dramatically complicated by the fact that Marquette has:
- No permanent provost (Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan, Dean of Nursing, is interim provost)
- No permanent president (Fr. Robert Wild, S.J. is acting president)
- No permanent athletic director (Bill Cords is reprising the role he previously played)
If this does all come to fruition, Shaka Smart has to be regarded as a significant upgrade over Buzz Williams. #mubb— Doug Russell (@RussellOnSports) March 24, 2014