Shaka Smart opts to stay at VCU

(AP) Shaka Smart says he will stay at Virginia Commonwealth. Illinois had offered its coaching job to Smart, according to multiple reports. In a statement released by VCU on Wednesday, the 34-year-old Smart said: “I’m looking forward to building on the successes of our program and university.”

Shaka Smart

VCU Athletics

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas declined comment through a spokesman. Thomas fired Weber on March 9 after a 17-15 season that ended with a 2-14 slump. Weber’s teams missed three of the last five NCAA tournaments and this year didn’t make the postseason at all.

Smart’s Rams were the darlings of last year’s tournament, going from the First Four to the Final Four after barely making it in as a No. 11 seed. They lost to Indiana in this season’s third round Saturday (box/recap).

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