SOURCES: TEXAS CLOSING IN ON SMART

Two sources close to the situation told HornsDigest.com Wednesday that Texas is hoping to finalize terms with VCU head coach Shaka Smart as the next basketball coach of the Longhorns.

The sources said a five-year deal worth roughly $14 million was on the table for Smart, who has been the primary focus of Texas' search.

The sources said Smart wasn't likely to accept the offer until he travels to Austin and makes sure everything checks out. Smart was expected to be in Austin as early as Thursday, sources said.

Smart, 37, earned $1.5 million last season at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he's taken the Rams to five straight NCAA Tournaments in six seasons as a head coach.

UT has employed the search firm Korn/Ferry International to assist in finding a replacement for Rick Barnes, who was fired last weekend after 17 seasons at Texas.

Sources told HornsDigest that Korn/Ferry had been in touch with Smart or his representatives multiple times, starting over the weekend. Those sources said things began heating up Tuesday night with one source saying Wednesday afternoon a deal between Texas and Smart "appears to be close."

Sources said other candidates whose interest in the Texas job was gauged by Korn/Ferry included Villanova's Jay Wright, Virginia's Tony Bennett, the Boston Celtics' Brad Stevens and that former Dallas Mavs coach Avery Johnson and former NBA coach John Lucas were also contacted. A source close to the situation said Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall had not been contacted by UT's search firm as of Wednesday morning.

According to a source, Texas AD Steve Patterson felt Marshall was not a good fit "personality wise" at UT.

Texas can not officially "hire" a new coach until the state's 5-day posting rule expires. According to UT's web site, the basketball coaching job wasn't posted until Tuesday. How that affects any kind of announcement of a new coach wasn't immediately clear.

 

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