Shaka Smart ended up agreeing to a seven-year contract - with six years fully guaranteed - at roughly $3 million per season, Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said.
Smart met with his team at VCU late Thursday night to inform his players of his decision after spending the afternoon with Texas AD Steve Patterson and associate AD Arthur Johnson, who flew to Richmond, Va., earlier Thursday to meet Smart.
Texas sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor, who has said he's contemplating entering the NBA Draft, tweeted, “Glad @coachsmartvcu is in Austin! Welcome to your new home! #Horns.” Forward Connor Lammert won the award for best headline pun. “Smart choice. Now let’s get to work. #Hookem,” he tweeted.
In recent years, Smart has turned down Marquette, North Carolina State, Maryland, UCLA and Illinois. But sources told HornsDigest Smart was prepared to accept the Texas job because Smart sees UT as the perfect place to coach in terms of university, ability to recruit players, resources and place to live.
Sources said Smart has relied heavily in the decision-making process on Florida’s Billy Donovan, under whom Smart served as an assistant for the 2008-09 season. Also on Donovan's staff that year was Rob Lanier, an assistant coach to Rick Barnes at Texas, who has also served as a resource, sources said.
Smart was also in contact with Texas football coach Charlie Strong, who was at Florida as defensive coordinator when Smart was in Gainesville, sources said.
Donovan took a Florida basketball program, enjoying occasional peaks of success at a so-called "football school," and converted it into a perennial hoops power that has won two national titles. Sources said Smart sees similar possibilities at Texas.
Smart has been to the NCAA Tournament in five of his six seasons as a head coach, including a Final Four in 2011. VCU was upset in the Round of 64 this season as a No. 7 seed vs 10th-seeded Ohio State.
Using a full-court pressure defense known as “havoc,” Smart, who turns 38 next Wednesday, already has 163 wins in just 6 seasons as a head coach – all at Virginia Commonwealth University (an average of 27.2 wins per season).
Only one coach in Division I won more games in their first six seasons – Butler’s Brad Stevens (166).
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