RICHMOND, Va. Ã¢â‚¬â€œ In less than 17 months on the job, Virginia Commonwealth University menÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s basketball Head Coach Shaka Smart has tallied 27 wins and brought in one of the most highly-touted recruiting classes in years.
For his outstanding work and dedication to excellence, Smart was granted a two-year extension by VCUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Director of Athletics Norwood Teague.
“The job Coach Smart and his staff has done in a short period of time is remarkable,” Teague said. “In just over a year, they’ve had 27 wins in their first season and done just an unbelievable job on the recruiting trail. We’re fortunate to be able to have this group of men leading our program and look forward to many more years together.”
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m extremely appreciative to the support shown to my wife and I by Dr. Rao, Norwood Teague and the entire VCU community,Ã¢â‚¬Â Smart commented. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to coach and mentor such a fine group of young men and I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be more excited about our future as a program.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In his first season, Smart led the Black & Gold to a 27-9 record, one win shy of the school record. The win total was also the highest in the nation among first year head coaches at the Division I level. The Rams reached the postseason for the fifth straight year and brought home with the College Basketball Invitational Championship, thanks to a perfect 5-0 mark. Four of those victories came against teams with at least 20 wins.
Off the court, the Madison, Wisc. native signed in one of the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s top Ã¢â‚¬Å“mid-majorÃ¢â‚¬Â recruiting classes, according to numerous scouting websites, including ESPN.com and Scout.com. All six newcomers for the Black & Gold were receiving attention from high-major schools before signing on to join Smart and the Rams.
Smart will be looking to add to his win total when VCU opens its 2010-11 regular season on Nov. 12 against the Spartans of UNC Greensboro at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center.