April 2, 2009

VCU hires Shaka Smart for men’s hoops

University of Florida assistant Shaka Smart was named the men's head basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth Thursday.

Smart will be the 10th head coach in VCU history and succeeds Anthony Grant, who took a similar job on March 27 at the University of Alabama.

Smart, a native of Madison, Wis., was the school's top pick among a pool of candidates and also held assistant coaching jobs at Clemson and Akron prior to joining Florida Coach Billy Donovan last season.

I am thrilled to be a part of VCU basketball, Smart said at a news conference. I can't wait to hit the ground running. I've been fortunate to work with some great coaches over the years.

Smart, 32, inherits a program that has won the last three Colonial Athletic Association regular season titles, has appeared in two out of the last three NCAA Tournaments, and in 2006, the Rams stunned Duke in the second round.