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Smart signs deal to stay with VCU

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart is staying with the Rams after leading them on a surprising Final Four run.

The school said Monday that Smart agreed to an eight-year contract. Details will be released once the deal is signed.

"True to form, Coach Smart's primary concerns were about his players, coaches and the overall support of the basketball program," VCU athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement. "We are honored that he has decided to stay a VCU Ram."

The second-year coach led VCU from one of the "First Four" games in the NCAA Tournament to upsets of prominent programs including Georgetown, Purdue and Kansas to reach the Final Four.

VCU (28-12) became only the third No. 11 seed to get that far, losing to Butler 70-62 in Saturday's national semifinals.

Four of the Rams' five tournament wins came by double-digit margins, including 71-61 against the top-seeded Jayhawks for the Southwest Region championship.

That run had Smart mentioned for other coaching vacancies. Team spokesman Scott Day said N.C. State had recently offered Smart the job to replace Sidney Lowe, who resigned in March.

USF to visit Kansas

USF will take on a national powerhouse for the first time in program history next season as the Bulls have agreed to play Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Dec. 3. It's the first time the Bulls will play the Jayhawks, who went 35-3 before losing to VCU in the Elite Eight. With one senior in its top six scorers this season, Kansas should again be one of the nation's top teams.

There's also a 50-50 chance USF will face Kentucky in the final game of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tipoff tournament in Springfield, Mass.

Missouri hires Haith

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Frank Haith is returning to the Big 12, this time as a head coach.

Missouri said late Monday that Haith had agreed to leave Miami and take over the Tigers. The Hurricanes said Haith had resigned to take the Missouri job, but the Tigers were quiet until the university curators met in a closed session.

Haith, who spent three years as an assistant at Texas and Texas A&M, will replace Mike Anderson. Haith went 129-101 in seven seasons at Miami and made the NCAA Tournament once, losing in the second round in 2008.

Two Missouri starters didn't wait for their new coach, saying they would declare for the NBA draft. Juniors Kim English and Laurence Bowers said they plan to pursue pro careers but have not hired agents, giving them time to change their minds.

PRINCETON COACH DEPARTS: Sydney Johnson, who led Princeton to a share of the Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, was hired by Fairfield. He coached at his alma mater for four years and went 66-53.

JURISPRUDENCE: Oklahoma State's Darrell Williams, 21, will stand trial on rape and other felony charges alleging that he inappropriately touched two female students, Payne County Special Judge Michael Stano ruled.

TOWSON: Pittsburgh assistant Pat Skerry was named coach. Skerry replaces Pat Kennedy, a former FSU coach who resigned last month after seven seasons.

WICHITA STATE: Gregg Marshall is staying as coach after leading the Shockers to the NIT title and a school-record 29 wins.

Times staff writer Greg Auman contributed to this report.

Smart signs deal to stay with VCU 04/04/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 12:36am]
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