Shaka Smart will not become the next head coach at Marquette, multiple media outlets reported Thursday.
Speculation centered on the Virginia Commonwealth coach possibly returning to his native Wisconsin to succeed Buzz Williams, who left Marquette last week after six seasons to take the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. One media outlet in Milwaukee reported that Smart’s hiring was a done deal.
However, according to ESPN.com, Smart turned down the Golden Eagles’ job offer.
Smart was a candidate for several high-profile jobs after last season, including UCLA, but ultimately stayed at VCU. He received a new contract in October that extends through 2028.
In five seasons at VCU, the 36-year-old Smart has a 137-46 record and has led the Rams to four NCAA Tournament berths (including a second-round loss to Stephen F. Austin this year) and to the Final Four in 2011.
Bill Cords, Marquette’s interim vice president and athletic director, told reporters Thursday that he could not comment on Smart or provide a timetable on finding a new coach.
With Smart no longer a viable candidate, CBSSports.com mentioned former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins and Green Bay coach Brian Wardle as possibilities to replace Williams.
Marquette finished with a 17-15 overall record this season, 9-9 in the reconfigured Big East. The Golden Eagles failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in eight years.
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