Smart will not leave VCU for UCLA or Minnesota

Updated: March 27, 2013, 8:44 PM ET

Shaka Smart is staying at VCU, spurning overtures from UCLA and Minnesota as the top target for both schools.

Smart will remain at VCU, he told in a text message Wednesday. VCU will issue a formal release Thursday.

A year ago, Smart decided to stay at VCU instead of going to Illinois.

Smart led VCU to the Final Four in 2011 in his second season at the school and as a head coach. He led the Rams to the NCAA tournament in 2012 and this season, reaching the third round in each of the past two seasons.

VCU, which moved from the CAA to the Atlantic 10, finished second in each conference the past two seasons.

Smart had his contract restructured after the Final Four, signing an eight-year contract on April 4, 2011, and seeing his financial payout go to over $1.2 million.

A number of Smart’s good friends in the coaching profession, from whom he sought council in the past week, told that they didn’t believe Smart would leave.

Smart has loved coaching at VCU, relishing coaching his ‘Havoc’ style in Richmond that has been wildly received.

VCU should be one of the premier programs in the A-10 going forward with the departures of Butler and Xavier to the new Big East in 2013-14.

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