Staying at VCU was a Smart move

Coach put Rams on national map with Final Four run

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That’s why Smart stayed at VCU. Sure, he talked to N.C. State and Missouri would’ve been next in line if not for Frank Haith’s hiring. No one who knows him was surprised. He’s not the sort to grab money or attention. Fame’s trappings are secondary, pulled into perspective by his upbringing.

Teague, who hashed out Smart’s new contract in a half-day, envisions a national program that advances deep into the NCAA tournament each year with Smart bouncing around the sidelines and diving for loose balls with the rest of the team during practice drills.

Smart believes things are just getting rolling entering his third season in Richmond, including fundraising starting this fall for a $10 million basketball-only practice facility next to the Siegel Center.

There isn’t time to reflect on the Final Four run.

“Clearly, the success we had was a result of a group of people coming together, committing to a common cause,” Smart said. “I was just one of that group.”

Mention the Butler loss and there is the briefest pause in Smart’s energy. That was not a happy day, to feel so close, to actually believe you can capture the title and, instead, fly home with nothing.

The pause ends. Energy returns. Reflection? That can wait for retirement in 30 years. There’s work to do.

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