SAN ANTONIO — One unavoidable tradition accompanied Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University to the Sweet 16: Head coaches being linked to other jobs.
Richmond’s Chris Mooney, who signed a seven-year extension with the school last year, and VCU’s Shaka Smart dismissed the talk Thursday. That, of course, is as expected as their names being rumors for college basketball’s plethora of openings.
Neither coach ruled out leaving. But it’s not as if they’re walking around the Alamodome with handfuls of resumes.
“It’s almost like the formula. You win a game or two and then this is going to follow it,” said Smart, 53-20 in his second season at VCU. “It’s easy to manage because my focus is 100 percent on our team. … I don’t think our guys are focused on the rumor mill or coaching carousel. They’re so locked into the NCAA Tournament and they know that I am, too, so it hasn’t been an issue.”
Smart followed Anthony Grant at VCU, who parlayed three successful years into the Alabama job.
At Richmond, Mooney’s predecessors, John Beilein and Jerry Wainwright, both left for major conference jobs. Mooney, 112-86 in six years ago the university, joked about all the blog posts written about Smart.
“I would talk to my guys right up front about it if there was anything to talk about,” Mooney said. “But we kind of push it out and get it away from us and really concentrate on the business at hand.”