RICHMOND - This year's "Shaka Watch" has gone where none other have ventured before. According to multiple reports out of Austin, Texas, the Athletic Director Steve Patterson will fly to Richmond on Thursday to meet with Smart and take him back to the University of Texas campus for a tour later in the day and on Friday.
The Longhorn fan site Orangebloods.com first reported the plan.
VCU officials repeated on Wednesday that no other school had asked permission to talk to Smart, who is still under contract to the Rams. However, permission from VCU is not legally required for Smart to negotiate with another school and is usually done as a professional courtesy.
Smart spent Wednesday afternoon in his office at the Siegel Center. Sources have told CBS 6 Sports that while no offer has officially been given, any potential deal would be for five years in the neighborhood of $15-16 million, which would double Smart's current salary at VCU. Smart’s current salary with VCU is $1.57 million. Texas was paying former coach Rick Barnes $2.55 million.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.com reported that Texas officials were confident a deal would be completed soon.
It is worth noting that, while Smart’s name has come up in several coaching searches over the past few years, he has always either removed his name from consideration or otherwise declined interest quickly in the process. Texas’s search is now moving toward its fourth day, and Smart has remained silent.
Smart coached with current Longhorns assistant Rob Lanier when the two were on Billy Donovan's staff at Florida.