Around college basketball: VCU keeps Smart off market with extension

Thursday March 28, 2013 8:55 AM
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Shaka Smart and Virginia Commonwealth have agreed in principle to a deal to keep the coach at the school.

Athletic director Ed McLaughlin said yesterday the details still are being worked out, but the majority of changes involve “program enhancements for the student-athletes and coaches.” McLaughlin said it extends a contract scheduled to run through 2020. The new deal reportedly runs through 2023.

Smart’s record is 111-37 in four years, the sixth-most victories in the nation over that stretch.

Since guiding VCU to the Final Four in 2011, Smart’s name has been among the first mentioned whenever a high-profile job opens.

With openings at places such as UCLA, Southern California and Minnesota, McLaughlin said VCU wanted to give him a new deal to be proactive.

Duke assistant Collins to coach Northwestern

Northwestern hired longtime Duke assistant Chris Collins as its head coach.

Collins, a son of Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins, is a logical fit given his ties to the area, the academic similarities to Duke and his basketball pedigree. He is from Northbrook, Ill., about 15 miles from the campus in Evanston, played for the Blue Devils and spent the past 13 years at Duke.

Collins replaces Bill Carmody, who was fired after 13 seasons.

Auriemma signs new contract to stay at UConn

Connecticut signed women’s coach Geno Auriemma to a five-year, $10.86 million contract designed to keep him at the school through the 2017-18 season.

Auriemma, 59, who has coached at UConn for the past 28 seasons, will make $1.95 million in salary, speaking fees and media fees in the next year. That will gradually increase to $2.4 million in the final year of the contract.

He also can earn bonuses for winning conference championships, advancing in the NCAA Tournament and winning another national title. Auriemma has led the Huskies to seven national championships and 13 Final Fours.

The Huskies (31-4) play Maryland on Saturday in a Bridgeport Regional semifinal.

Abdul-Jabbar interested in UCLA coaching job

UCLA has said it is looking for a basketball coach to enhance its winning culture. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he’s the man.

Abdul-Jabbar said that he wants to be considered for the Bruins job, replacing recently fired Ben Howland.

The winning part of his résumé is beyond question.

As a center for the Bruins from 1966 to ’69, Abdul-Jabbar was the star on teams that won three NCAA titles. He was on teams that won six NBA titles.

“Like all Bruin supporters,” Abdul-Jabbar said, “the recent trend at our school hasn’t made me happy. The players don’t seem to be learning how to play, and haven’t been graduating. We can do better.”

Abdul-Jabbar, 65, said that he has reached out to athletic director Dan Guerrero, “and hopefully, I can get a chance to make my case.”

He has had no Division I coaching experience, but has coached in various capacities from high school through the NBA.

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