Virgina Commonwealth University head basketball coach Shaka Smart has turned down an offer to become the next head coach of the University of Illinois, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
On Wednesday, multiple sources told the Sun-Times that Smart has told the Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas that he has declined the offer which was worth at least $2.5 million a year.
Alabama coach Anthony Grant also expressed that he was not interested in the job either when responding to speculation that he may be a possible target for the position. Thomas is now faced with finding a successor to Bruce Weber, who was terminated after failing to make the NCAA tournament this season. Sources say the Illinois athletic director is being pressured into hiring a minority coach as Illinois is one of the three schools in the Big Ten that has never hired a minority coach (basketball or football). However, Thomas, on the record, has said he is looking for the best possible candidate.