Will Yoder
Wednesday March 21st, 2012

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.

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