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Report: Shaka Smart turns down Marquette offer

Shaka Smart has been one of the most sought-after up-and-coming coaches for the past five years. (Al Tielemans/SI) Shaka Smart has been one of the most sought-after up-and-coming coaches for the past five years. (Al Tielemans/SI)

Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart has rejected Marquette's offer to take over as the team's head men's basketball coach, ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman reported Thursday.

According to Goodman, Smart called Marquette representatives on Thursday and told them he would not be taking the position. The school is looking for a replacement for Buzz Williams, who stunningly left last week for the Virginia Tech job after six seasons with the Golden Eagles.

The 36-year-old Smart has been the head coach of VCU for five years and has been sought after as an up-and-comer in the head-coaching ranks for most of that time. Last year, Smart spurned an offer from UCLA and signed a contract extension that runs through 2023, one that pays him approximately $1.5 million per season.

Under Smart, the Rams have made the NCAA tournament in each of the last four years. The fifth-seeded Rams were bounced from this year's tournament by 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin last week.

According to Goodman, Marquette is now prepared to move on to other possibilities for their head-coaching vacancy. Some of the names on their list, he reported, are former UCLA coach Ben Howland, Green Bay coach Brian Wardle, and Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins.

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