Blog Entry

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:10 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 4:27 pm

VCU's Shaka Smart would be the... intelligent choice.

Posted by Eric Angevine

Gary Parrish has sources who confirm that Bruce Pearl is on his way out at Tennessee. This is not unexpected news, at all.

If the Vols want to keep things running smoothly, they should hire the hot coach of the hour, as soon as he becomes available. That means Shaka Smart of VCU. Sure, some fans will agitate for someone with a bigger name (nobody has a cooler one), like Buzz Williams. Williams would actually be a great fit, but he's already in the Big East, and competition for his services will be stiff after this tournament run ends. He may also not much like the looks of rebuidling a program on probation.

But what about Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart? A move to the SEC would be a step up in money, and the facilities at Thompson-Boling are top-notch. 

Smart runs an up-tempo system that will appeal to Volunteer fans, players and recruits. Even if it was his fate to lose a few games right out of the gate, his teams would look good doing it, and he'd never give up. He also has an SEC pedigree, having coached under Billy Donovan at Florida. In fact, when he left to take the VCU job, he was replacing another Donovan protege, Alabama head man Anthony Grant. Perhaps the key to building a stronger SEC hoops profile is to hire as many Florida (or Kentucky) assistants as possible.

Smart's Rams have become the first school to make the Sweet 16 by winning three games, thanks to a berth in the inaugural First Four competition. Let's not assume that 1) he'll be easy to get or 2) he'll be willing to jump the first time someone shows him a check. The odds of his stock getting hotter than it is right now are pretty slim, though, with Jamie Skeen, Ed Nixon, Brandon Rozzell and Joey Rodriguez ready to graduate. Then again, there are always other jobs.

Smart is... well, smart. He is intelligent enough to know that this isn't going to be the best job in the world. He knows he's hot right now, and can wait to see what else pops up. But he's also smart enough to know how to rebuild the Volunteers, and do it without all of the scandal the UT football and basketball programs have brought aboard recently. He'd be in much the same situation as gridiron coach Derek Dooley, who took advantage of an opportunity to move from Louisiana Tech to one of the nation's top historical programs last summer. Smart might be too hot for such a move right now, honestly. He'd look even better at Missouri, should the rumors of Mike Anderson's departure be true. He wouldn't even have to buy any new ties.

If Tennessee has the money, and a plan of patient support in place, they just might be able to make the hire they need to make.

Get Smart. Hire Shaka.

If UT can't, perhaps they should just cut out the middle man and hire one of Billy Donovan's assistants directly.

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Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:02 am

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Brown would be a great hire but there's just one problem: He's way too stylish to ever sport an Orange Blazer.

Since: Jul 12, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 8:14 am

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

I am a VCU alum, and I hate it when we get a great basketball coach because they end up leaving.

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: March 22, 2011 1:26 am

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

The coach to replace Pearl should be obvious - Rick Byrd, Belmont University

Since: May 24, 2008
Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:41 pm

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Larry Brown wants to return to college coaching. Have the new AD (Mike Hamilton has as much job security as Gadhafi) contact him and bring him in for a couple of years - about normal for the nomadic Brown - to secure the program and then UT can go from there. Brown would have some decent players, perhaps more than he would find at Arkansas, though Arkansas is bringing out outstanding freshmen, and if UT is allowed in the 2012 NCAA tourney, then he could add to his legacy.

Since: Jan 22, 2010
Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:29 pm

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Who's kidding who?  Over the last 20 years not one single coach has been able to leave Knoxville of his own choice. This place is a dead end for any young coach who aspires to be in the top echelon for an extended period of time. In additon to having to compete with Calipari (and whoever his eventual successor is) and Donavan (until he goes to the NBA) the new coach would also be faced with the reality that he will be forever 3rd in the pecking order at UT behind the football coach and Pat Summitt. Pearl's success can be partially attributed to the long slow downfall of Tubby Smith and the disaster known as Billy Clyde. Donavan's 2 NCAA titles and Cal's arrival in Lex. was in all likelihood a major factor in the UT staff's realization of the need to cut corners in order to recruit BIG. UT has usually gone for the "IT" coach of the moment when hiring, look for this to be no different.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:19 pm

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Shaka Kahn?

Since: Apr 6, 2007
Posted on: March 21, 2011 6:11 pm

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Before talking to Smart, the university will have to get David and Dana Pump consulting firm to tell them Smart is the new up and coming coach and then pay them $50k+ to tell them something they already know.

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: March 21, 2011 5:22 pm

Tennessee would be smart to hire Shaka

Yea but Shaka would be dumb to go to Tennessee, that place will be a mess. 

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