Shaka Smart life and biography

Shaka Smart picture, image, poster

Shaka Smart biography

Date of birth : 1977-04-08
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2011-03-14
Credited as : College basketball coach, head coach of VCU Athletics, NCAA Tournament

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Shaka Smart is an American college basketball coach, and the current head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams - VCU Athletics men's basketball team.

At 33, Smart is among the 10 youngest head coaches at the Division I level, but that didn’t show in his first season at the helm, leading the Rams to the 2010 College Basketball Invitational Championship and a 27-9 record. His 27 wins are the most among all first-year head coaches in 2009-10.

Smart became the program’s 10th head coach on April 2, 2009 and hit the ground running securing outstanding late signees in Troy Daniels and Darius Theus within his first month.

“Through the vetting process of hiring someone to lead our program, we spoke with some of the nation’s top head and assistant coaches, men who came highly recommended from the biggest names in college basketball,” said VCU Athletic Director Norwood Teague. “Shaka stood out amongst all of them. In Shaka, we have found someone who we knew without a shadow of a doubt could continue the excellence established by VCU basketball."

Prior to his arrival at VCU, Smart spent one season as an assistant with Donovan’s Florida Gators. He helped lead the program to a 25-11 season, the fifth-most wins in school history, and a berth in the NIT Quarterfinals.

Before Florida, Smart served as an assistant coach under Purnell at Clemson from 2006-08. During his tenure, Smart helped the Tigers to 49 wins and back-to-back postseason appearances, including an NCAA Tournament berth in 2008.

Smart had a positive effect on Clemson in his first year, aiding the Tigers to a 25-11 record and NIT Championship game appearance. The 25 victories and 17-0 start tied 20-year old Clemson records. The Tigers appeared in the top 25 of the USA Today coaches' poll for eight consecutive weeks.

Additionally, Smart has been credited for his work on the recruiting trail, playing a significant role in the Tigers’ landing of top 100 recruits Catalin Baciu, Terrence Oglesby and Milton Jennings. While at Florida, he helped the Gators land the nation’s No. 3 recruiting class, according to, including McDonald’s All-American guard Kenny Boynton.

From 2003-06, Smart spent three seasons as an assistant at the University of Akron. In 2005-06, he helped the Zips to a 23-10 record, the school’s highest victory total since it became a Division I program in 1980-81.

The Zips also defeated Temple in the first round of the NIT for the school’s first Division I postseason triumph. In two seasons working under Dambrot, Smart helped Akron to a 42-20 record.

Smart worked for Purnell at Dayton as director of basketball operations from 2001-03. During that time, the Flyers posted a 45-17 record and won the 2003 Atlantic 10 Championship. The 2002-03 squad finished 24-6 and earned an NCAA bid.

Prior to his time at Dayton and immediately after graduating from college, Smart served as an assistant coach at California University of Pennsylvania. The school had a 40-16 combined ledger those two seasons. While he worked at California (Pa.), Smart earned his master's degree in social science.

Smart played his college basketball at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio and graduated magna cum laude in 1999 with a degree in history. A four-year starter and three-year captain, he holds Kenyon single season (184) and a career (542) assist marks. As a senior, he was an All-North Coast Conference selection and was the NCAC Scholar Athlete of the Year. He was one of 20 students selected for the 1999 USA Today All-USA Academic team and received a NCAA postgraduate scholarship.

Coaching career:

1999–2001: California (Pa.) (asst.)
2001–2003: Dayton (dir. of basketball ops.)
2003–2006: Akron (asst.)
2006–2008: Clemson (asst.)
2008–2009: Florida (asst.)
2009– : VCU

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