CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Shaka Smart boarded a plane with the University of Texas athletic director on Friday afternoon to head to Austin where he'll be announced as the university's next men's basketball coach.
Smart's family was by his side as he boarded Steve Patterson's jet at the Chesterfield County Airport. A press conference announcing Smart is reportedly scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Smart, VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin and University President Dr. Michael Rao all released statements on the resignation hours after the news broke late Thursday night.
Smart thanks VCU players, staff and supporters who he crossed paths with in his six years at the school.
"The ascendance of the VCU program has been and will continue to be about a special group of people both within and outside the immediate team that make VCU Basketball extremely unique," wrote Smart. "This program's future is extremely bright. The best is yet to come."
VCU Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin is in Indianapolis for the Final Four where he has repeated already begun the search for the team's next coach.
"We will remember Shaka's success on the court and with our student-athletes forever, but more importantly, he has helped to create a level of sustainable success on an elite level nationally," McLaughlin said, "I speak for our entire department in thanking him and his staff for everything they have done for our student-athletes and VCU. We wish him well in Austin."
President Rao praised Coach Smart for his work elevating VCU athletics and the university as a whole.
"He has been an exemplary and first-class representative of our university, our city and our commonwealth. We thank him and wish him well," wrote Dr. Rao. "Meanwhile, we will search for our next men's basketball coach with full confidence that we will attract nationally renowned candidates who will ensure that we continue to perform among the nation's elite programs. VCU is on the rise and offers a rare opportunity to win big, win often and win now – and continue to do so in a first-class way."