Mike Rhoades was always the natural replacement when Shaka Smart finally gave in and left VCU for a bigger job.
But after the 2013-14 season, Rhoades was offered the head coaching position at Rice and couldn't turn it down. Little did he know Smart would be leaving the very next year and Rhoades would have surely been hired instead of Will Wade.
Now, with Wade abandoning VCU and taking the LSU gig, Rhodes' dream of taking over the Rams program looks more possible than ever.
On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN college basketball reporter Jeff Goodman announced Rhoades is meeting with VCU decision makers and is the front runner to land the job.
Rice head coach and former VCU assistant Mike Rhoades is the frontrunner to replace Will Wade, sources told ESPN. https://t.co/s72GQ8r0VH
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 21, 2017
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish tweeted it's a done deal.
Considering these reports, it would be stunning if Rhoades left Richmond without a deal. In my early years of sports writing, I covered the VCU basketball program for various publications while living in Richmond. Much like Jeff Capel is Coach K's right hand man at Duke, Rhoades held a similar role with Smart at VCU.
He was a key figure on the recruiting trail while forming key, meaningful relationships with players along the way. Rhoades was also a staple behind Smart's "havoc" defense that became the trademark for the Rams' basketball program. He's the total package.
"Rhoades was our x's and o's guy and everyone's guy," one former VCU player told HERO Sports.
VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin is desperately craving a long-term solution. He wants to hire someone that will stick around for a while, and not just jump ship after a taste of success like Wade did. Rhoades is the answer.