Coach Mike Rhoades of the Rice University men’s basketball team has accepted the job at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Rhoades already has ties with VCU, where he was the assistant coach to Shaka Smart from 2009-10, until he left for Rice University in 2014.
Rhoades has labeled the VCU job as his “dream job.”
“This is home,” said Rhoades. “I love it here. My family loves it here. When we got off the plane (Tuesday) night, we had 20-some friends, who are now our family when we moved down here. That’s why this was so exciting. Everybody knows my affection for VCU and VCU basketball.”
Rhoades led the Owls to a 23-win season, which was one game shy of the winningest season in school history. The Owls made it to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and lost in the quarterfinals to Utah Valley. Before the arrival of Coach Rhoades to Rice, the team went 7-23. Coach Rhoades gave the Rice basketball program a great turnaround.
VCU’s Athletic Director Ed McLaughlin had Rhoades in mind once former VCU coach Will Wade resigned and took the job at Louisiana State University. The VCU Rams have started to become a household name ever since Shaka Smart was there, where he led the Rams to their first Final Four. Coach Rhoades was part of that Final Four coaching staff.
After the departure of Rhoades, the Rice Owls made former assistant coach Scott Pera the new head coach of the basketball team. Pera received a glowing endorsement by Rockets’ star James Harden, whom he coached at Artesia High School, and whom recruited him to Arizona State.
“He’s a great mentor,” Harden said. “Obviously, he’s a great coach. He just knows the game. He knows the game. He knows how to recruit. In that spot, he deserves an opportunity. He worked his tail off. He’s been doing it for a long time. Hopefully he gets the job and it’s a great opportunity for him.”
Pera has coached at Rice for the past three seasons, but has coached at the college level for the past ten years.