VCU’s Will Wade named LSU men’s basketball coach

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Will Wade

By HANK KURZ Jr.

RICHMOND, Va. – Will Wade is leaving VCU to take over LSU after guiding the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in both his seasons as coach.

Vice Chancellor and athletic director Joe Alleva made the announcement Monday night on LSU’s athletics web site and Twitter. The statement said more details will come Tuesday.

Wade guided the Rams to the Atlantic 10 championship game and the NCAA Tournament in both of his seasons. He agreed to a six-year contract with LSU, a person familiar with the negotiations said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because details of the contract have not been released.

Alleva flew to Richmond on Sunday with deputy AD Eddie Nunez and met with Wade for several hours. The Tigers’ search began when they fired Johnny Jones on March 10 after five seasons, with two years left on his contract. LSU was 10-21 this season.

The 34-year-old Wade has been a head coach for only four years, the first two at Chattanooga, after cutting his teeth as an assistant under Shaka Smart at VCU. Wade guided the Rams to a 51-20 record and is 91-45 overall as a head coach.

Wade received an eight-year contract extension from VCU after his first season that called for him to make $1.4 million this season, plus incentives, and $1.5 million in each of the remaining seasons. LSU will have to pay the Rams $1 million as compensation for hiring Wade and agree to a home-and-home series with VCU within three years.

The move comes at a difficult time for the Rams, who have reached the NCAA Tournament for seven straight seasons. VCU and Kansas are the only teams that have won at least 24 games in each of the last 11 seasons, but because of that success, the Rams have lost four coaches to major college jobs since 2006.

The Rams will graduate five seniors off this year’s team, including scoring leader JeQuan Lewis, and are slated to have only two seniors on next year’s team. They were to be bolstered by a recruiting class ranked among the top 25 by several services that grade recruiting, but some of those recruits may now revisit those commitments.

More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

OFFICIAL LSU RELEASE
WILL WADE NAMED LSU MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH

BATON ROUGE – Will Wade, who guided Virginia Commonwealth University to 51 wins and to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament over the past two seasons, has been named the head men’s basketball coach at LSU, vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva announced late Monday.

Wade becomes the 22nd head coach in LSU men’s basketball history.

Wade comes to LSU after serving two years at VCU following two seasons as head coach at Chattanooga. He brings to LSU an overall record of 91-45 in his four seasons as a head coach.

“Will Wade is a smart, energetic, and skilled individual,” Alleva said. “He will provide great leadership for our student-athletes. The future of the program is bright.”

Wade compiled a 51-20 record in his two years as VCU’s head coach leading the team to its first Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season championship and a pair of appearances in the NCAA Tournament. As the No. 10 seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Wade led the Rams to a 75-67 win over seventh-seeded Oregon State in the first round.

“My many years at VCU were some of the best years of my life and I will never forget the opportunities that university afforded me,” said Wade. “But the chance to build on the tradition and talent at a place like LSU was an opportunity I have been working for my entire career.”

Wade brings a high-intensity, fast-paced, ball-hawking identity to his programs as he strives to achieve excellence in the student-athlete experience both on and off the court. On the VCU practice gym wall is a slogan that one writer said perfectly describes his coaching philosophy: “Chance Favors The Aggressor.”

Before becoming head coach at VCU, Frank William (“Will”) Wade was head coach at Chattanooga for two seasons where he went 40-25. Wade earned Southern Conference Coach of the Year Honors in 2014 after leading the Mocs to a 22-10 overall mark and a second-place finish in the league. The 22 wins for Chattanooga were the most at the school since 1996-97 when the Mocs won 24 games.

In his first year as a head coach in 2013-14, Wade directed Chattanooga to an 18-15 overall record and a second-place finish in the Southern Conference.

Prior to his first head coaching job at Chattanooga, Wade served as an assistant at VCU for four years, a span that saw the Rams post a 113-37 mark and reach the NCAA Tournament three times. Wade helped the Rams claim the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Championship and he was on the sidelines when VCU won five NCAA Tournament games on its way to reaching the Final Four in 2011.

He began his career at Clemson as a graduate assistant and director of basketball operations in 2005-06 and he followed that with two seasons under Tommy Amaker at Harvard.

Wade is a Nashville, Tennessee, native and is married to Lauren Deason.

Wade will be formally introduced to LSU students, fans and media tomorrow on the LSU campus. Details about Wade’s introduction to the Baton Rouge community will come later today.

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