LSU hires Will Wade as its 22nd basketball coach

By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor

LSU and Will Wade reached an agreement for the 34-year-old to become the Tigers’ 22nd basketball coach, a source confirmed to Tiger Rag Monday night, following reports from CBS and ESPN.

The deal, first reported by ESPN, is six years. Financial terms remained undisclosed but are thought to be near $2 million annually.

Wade has led VCU to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in his only two years on the job. The former VCU assistant on Shaka Smart’s 2011 Final Four team spent two years previously at Chattanooga, earning Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2014.

A former student manager and then graduate assistant at Clemson, Wade earned a reputation as an ace recruiter, first under Tommy Amaker at Harvard and then under Smart in Richmond.

Wade takes over for Johnny Jones, who was 90-72 in five seasons at LSU. Jones was fired following LSU’s 10-21 (2-16 SEC) 2016-17 campaign.

In four years as a head coach, Wade is 91-45. He went 40-25 at Chattanooga, including 27-7 and consecutive runners-up finishes in the Southern Conference. In two seasons at VCU, Wade went 51-20, winning the Atlantic 10 regular season title in his first year and finishing second in 2016-17 with matching records of 14-4. His Rams knocked off LSU last season at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Both teams are set to be part of the 2017 Maui Invitational field next season.

Wade, a Nashville, Tenn. native, graduated from Clemson in 2005 and served as a GA and director of basketball ops there until 2007. He joined Amaker’s Harvard staff in 2007 before heading to VCU as Smart’s fire hire in 2009.

Like Smart, Wade preaches an uptempo brand of basketball emphasizing “chaos.” Both of his VCU squads ranked in the top 40 in defensive efficiency nationally. Under Jones, LSU had one top 100 defense.

Wade made $1.4 million at VCU this year and has a $1 million buyout. The Rams made the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year under Wade’s leadership. They won their first game in 2016 before bowing out in the Round of 32, and fell 85-77 in this year’s Round of 64 to St. Mary’s.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Cody Worsham

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