LSU president and Chancellor F. King Alexander and athletics director Joe Alleva released a joint statement stating the they have indefinitely suspended LSU basketball coach Will Wade amid reports released by Yahoo Sports linking him to convicted middleman Christian Dawkins.
Assistant coach Tony Benford will take over as interim head coach, according to the release.
“Recent media reports regarding Coach Will Wade are without question concerning to all of us,” the statement read. “As such, we and university officials have taken deliberate and purposeful steps to fairly assess and adequately address this situation. As we have done since media reports first surfaced months ago, we are closely coordinating with the NCAA with every step. They have our full cooperation and we will continue to report to them all facts and information on this matter.
“All of us at LSU share the obligation to protect the integrity of this institution, as such we have suspended Head Coach Will Wade indefinitely until such time as we can ensure full compliance with the NCAA, as well as institutional policies and standards.”
The Tigers will be without Wade for the first time in his two-season tenure in its season finale and senior night on Saturday when they take on Vanderbilt for at least a share of the Southeastern Conference title.
In this, his second season with the program, Wade has led the Tigers to a 25-5 overall record and a 15-2 SEC clip with a chance to earn the top seed in the league’s tournament with a win Saturday.
Will Wade responded to the suspension and the allegations levied against him via a text message NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
“Serving as the Head Basketball Coach at LSU has been the honor of my life,” Wade said in the statement. “I love this university and all it stands for. From day one, I’ve been focused on building a winning program made up of excellent coaches and staff and a team of first-rate student athletes.
“I cannot comment at this time on various media reports, except to say that they do not begin to tell the full story. I understand the University had to take action before all the facts are in, but I would ask everyone to withhold their judgment until the record is complete.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey also responded to the situation via a statement from the league office.
“I support the action of LSU in its suspension of head men’s basketball coach Will Wade,” Sankey wrote in the statement. “The information in recent news reports is very disturbing, if true. Considering the existing circumstances, LSU has taken appropriate action today while the investigation continues.
“The SEC serves in an advisory role with our institutions in NCAA compliance issues and the Conference Office will continue to assist LSU as it moves forward in this matter.”