Former Rams assistant, Will Wade, expected to become new VCU head coach
Multiple sources have confirmed VCU is expected to announce Will Wade as the school’s new head men’s basketball coach today.
VCU AD McLaughlin told Fox Sport’s radio’s Wes McElroy this morning that he can’t confirm Wade’s hire but is very close to “buttoning things up”.
Wade returns to Richmond after serving two successful seasons at UT Chattanooga. There he turned around a Mocs program that hadn’t had a winning season in the four seasons prior, earning Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first year of league play.
The following year Wade continued that upward trend by posting the first 20-win season (22-10) at UTC since 2005, and had climbed the Mocs up Ken Pomeroy’s rankings from 310th nationally before his arrival to 158th in just his second season as head coach.
Wade took a team that ranked 277th in effective field goal percentage and turned them into a top-100 shooting team (VCU ranked 188th this past season) by the end of his stay in Chattanooga. He had previously spent four seasons with Shaka Smart at VCU from 2009-2013.
The Nashville, Tennessee native came to VCU as Smart’s first hire, joining the former Rams’ coach at just 26 years old and was a key piece of Smart’s 2011 Final 4 staff.
“Will is extremely bright, hard-working and diligent. No one will spend more time building relationships with student-athletes than Will,” Smart stated upon Wade’s hiring at UTC. “There is no question in my mind that he will be a tremendous success.”
Prior to his time at VCU Wade had been tabbed as the first hire of another successful coach, joining Tommy Amaker in 2007 as a part of a staff that would quickly turn around the Crimson’s program.
Former Harvard point guard and now LA Laker, Jeremy Lin, praised Wade’s work ethic with the Crimson.
“The one thing I’ll always remember about Coach Wade is that he outworked everybody else. Every day he was the first one there and the last to leave. Sometimes he just didn’t leave…he would just sleep at the gym. Coach Wade is a perfect example of how hard work pays off.”
Wade’s tireless energy off the court matches what he’ll likely expect his teams to demonstrate on the court at VCU, as the Wade led Rams will look to make sure Havoc remains at VCU with an up-tempo press he was key in installing at VCU alongside former head coach, Shaka Smart.
Wade will take over a VCU team that has made five consecutive NCAA tournaments and is coming off their first ever Atlantic 10 tournament championship.
The Rams lose seniors Treveon Graham, Briante Weber and Jarred Guest, but return the majority of their minutes used during VCU’s run through Brooklyn as Weber saw his career end prior to the tournament and Guest played just a total of 8 minutes in Brooklyn.
VCU returns a roster full of talent and signed another highly-rated recruiting class but could potentially lose recruits due to the coaching change.
Wade will look to retain that incoming talent but has proven himself a sharp recruiter even in a pinch, helping land Darius Theus and Troy Daniels upon his arrival to VCU in 2009.
VCU is expected to make an official announcement of the hire later today.