Wade promotes Casey Long to Assistant, adds 3 more to staff

Fresh from <a href="http://www.vcuathletics.com">VCUAthletics.com</a>:

Casey Long has been promoted to assistant coach, while Nelson Hernandez, Johnny Taylor and Kevin Tiller have joined the VCU Men’s Basketball staff, Head Coach Will Wade announced Monday.

Hernandez will serve as director of operations, while Taylor and Tiller will move into the newly created positions of director of player development and director of student-athlete development, respectively. Taylor and Tiller’s positions are part of a number of program enhancements recently set forth by Wade and VCU Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin.

Long, who was VCU’s director of operations in 2015-16, served as an assistant for Wade during his tenure at Chattanooga from 2013-15. A former Chattanooga standout on the basketball court, Long helped Wade revitalize the Mocs. Long was on the bench when Chattanooga raced to a 22-10 mark in 2014-15, its first 20-win campaign since 2004-05.

“Casey’s been a vital part of our staff both at Chattanooga and here at VCU,” Wade said. “He’s done an excellent job of building relationships, especially with the players in our program.”

The No. 17 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic, Taylor’s experience will serve him well as VCU’s first director of player development.

“Our players have the desire to play at the next level. We want to give them every resource to make this possible,” Wade said. “Johnny will be an invaluable mentor for our players and will help us ensure they’re performing at the highest level.”

Taylor, who starred at Chattanooga and spent one season as a student assistant there for Wade, played four years in the NBA with Orlando and the Denver Nuggets before embarking on successful a 12-year professional basketball career in Europe. The 1997 Southern Conference Player of the Year, Taylor led the 14th-seeded Mocs to NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 that season following upsets of Georgia and Illinois.

Tiller joins the VCU staff in a full-time capacity following two seasons as a graduate assistant with the Rams. A Richmond native and Benedictine High School graduate, Tiller will focus on the off-court development of VCU’s Men’s Basketball student-athletes.

“We like to promote from within, and Kevin has really earned the respect of the players in our program,” said Wade. “We want our program to focus on the whole person. Kevin will head up our life-lessons program and will help our guys become more well-rounded off the court.”

A recent graduate of VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership, Tiller also received a bachelor’s degree in business management from Guilford College, where he competed in three sports, in 2014.

Hernandez will take over for Long as director of operations. He’ll coordinate many of VCU’s daily operations, including team travel. Hernandez joins the Rams following a season as a director of player development and administrative assistant at Wright State.

“Nelson has a diverse background, and that’s going to serve him well here at VCU,” Wade said.

The New York City native has spent much of the past 13 years working in college basketball. Hernandez served as Clemson’s video coordinator in 2014-15 and he held the same position at Utah State for four seasons. He worked as a regional scout for the Yakama Sun Kings of the Continental Basketball Association from 2005-07.

Hernandez also served as a producer of the award-winning documentary “Off the Rez”, which chronicles the life of future Louisville All-American and WNBA Draft pick Shoni Schimmel and her family.

“We’re excited to have these guys on board. Each of them brings something special to our program,” Wade said. “We’re looking forward to working together them as we prepare for the 2016-17 season and beyond.”
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Matt has been reporting on VCU sports for Ram Nation since 2007 with a focus on news, photos, and feature stories.
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Matt Morton
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