RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former VCU head basketball coach Will Wade has released his first statement since formally accepting the head coaching position at LSU.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, Wade will sign a six-year deal to lead the Tigers.
In a release issued by the LSU athletic department, Will Wade had the following to say about his time at VCU:
“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 has been VCU’s head coach for the last two seasons. In that time VCU is 51-20 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. The Rams are 1-2 in the Tournament under Wade, having most recently lost to St. Mary’s in the first round on March 16th.
Wade helped VCU to a share of the Atlantic Ten regular season championship for the first time in program history. The Rams came in second to Dayton this season.
Wade is the fourth successful coach in a row to leave VCU, following Jeff Caple (Oklahoma), Anthony Grant (Alabama), and Shaka Smart (Texas). Caple and Grant were fired from their post-VCU gigs, and Smart is 31-25 in two seasons in Austin but just finished up an 11-22 campaign.
Like his three predecessors, Wade is ditching VCU for a school with multiple football national titles and room to improve in basketball.
The LSU Tigers finished second to last in the Southeastern Conference this past season. The Tigers were 2-16 in league play and just 10-21 overall this past year. They failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2015-2016 despite having one of the nation’s top players, Ben Simmons, leading the attack. As a result, LSU fired former head coach Johnny Jones at the end of the season.
So, what’s next for VCU?
The Rams need a new coach. They might start with one of three names: Mike Rhoades, Jamion Christian, or Mike Jones.
Like Wade, all three were at one time assistants under Shaka Smart on the 2011 Final Four team.
Rhoades also coached at Randolph-Macon for a decade. He is currently the head coach at Rice, where he just finished his third season.
Christian just led Mount St. Mary’s to the NEC Championship and to a First Four victory in the NCAA Tournament. Defending champion Villanova eliminated The Mount in the first round. Christian is from Quinton, Virginia, and led New Kent High School to a state championship as a player.
Jones has been the head coach at Radford since the 2011-2012 season. Under Jones, the Highlanders have never finished better than third in the Big South. Jones just wrapped up a 14-18 season.
VCU Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin released a statement on Will’s departure Tuesday morning:
We will update you with more information as it comes in.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.