The LSU Tigers men’s basketball team now has a new head coach.
After letting go of Johnny Jones, the Tigers have reportedly hired VCU Rams coach Will Wade for the same position. The move was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and the terms of the deal indicate that it is a fresh, six-year contract for Wade in Baton Rouge.
LSU has agreed to a six-year deal with VCU's Will Wade, sources told ESPN. https://t.co/FvwuqBIDd2— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 21, 2017
Wade is 34 years old and was brought on to VCU after the accomplished Shaka Smart left Richmond for the Texas Longhorns job prior to the 2015-16 season. In two seasons with the Rams, Wade led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances while going 51-20 with a 28-8 record in conference. They were tied for first in the Atlantic 10 Conference a season ago and finished second this year behind the Dayton Flyers.
This came after a two-year stint with the Chattanooga Mocs of the Southern Conference. There, Wade went 40-25 with a 27-7 record in conference, including a 22-win season in 2014-15 when he won the SoCon Coach of the Year award.
Wade’s recruiting classes, while a small sample size, indicate that he was able to get a firm handle on things while at the helm at VCU. The Rams were ranked first in the 2017 class (although that will obviously see some changes now that he has departed) and had finished second behind UMass for 2016. Nationally, VCU’s recruiting rankings were 43rd and 30th the past two seasons.
At first glance, this appears to be a very solid hire for the LSU program, which is in need of a jolt after a few years of hanging in the cellar despite stout recruiting classes brought in by Jones. Given what Wade has done in Richmond with VCU, it will be intriguing to see how he performs while potentially having even better talent at his disposal if he recruits well in an SEC that is beginning to be littered with much better coaches than years past.