Entering his third season as the head coach of the LSU Fighting Tiger basketball program, Coach Will Wade has been able to check all the boxes of program building that he set out to accomplish when he was named the 22nd head coach of the LSU program prior to the 2017-18 season.
This past season, Coach Wade, his staff and players put together a team that posted a 16-2 record in the Southeastern Conference, winning the 11th regular season title in school history and going on to advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.
So far in two seasons, LSU under Wade has posted 16 wins in the Quadrant I rankings in the NCAA RPI/now NET rankings. After five in 2018, Wade’s Tigers posted 11 Q1 wins in 2019. This year that included at No. 4 NET ranked Kentucky, versus No. 9 Tennessee, No. 13 Auburn and at No. 21 Mississippi State.
The Tigers also had the ability to win in so many different ways. In the final seconds (at Kentucky, versus Tennessee and Maryland) and on the road in overtime (at Arkansas, at Missouri, at Mississippi State, at Florida). The 2019 Tigers became the first LSU squad to go 9-0 in the league on the road and ended the year tied for the longest road win streak in the country.
In two years, the Tigers have drawn four crowds that are in the top 12 single game attendances in the present seating configuration of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Fans are caring again about LSU basketball, not just because of wins, but because of what they have seen on the court.
The fans have seen the things that Coach Wade promised when he took the job – an energized staff that was integrated in the game making coaching decisions and alterations as needed; player that were working hard to enact a game plan and making big plays.
More than anything, LSU fans saw the advancement of returning players under Coach Wade and his staff and the way that the new player blended with the improved veterans.
Three member of last year’s championship team – Tremont Waters, Naz Reid and Kavell Bigby-Williams – will go to NBA training camps. Waters was picked in the second round of the 2019 draft by Boston, while Reid has signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Bigby-Williams has signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Charlotte Hornets.
Skylar Mays will be the lead senior on this team and his two years with Coach Wade has shown the coaching ability of the staff with a solid player wanting to advance, improving in big steps each year. He was a second-team All-SEC selection and was a first-team Academic All-American as selected by CoSIDA.
Waters was selected First Team All-SEC and the league’s co-Defensive POY, while Mays was a second team choice. Reid was selected on the all-league freshman team.
Wade, one of the younger coaches in Division I, who will turn 36 on Nov. 26, has also proven to be one of the most energetic both in practices and games, and his players have responded in kind.
Wade has also brought analytics and trends to his coaching practices at LSU and his ability to know situations and tendencies has proven beneficial to the Tigers in his first two seasons.
The Will Wade File
Years at LSU: Third
Birthdate: Nov. 26, 1982
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
High School: Franklin Road Academy
College: Clemson, 2005
Wife: Lauren Deason
Child: Caroline Elizabeth
Wade’s College Coaching Experience
2005-06 - Clemson, Graduate Assistant
2006-07 - Clemson, Director of Operations
2007-09 - Harvard, Assistant Coach
2009-13 - VCU, Assistant Coach
2013-15 - UT-Chattanooga, Head Coach
2015-17 - VCU, Head Coach
March 22, 2017 - Present - LSU, Head Coach
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