BATON ROUGE - For the first time in 30 years, LSU has hired a coach in his 30s to take over one of its major athletic programs.
Will Wade, who is 34, has agreed to leave his head coaching job at Virginia Commonwealth to become the LSU head men's basketball coach, a contact close to his camp confirmed after ESPN originally broke the story Monday night. An LSU contact later also confirmed the hire.
Wade, who was born on Nov. 26, 1982, in Nashville, Tennessee, took VCU to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first year there in the 2015-16 season, finishing 25-11 and tied for first in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 14-4. He also took VCU to the current NCAA Tournament at 26-8 and 14-4 before an 85-77 loss to St. Mary's in the first round last week.
The last coach LSU hired so young to direct a major sport was 33-year-old Mike Archer to coach the football team in 1987.
Wade was the head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2013-14 and 2014-15, compiling records of 18-15 and 12-4 and 22-10 and 15-3 in the Southern Conference, respectively. He was named the Southern Conference coach of the year in 2014. He replaces Johnny Jones, 55, who was fired after five seasons at LSU. His 2016-17 team was one of the worst in LSU history, finishing 10-21 and 2-16 in the Southeastern Conference.
LSU is expected to pay Wade $2 million a year in a six-year contract. He was making $1.4 million a year at VCU. Wade told friends a year ago he thought LSU had the potential of a Florida.
Wade is expected to retain LSU assistant coach Randy Livingston, a former star player at LSU who was initially let go two weeks ago with the rest of the staff when Jones was fired.
Wade began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater Clemson in 2005. He was then director of basketball operations at Clemson through 2007. He was an assistant coach at Harvard from 2007-09 under Tommy Amaker and at VCU from 2009-13 under Shaka Smart, who is now the Texas head coach.
Glenn Guilbeau covers LSU sports for the USA Today Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter at @LSUBeatTweet. Coverage of LSU and commentary by Guilbeau supported by Hebert’s Town & Country Automobile Dealer in Shreveport located at 1155 East Bert Kouns Loop. Research your next Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram at http://hebertstandc.com/.)