Updated May 2014
SoCon Coach of the Year: 2014
Will Wade was named the Chattanooga Mocs 18th Head Men’s Basketball Coach on May 13, 2013. Wade came to the Scenic City after a four-year stint as an assistant coach at VCU. He had an immediate impact on the program, on and off the floor.
His first Mocs squad went 18-15 in 2013-14 finishing 12-6 finishing second in regular season Southern Conference play. The 18 wins overall are the most by the program since 2008-09 and the 12 wins in league games is the highest total since 2010-11. It made the school’s first postseason appearance since 2009 competing in the CIT.
Wade won the Anton Foy Southern Conference Coach of the Year award for his efforts, which is the first such honor for a Mocs mentor since Mack McCarthy in 1993. Z. Mason (Nashville, Tenn.) became the first Chattanooga student-athlete to win the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award as he blocked a school-record 92 shots. Mason and Casey Jones (New Orleans, La.) each earned All-SoCon mention as well.
The 18 wins did not come against a soft schedule. All totaled, the Mocs faced seven teams that reached postseason play including a 2-1 record against NCAA Tournament squads. Their 10-game winning streak from the end of December through the end of January was the longest by the school since 1996-97.
Chattanooga took great strides forward in the classroom. There were two Dean’s List students in Eric Robertson and Ronrico White, while Tre’ McLean earned the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. Robertson brought home an impressive 4.0 as the returning student-athletes from 2013-14 tallied a 2.93 grade point average.
The Mocs were stellar in the community as well. Wade speaks regularly to student and civic groups and was the keynote speaker for the University’s fall convocation. His team went door-to-door engaging the student body prior to the season.
The program led the Southern Conference in attendance, proving the strong tie to the campus and the city. The largest crowd since 2009 rolled through the turnstiles as nearly 6,700 fans watched Chattanooga capture a key SoCon win over UNCG in January.
Along with Wade’s Scenic City speaking tour, the Mocs are active in their community, especially with area youth. From visiting local schools to after-school events to adopting a “Friends of Jaclyn” teammate, the squad embraces its role as “Chattanooga’s Team”.
His hiring signaled a new era for the basketball program. He brought the high-intensity, fast-paced, ball-hawking identity that led the Rams to national prominence. At Chattanooga, “Chaos” takes over as the on-court persona for the program.
Expect an up-tempo, in-your-face game from Wade and his charges. He wasted little time defining the identity:
CHAOS: Offensive Goals
CHAOS: Defensive Goals
Up tempo is a good term to describe Wade on and off the court. He comes to Chattanooga with a reputation as a tireless worker and relentless recruiter. His passion for the student-athlete perfectly mirrors the Chattanooga Athletics’ vision “To Achieve Excellence”. Expect Wade’s program to excel in all aspects of the student-athlete experience. His focus is on finding “winning guys” on and off the court.
Wade was VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart’s first hire upon taking the lead chair in Richmond in 2009. The dynamic duo forged an unprecedented path for the Rams including reaching the Final Four in 2011. VCU went 111-37 (.750) in his four seasons assisting Smart with three NCAA appearances.
“UTC is hiring an absolute star in Will Wade,” Smart noted. “Will is extremely bright, hard-working and diligent. No one will spend more time building relationships with student-athletes than Will. There is no question in my mind that he will be a tremendous success.”
One area Wade is highly lauded is on the recruiting trail. He is credited with being a key figure in four top non-BCS recruiting classes in his four seasons in Richmond. That included landing the likes of Troy Daniels and Juvonte Reddic.
Wade’s reputation was cemented prior to his arrival in Richmond. He served as an assistant to Tommy Amaker helping build the foundation to what has become one of the top programs in the country. As the program’s recruiting coordinator, he helped Amaker land one of the top 25 recruiting classes in the nation in 2008 and 2009 according to ESPN.com.
He spent the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons in Cambridge. Much like at VCU, he was Amaker’s first hire. The second year, the Crimson went 14-14, which was the first season of .500 or better ball for the program since 2001-02. Former Harvard star and NBA sensation Jeremy Lin, now of the Houston Rockets, remembers what is a common theme of those who talk about Wade.
“The one thing I’ll always remember about Coach Wade is that he outworked everybody else,” Lin stated. Every day he was the first one there and the last to leave. Sometimes he just didn’t leave…he would just sleep at the gym. Coach Wade is a perfect example of how hard work pays off. He will be an amazing head coach for the Chattanooga men’s basketball team!”
Wade’s coaching start came as Clemson where he served as Director of Basketball Operations (2006-07) and Graduate Assistant (2005-06) after four seasons as a student manager (2002-05). There he worked under Larry Shyatt (2002-03) and Oliver Purnell (2004-07).Wade is a native of Nashville, Tenn., where he prepped at Franklin Road Academy. His cousin is former Mocs football player and assistant coach Geep Wade.