CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.---A public reception was held today to welcome Chattanooga Mocs new Head Basketball Coach Will Wade to town. The event featured a question and answer session with the media. Here are a few excerpts:
Opening Statement: “I am very appreciative of the opportunity to be the head men’s basketball coach here at Chattanooga. This is a tremendous opportunity and I couldn’t be more excited. I have spent the last four years at Virginia Commonwealth University with Shaka Smart and he has made such an incredible impact on my career. I really wouldn’t be here today without Coach Smart and having him to lean on. I am very appreciative of him, and one of the great things for working for Coach Smart is that after every season – and this happened to be the season after we went to the Final Four – he brought me into his office and told me that he know my goal was to be a head coach. He asked me to give him a list of three or four colleges that were somewhat realistic that I would love to be at and number one on my list was Chattanooga. There’s nowhere else I would rather be.”
On why Wade embraces the press:
“Well, you teach what you know. I know the press and I believe the pressing style is a great equalizer. Very few teams play it and it is very difficult to prepare for – especially on a short rest. I think it is an unbelievable equalizer in the game of college basketball because you don’t see it that often. We are going to turn the game into a chaotic pace. We will practice at that pace, and the other team doesn’t practice at that pace. We are going to be more comfortable at that pace than the other team. I think it gives us a tremendous advantage over everyone.
Thoughts on building his coaching staff:
“When I look for staff there are two things that I look for in coaches. The first is that I want someone who is excited to be in Chattanooga. I want someone who is excited and fired up to be in this town. The second is that I want someone who is going to develop great relationships with our players. We want to spend a lot of time on and off the court with our players. With that said, I met with Casey Long this morning. I think he loves Chattanooga, I know he bleeds blue and gold and I know the players have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I want to announce that Casey is going to be a part of our staff. He is going to have to show me the ropes here for the next few weeks. I have a good idea of the framework and what we are going to as far as the process of meeting with a few people and building a great staff of guys who care about our players.”
On instilling his own work ethic into his players:
“I think working hard is the baseline for what you have to do to be successful. I wasn’t a great player and that creates a chip on my shoulder. I will work people and I will maneuver people that way. I get up extremely early in the morning, and I got that from my father. He has worked for 32 years and gets up at 5 a.m. every morning so I am an early riser, as well. Work ethic is just a baseline and it doesn’t ensure success at any level. You have to work hard. The harder you work the better you get and that’s what we are going to be about. WE are going to be a blue-collar, hard-working program. Typically, the players and the staff follow the lead of the coach and I have been fortunate to have worked under a grinder line Coach Smart. There aren’t many coaches in the game that work harder than Coach Smart. I am fortunate that I am all about hard work and that is what we are going to be about here in Chattanooga.”
On his familiarity with the Southern Conference:
“I went to Clemson so I was right there with schools like Wofford and Furman. I spent most of my adult life in the Carolinas so I have a pretty good idea of the SoCon. I know a few of the head coaches and a lot of the assistant coaches in the conference so I have sort of followed the league. I followed UNCG because of a coaching connection with VCU and I am going to familiarize myself with it while adding and losing teams will continue to shuffle the deck.”
On what he wants to accomplish within his first three months on the job:
“I want to, first, build relationships with our players. I want to spend time with them and secondly I want to finalize our staff. Hiring staff and going through that process will be the second step and third is recruiting. Not only recruiting for now and on down the line, but also getting out into the community with the fans. That’s our immediate goal and hopefully I can knock the second goal off pretty quickly. After that it is all about getting on campus and spending time with our guys in the gym on basketball-related things. It has been an exciting time and I can tell you that there’s interest nationally about this program. There’s a lot of interest from other coaches and wanting to be a part of this. That is a credit to the University and having a great tradition and program.”
For more information, check out the links above to access yesterday’s press release, Wade’s Bio, “What They are Saying” as well as historical links to UTC coaching history and year-by-year records.
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