University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn announced Will Wade as the new men’s basketball head coach today. Wade just finished his fourth season as an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and is the 18th head coach in the history of Chattanooga basketball.
A native of Nashville, Tenn., Wade is widely considered one of the top up-and-coming assistant coaches in the nation. As a member of Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU, Wade has been an integral part of the Rams’ unprecedented run over the last four years. He helped VCU to four consecutive postseason appearances, highlighted by a trip to the 2011 Final Four.
“After an extensive search, Will Wade distanced himself from a strong group of candidates as the clear choice to lead our men’s basketball program,” stated Blackburn. “He has been a major piece of VCU’s success over the last four years and we feel he will bring our program back to a championship level.”
VCU finished the 2012-13 season with a 27-9 overall mark and a No. 23 final national ranking. The Rams are one of five programs in the country to win 27 or more games in each of the past four seasons. The others in that group are Duke, Kansas, Syracuse and Ohio State. VCU is 111-37 (.750) with three straight trips to the NCAA Tournament in Wade’s four years as an assistant coach.
“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead the Chattanooga basketball program,” stated Wade. “We will build a program the student-athletes, alumni, and fans all take great pride in. We will employ a fast paced, pressing style of play similar to VCU. I cannot wait to get to work.”
Wade was one of the driving forces behind VCU’s trademark ‘Havoc’ defense of the past four years. The Rams’ full-court, pressure defense is the key to the program’s success. VCU's 422 steals in 2012-13 is a school record, A-10 record and the 18th highest single-season total in NCAA history. The Rams have led the nation in steals each of the last two years.
“UTC is hiring an absolute star in Will Wade,” stated VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart. “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.”
Prior to his stint at VCU, Wade spent two seasons on Tommy Amaker’s staff at Harvard. There he helped lay the ground work for the Crimson’s recent success that includes four consecutive postseason appearances.
During Wade’s first year at Harvard, where he served as the program’s recruiting coordinator, the Crimson landed one of the top 25 classes in the country, according to ESPN.com. In 2008-09, Harvard finished 14-14, its first .500 campaign since 2001-02. The 14 victories were also the tied for the Crimson’s most since 1995-96. Wade also coached NBA sensation Jeremy Lin during his time at Harvard.
A 2005 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in Secondary Education, Wade effectively spent six years with the Clemson basketball program from 2001-07. He was a student manager for four seasons, plus one each as a graduate assistant and director of operations. In his final year on Oliver Purnell’s staff, Clemson tied a school record with 25 wins and made an appearance in the NIT Championship game.
“Will has had a chance to learn and teach under some very impressive coaches and has helped build a successful program everywhere he has been,” added Blackburn. “I was impressed with his plan for Chattanooga basketball and I know our fans will be excited about his vision for the Mocs.”
Wade replaces John Shulman (2004-13) who spent nine seasons on the Mocs bench. Shulman was 145-146 during his tenure, with two NCAA Tournament appearances, two SoCon Tournament crowns and four SoCon North Division titles.
The Mocs recently completed their 90th season on the hardwood, 36th in the NCAA Division I era, with a 1,193-980 (.549) record. The program has played in 10 NCAA Tournaments and has won a regular season or tournament title, or both, in 19 of the 36 seasons in the SoCon. Chattanooga is 360-213 (.628) with 28 total titles in SoCon action.
Fans can reserve their 2013-14 season tickets on GoMocs.com or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).