The coaching pipeline that is VCU has been poached by a larger program once again.
Will Wade, hired by the Rams two years ago to fill Shaka Smart’s shoes, has agreed to a six-year contract to take over at LSU, the school announced Monday. He replaces Johnny Jones, who was fired March 10 by the Tigers following five mostly mediocre seasons.
Wade, 34, is expected to earn in the ballpark of $12 million over the life of the deal, according to NOLA.com.
The salary is commensurate to a reported offer Wade received from Clemson, his alma mater.
The hire keeps alive VCU’s reputation as a career springboard for upstart coaches after Wade led the Rams to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths in his first two seasons in Richmond. In 2015-16, VCU went 25-11 and made the Round of 32 as a No. 10 seed. The Rams were a No. 10 seed again this year but lost to Saint Mary’s in the first round last week. In all, Wade went 51-20, including an A-10 championship in his first year after Smart left for Texas in 2015.
That doesn’t mean he’s on the fast track for success in Baton Rouge.
Before Smart, Anthony Grant parlayed his VCU success to six seasons at Alabama, with mixed returns, until he was fired in 2015. Before Grant, Jeff Capel departed for an up-and-down five seasons at Oklahoma, his tenure ending in 2011. Smart is coming off a forgettable 11-22 second season with the Longhorns.
Combined, Wade’s three most recent predecessors own a .564 winning percentage (244-189) upon leaving VCU for higher-profile gigs.