Is Former LSU Coach Will Wade The Perfect Fit For McNeese Basketball?
Usually where there's smoke there's fire, and there's been a lot of connections between Will Wade and McNeese University on the internet and whispers between Cowboys fans.
Here's a quick history lesson. Will Wade was born on November 26, 1982 in Nashville, Tennesse. He got his first head coaching job at the University of Chattanooga in 2013. From there Wade moved on to take the job at VCU in 2015 and after a run in the NCAA Tournament he accepted the head coaching job offer from LSU in 2017.
Wade was very successful at LSU:
- 2017–18: 18–15 - NIT second round
- 2018–19: 25–5 - NCAA Division I Sweet 16
- 2019–20: 21–10 - All postseason cancelled-COVID
- 2020–21: 19–10 - NCAA Division I Round of 32
- 2021–22: 22–11 - Fired
In 2019 Will was accused of paying players to come play for the Tigers basketball program. He was recorded on an FBI wiretap saying he had a "strong ass" offer for a player. After four years of suspensions and finally in 2022 formal allegations from the NCAA he was terminated in March of that same year.
Since then we haven't heard much of Will Wade, until now. He's rumored to be the frontrunner to replace Coach Aiken at McNeese as their next head basketball coach. Also, according to Athletic Director Heath Schroyer yesterday on the McNeese Coach's Show, Wade has many other opportunities to return to the hardwood other than the Cowboys.
Even though many other top tier basketball programs were doing the same thing as Wade, the difference is they didn't get caught. Will Wade has been branded a "cheater" and will have to work his way back up through the mid-major ranks of college basketball in hopes of returning to a big-time program in the future.
Do I think McNeese is the perfect fit for Will Wade? Yes, I do. The Pokes have the best basketball facility in the Southland Conference and also are one of the best funded universities in the league. The Legacy Center is absolutely beautiful and deserves to be filled with fans cheering on a winning McNeese basketball program. Plus, you add into the equation that McNeese will be hosting the Southland Conference basketball tournament for the next three years, that definitely sweetens the pot.
The Southland Conference has been a springboard job for many coaches to snag a job at bigger universities. This year the head coach for back-to-back SLC champs Corpus Christi, Steve Lutz, is the top name to take over the Texas Tech basketball program.
Will Wade isn't the answer for the long term. In all reality the Pokes may only be able to hold onto him for two seasons and then a bigger university will swope in and buy him out. However, during those two seasons Wade will bring national TV, print, and online coverage to Lake Charles and if he wins, he'll make the McNeese job one of the most sought after mid-major jobs in the country once he leaves. Then Heath Schroyer will have the pick of the litter.
I haven't been this excited about McNeese basketball since they went to the NIT Tournament in 2011 and Boston College came to Lake Charles to battle the Pokes in the Burton Coliseum on ESPN. Man, the coliseum was standing room only and rocking that night. It's amazing how basketball can bring a community together.
I have no doubt that if Will Wade is hired as the head coach at McNeese that the Legacy Center will be standing room only full of crazy Cajuns shredding their vocal chords and slamming beers. It will be the hottest ticket in town. The program has been mediocre to bad for so many years, this is exactly what SWLA and the university needs.