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Will Wade hired by McNeese State a year after LSU firing amid probe

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament- Missouri vs LSU

Mar 10, 2022; Tampa, FL, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Will Wade against the Missouri Tigers during the second half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Will Wade, who was fired last year by LSU because of alleged recruiting violations, has been hired as head coach at McNeese State.

The hiring of Wade was announced by athletic director Heath Schroyer just days after former Cowboys coach John Aiken was fired following his second season.

“I will not make excuses for why we can’t win and win big. Quite frankly, there is no excuse,” Schroyer said. “The days of us celebrating making conference tournaments or accepting mediocrity in all of our sports, let alone in basketball, are over.”

While Wade was a controversial figure at LSU and spawned an ongoing NCAA investigation into the program’s alleged offering of improper benefits to players - before the current Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) era - his teams were competitive.

The Tigers won a Southeastern Conference regular-season championship in 2019 and received bids to the NCAA Tournament in 2019, 2021 and 2022. (There was no tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

When LSU fired Wade, President William F. Tate and athletic director Scott Woodward, said Wade’s tenure and the allegations that followed him place the men’s basketball program “under an exhausting shroud of negativity.”

LSU received a formal notice of allegations from the NCAA’s Complex Case unit, including multiple charges alleging Wade’s personal involvement in - or awareness of - Level I misconduct.

Level I violations can include a head coach’s lack of oversight on compliance matters; failure to cooperate in an NCAA investigation; unethical or dishonest conduct; or prohibited cash or similar benefits provided to recruits.

LSU’s statement at that time, however, stressed that Wade’s firing was “not an acknowledgement of agreement with any of the allegations.”

Wade went 105-51 at LSU, winning 20 games or more in three of his five seasons. He has 196 career wins during his nine years as a head coach. From 2015 to 2017, Wade went 51-20 at VCU. Wade also was the head coach at Chattanooga for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons, going 40-25.

“I wanted someone who not only understands my expectations for our basketball program on and off the court, but actually embraces them,” Schroyer said. “There isn’t a better fit for this basketball program, university or community at this moment than Will Wade.”