By Zack Kirby, Chattanooga, Tenn., —
(Updated April 8 at 11:50 a.m.)
After two seasons in Chattanooga, Will Wade has accepted a job to become the new head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University, according to multiple sources.
On Wednesday, April 8, VCU formally introduced Wade in a press conference held in Richmond, Va.
“I want to thank the players, fans and community at Chattanooga,” Wade said at the press conference. “They were awesome and embraced me in an unbelievable way.”
Following the departure of Shaka Smart to Texas one week ago, the VCU head coaching position became vacant, and was narrowed down to three candidates.
Rice University head coach Mike Rhoades, who was a former VCU assistant, emerged as the original front-runner for the job, but the two parties could not reach an agreement.
The other two candidates were current VCU assistant Jeremy Ballard and Wade. Both were interviewed this weekend.
Wade, who was a former assistant coach at VCU under Smart, was part of the Rams’ magical run to the Final Four in 2011, and was Smart’s first hire.
He will replace a mentor that won 26 or more games in six seasons, along with a Final Four appearance.
Earlier this off-season, Wade was originally offered the head coaching position at UNC-Charlotte, a school that is in the same conference (Atlantic 10) as VCU.
In two seasons, Wade was 40-25 overall, 27-7 in the Southern Conference and earned SoCon Coach of the Year in his first season with the Mocs.
According to the Times Free Press, Wade made $187,000 per season at UTC, along with a report that his salary could increase to $850,000 at the Atlantic 10 school.
On Tuesday, April 7 at 3:15 p.m. athletic director David Blackburn told local media that they will begin the search for a new coach “immediately.”
“Our program looks extremely bright,” Blackburn said to the Times Free Press. “We’re poised to have a really good season next year, as well as subsequent years. This gives us a chance now to be in a little better of a situation to hire a coach and further advance the program.”