Will Wade introduced as McNeese’s men’s basketball head coach

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 10:17 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McNeese State University made national headlines on Sunday as they announced that they had hired former LSU head coach Will Wade, to be the school’s 12th men’s basketball head coach in program history.

Wade arrived in Lake Charles Sunday afternoon to a packed tarmac full of McNeese fans, the McNeese band, cheerleaders, kickers, and much more, and on Monday afternoon, Wade was officially introduced at the Legacy Center in front of the Cowboy faithful.

“I’m excited to be back in Louisiana, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be here,” Wade said. “One thing that was very appealing about McNeese was, you don’t want to go somewhere where they haven’t won... there’s a lot of success around McNeese athletics, and it starts with the leadership of coach Schroyer, but we’re going to be the next successful program here, and that’s what we’re charged with doing.”

When meeting with the media on Wednesday following the announcement that John Aiken had been let go after two seasons as head coach of the Cowboys, McNeese Director of Athletics Heath Schroyer met with the media and said “I’m not afraid to say it, at the end of the day, I want to be elite, I want to compete for conference, and tournament championships, period. That is the expectation of this program moving forward, it really is for all of our sports, but in men’s basketball right now, our window to become relevant regionally, and nationally, is right now, and we’re going to get the right guy that wants to be here, we’re going to get the right guy that chooses to be here and chooses to embrace the expectations that I have for this program.”

On Monday afternoon, it appeared by all measures, that Schroyer and McNeese found the right guy, as Will Wade echoed those expectations, and even took it a step further.

“We’re going to turn it around and turn it around quickly, this is not something I’m trying to do, no, we’re going to turn it around quickly, alright, next year we’re going to be ready to roll,” said Wade. “I can’t wait to start the largest turnaround in college basketball this next season, we’re going to go from 23 losses to 23-plus wins next year, remember I said that, and we’re going to start that today.”

Wade guaranteed a complete turnaround for McNeese basketball to the joy of the Cowboy fans, and students in attendance, and he guaranteed it within the next year, and Schroyer added to what he said Wednesday by saying “The days of us saying, we’re just McNeese, we’re only McNeese, they’re over. No, we are McNeese. The days of us celebrating making the conference tournament, or accepting mediocrity, are over. It’s a new day, and poke nation, buckle up. The giant has awoken, and our time is now.”

Wade, who was fired by LSU exactly a year to the day before being hired by McNeese, comes to Lake Charles in an attempt to ‘rebirth’ his career, and that was something he addressed on Joe Dumars Court at the Legacy Center saying “This program needs a rebirth, this area needs to continue its rebirth from the hurricanes, you know, it’s very humbling, I was here with my team after the hurricanes hit, we did a little bit of community service when I was down the road at LSU, and to come back to see the progress its made, and the progress that still needs to be made, this area needs a rebirth, and my career needs a rebirth, you know, after everything that’s gone on, my career needs a rebirth, so let’s be honest right?”

After speaking to the big group of fans gathered in the Legacy Center, Wade, accompanied by Schroyer, met with a smaller group of media to further discuss his expectations, his past, and much more, and he further discussed his time at LSU, and the ongoing investigation saying “Look I can’t really talk about the process, because it is still ongoing, I will say when you look at the totality of some of the other rulings, as far as I think, I mean the university did an unbelievable amount of due diligence, unbelievable amount, meeting with attorneys, lawyers, I mean all sorts of folks, I think, you know, you never know what’s going to happen and I can’t comment because it’s ongoing but certainly, I think, we’re excited about the future here and feel good about things moving forward.”

Wade also discussed the current team, and the transfer portal, and addressed the fact that there will be roster changes.

“We want what’s best for all these guys, and you know, coaching changes are hard, and you know, the assistants who recruited them, the staff who recruited them, is not necessary here, and so if guys want to go in the portal I’m in total support of that, and we’re going to work with them, and we’re going to help them, and the guys who want to stay, and be a part of this, and want to build this, and want to turn this thing around, we’re going to support them, and work with them, and help them as well so I’m all about the free market, and individual choice, and so all those guys are going to make their individual choices, and then we’ll maneuver the roster accordingly.”

To read more about the hire click here

To watch the full introductory press conference click here

To watch the full media press conference click here

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