- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

RICHMOND — VCU has hired former assistant Will Wade to replace Shaka Smart as its basketball coach.

The 32-year-old Wade was the first assistant Smart hired six years ago. He spent the past two seasons as the head coach at Chattanooga, where he went 40-25.

VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin said last week, after Smart left for Texas, that he wanted a coach who would continue the fast-paced, pressuring style the Rams used with great success under Smart. He got that in Wade, who oversaw the press when he was with the Rams.

At Chattanooga, Wade’s teams played the same style, but with the moniker “chaos” instead of VCU’s “havoc.”

Wade’s style of play set statistical goals for his teams at both ends, including leading the conference in scoring, ranking in the top 20 nationally in turnover margin and in the top 40 in offensive rebounding percentage. On defense, the goals were having his team in the top three in the conference in scoring defense and the top 20 nationally in both steals and turnovers forced.

VCU and Duke are the only teams to have won at least 26 games in each of the past six seasons. The Rams led the country in steals for three seasons before finishing fourth this season. The Rams also finished third in turnover margin.

Wade was the Southern Conference coach of the year in 2014 after the Moccasins finished 18-15, including 12-6 in the conference. They were 22-10 this season, including 15-3 in league play, but each time they were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

When Wade left VCU, Smart said the Moccasins were hiring “an absolute star.”
Will is extremely bright, hard-working and diligent,” Smart said then. “No one will spend more time building relationships with student-athletes than Will. There is no question in my mind he will be a tremendous success.”

Wade is one of four assistants under Smart who moved on to head coaching positions. Mike Rhoades just completed his first year at Rice, Mike Jones finished his fourth season at Radford and Jamion Christian completed his third season at Mount St. Mary’s.

Wade will be introduced at a press conference on campus on Wednesday morning.

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