BATON ROUGE, La. — Members of the LSU athletic administration flew to Richmond, Va. on Sunday to meet with Virginia Commonwealth coach Will Wade, the Richmond Times-Dispatch confirmed. The Tigers are still seeking a replacement for Johnny Jones, who was fired at the end of a season in which LSU went 2-16 in SEC play.
Wade is the very definition of an up-and-coming young coach.
The 34-year-old is in his fourth year as a head coach, taking the reins at VCU when Shaka Smart left for Texas two years ago. The Rams have reached the NCAA Tournament in both seasons under Wade. VCU fell in a second-round thriller to eventual Final Four team Oklahoma last year and were knocked out by Saint Mary’s in the first round of this year’s tourney.
Prior to that, Wade went 40-25 in two seasons at Chattanooga. He was cited as a potential candidate for the North Carolina State opening, but the Wolfpack opted for UNC-Wilmington head coach Kevin Keatts. (Keatts was also considered to be one of the top names on LSU’s wish list.)
Records on flight-tracking website FlightAware.com indicate that Alleva and deputy athletic director Eddie Nunez arrived in Richmond at 10:17 a.m. local time and departed at 2:10 p.m.
Wade’s current contract with VCU is in the first of its eight years. He made $1.4 million this season with the total upping to $1.5 million per year plus incentives for the remainder of the deal. Jones was making $1.5 million per year at LSU, and is still owed a 50 percent buyout of that contract over the next two years.
Wade’s VCU contract includes a $1 million buyout.
Tom Crean a candidate?
Wade was interviewed on Sunday, but he is apparently not the only candidate with interest in the job. According to CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish, recently fired Indiana coach has been in touch with LSU regarding the opening via a third party.
LSU, via a third party, has contacted Tom Crean to gauge his possible interest in coaching the Tigers, a source told CBS Sports.
— Gary Parrish (@GaryParrishCBS) March 19, 2017
An LSU source confirmed that a third-party contact has been made between Crean and LSU, but told SEC Country that it was initiated by Crean.