Will Wade — People to Watch 2018

How you know him: He’s overhauling LSU’s basketball program, slowly trying to turn the Tigers back into contenders

Will Wade has been tough to not notice since his arrival in Baton Rouge back in March.

The young, energetic first-year coach opened his introductory press conference with a profound quote: “It’s a new day for LSU basketball.” He’s lived up to that word ever since.

Wade, who just turned 35 in late November, made a complete overhaul of the roster from last season’s squad that won only two Southeastern Conference games.

He signed five prospects in his first recruiting cycle—which finished as the No. 16 best class in the country—despite having just a few short months to do so. He added three other transfers to the team, as well.

His 2018 recruiting class is even more impressive. Highlighted by four- and five-star recruits from both local and out-of-state high schools, it currently ranks as the ninth best class in the nation.

“We are going to build a consistent, sustainable winner here,” Wade says. “We are going to build something that the whole state of Louisiana can be proud of, the whole LSU family can be proud of. We are going to do that on a culture based on acting the right way.”

It’s still early in his Tiger tenure, but Wade has already instilled a newfound sense of excitement within the program. His philosophy hinges on gritty, aggressive, hard-nosed defenses combined with a creative, explosive and aggressive offensive.

He’s put that on display early this season, chalking up impressive wins against solid programs like Michigan and Houston in the first eight games of his LSU career.

And while Wade has tempered expectations for now, he knows what it takes to awaken the self proclaimed “sleeping giant” that is LSU basketball. lsusports.net


1. Talk about discipline. Wade has run at least 1 mile every single day since setting a personal goal for daily exercise on Jan. 1, 2015. He’ll be right under 1,100 consecutive days this month.

2. Age is just a number. With a birthdate of Nov. 26, 1982, Will Wade checks in as the 10th youngest coach in all of Division I basketball. There are 351 schools in Division I.

3. His real name is Frank: Frank William Wade.

4. Wade has only been a head coach for four seasons total, but each one has been successful. He’s posted four straight winning records, has won a conference title with VCU and was named as conference Coach of the Year at Chattanooga.

5. All three of Wade’s commits for the 2018 recruiting class rank among the top 60 players in the nation. That includes No. 16 Naz Reid and No. 32 Ja’Vonte Smart from right up the road in Scotlandville.

Click here to read about the rest of the People To Watch in 2018.

This article was originally published in theJanuary 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.