Former Clemson hoops student manager Will Wade named head coach at Chattanooga

2005 Clemson graduate served the past four seasons as an assistant under Shaka Smart at VCU

New Chattanooga coach Will Wade (Photo courtesy of VCU athletics)

New Chattanooga coach Will Wade (Photo courtesy of VCU athletics)

Will Wade took the road less traveled in becoming one of the nation's youngest Division 1 basketball coaches.

The 2005 Clemson graduate never played the game in college; instead, he served four years as one of the Tigers' men's basketball student managers.

On Monday, he was named head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

After graduating from Clemson, Wade served one season as a graduate assistant on the staff of Oliver Purnell, who hired him as his director of operations the next season.

During the 2006-07 season, Wade worked with Virginia Commonwealth head coach Shaka Smart, who was then an assistant on Purnell's staff.

When Smart was named head coach at VCU, one of his first moves was to hire Wade, who was then an assistant at Harvard.

He worked four seasons on Smart's staff, and on Monday was selected over finalists Dennis Felton, a former Georgia head coach and Clemson assistant, and John Brannen.

“After an extensive search, Will Wade distanced himself from a strong group of candidates as the clear choice to lead our men’s basketball program,” David Blackburn said in a release. “He has been a major piece of VCU’s success over the last four years and we feel he will bring our program back to a championship level.”

Wade is considered the architect of the Rams’ “Havoc” defense.

“I could not be more excited about the opportunity to lead the Chattanooga basketball program,” Wade said the release. “We will build a program the student-athletes, alumni and fans all take great pride in. We will employ a fast-paced pressing style of play similar to VCU. I cannot wait to get to work.”

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

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