By Gabe Hauari
Ram Nation was shocked Monday to learn that Will Wade had left the program to accept the same position at Louisiana State University. Wade, led VCU to two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, replaces Johnny Jones, who was fired earlier this month.
Wade has a career 91-45 record as a head coach, including a 55-15 record in conference play. He coached at Chattanooga for two years and was a VCU assistant coach under Shaka Smart before that.
VCU hired Wade’s replacement less than 20 hours after he left for LSU. That came in the form of Mike Rhoades, another former VCU assistant who has coached at Rice University the last three seasons. Prior to his coaching experience at VCU, Rhoades coached at D-III Randolph-Macon.
“We’ve been on a ride for a long time, and we know the ride stops here at VCU,” said Rhoades. “This is a dream come true,” he added.
“VCU basketball is the city’s excitement and energy, and we will continue to move that forward,” said Rhoades.
“Mike fits our department core values. He fits VCU. Mike Rhoades fits VCU,” said VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin.
Rhoades was among the most popular candidates to get the job from the minute Will Wade left for LSU, and the athletic department moved quickly to fill the vacancy.
“The search moved quickly. We don’t waste time around here,” said McLaughlin.
While it is unknown whether the assistant coaches will be retained, Rhoades will bring one famous VCU alum with him to Richmond: Joey Rodriguez, the point guard of the famed Final Four team from 2011. Rodriguez served as an assistant coach on Rhoades’ staff at Rice.
“That’s my guy, everybody knows that,” said Rhoades. “What he did for the program at Rice was unbelievable,” he added.
“Not only is he going to be on the staff, but he’s here today,” said Rhoades to the media after his speech to the crowd.
Rhoades will bring a fast-paced predicated on speeding up the opponent. Could this be the return of HAVOC to Richmond?
“We’re going to play fast, we’re going to be exciting, we’re going to go after people, and we’re going to win,” said Rhoades.
While many fans around the program are concerned about the status of the incoming recruiting class, which is ranked in the top 25 by many national services, Rhoades assured that the current players on the roster and the players committed to the Rams are his #1 priority.
When asked about how things were going with the 2017 recruiting class, Rhoades said “Very positive and I’m gonna go see them here very quickly.”
While the details of the contract are still unknown, many believe it will be a six-year deal.