Professional: Will Wade
Current Title: Head Men's Basketball Coach--VCU
Student Manager Experience: Clemson Basketball
Career Notes: Current VCU Men's Basketball Head Coach, Will Wade, started his basketball coaching career as an undergraduate student manager in college and has since climbed the ranks to his current position with the Rams.
It all started when Wade served as a four-year student manager at Clemson from 2002 to 2005, spending his first two seasons under Larry Shyatt and the final two under Oliver Purnell. Wade stayed with the Tigers the next two seasons as well, first as a graduate assistant (2005-06) and then as Director of Basketball Operations (2006-07).
Teaching/coaching was something that Wade had great interest in and experience in early on as he obtained his bachelor's degree from Clemson in secondary education with concentrations in history and geography. In his final season as a manager, Wade was juggling his manager duties while student teaching.
Following his many years at Clemson, Wade then shipped up to the Boston-area and joined the coaching staff at Harvard as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He spent two seasons (2007-09) coaching in the Ivy League.
After his time in the northeast, Wade became an assistant coach under Shaka Smart at VCU for Wade's first time on the VCU staff. He was there from 2009-2013 including the Rams magical run to the 2011 Final Four.
Learning from his many previous positions and experiences, Wade became a head coach for the first time in 2013 when he was hired by Chattanooga to be the head coach of the Mocs' Men's Basketball Team. Wade had a successful two seasons at Chattanooga compiling a 40-25 record which is outstanding when compared to Chattanooga's record the two seasons before his arrival which was 24-40. His time in Chattanooga included the honor of Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2014.
This past spring, the VCU Head Coaching job opened back up and the Rams welcomed back Wade who will begin his first season as head coach of the Rams this November. Coach Wade is a great example and inspiration to current student managers on what can happen when you put in the time and effort beginning as a student manager. After starting out as a student manager with Clemson in 2002, Wade is now the head coach of one of the premier and most recognized men's basketball programs in the country.
Coach Wade was kind enough to answer a few questions for Managers On A Mission:
What was your inspiration in becoming a student manager?
I always loved being around the game of basketball. When it became obvious I would not be able to play at a high level, becoming a manager was a great option. I love serving / helping others and there is not a more selfless position than being a student manager. I had a great time at Clemson as a manager as it really shaped my college experience as well as my post college life.
What is your favorite memory from your time as a manager?
I enjoyed all the time spent with the players and the coaching staff; those were great memories as we were working hard together and all trying to reach a common goal. On the court, starting the season 18-0 at Clemson was an awesome experience and one that I will never forget. The students and fans at Clemson were all excited about basketball which was a fun to experience.
What have you learned to be the key in pursuing a career in sports?
Relationships...all of my jobs have come from previously developed relationships. Never miss a chance to meet a new person or follow up with someone who you meet. You never know who can help you down the road, so make sure you treat everyone with respect.