What Are The Realistic Expectations Of How Long Will Wade Stays At McNeese?
On Tuesday afternoon, inside the Kleckley Room at the Legacy Center, McNeese made official a monumental new deal for Head Men's Basketball Coach Will Wade. The question still imposes, "How long will Wade be in Lake Charles?" But, the real question that should be asked is, "What are the REALISTIC expectations for Will Wade staying in Lake Charles?"
Wade, who was named the Cowboys' new head coach in March of last year, has brought a team that finished its previous campaign with a record-breaking number of losses to an all-time high. This season, the team has had its best start ever and has been recognized nationally from multiple college basketball Top 25 rankings.
Before his stop at McNeese, Wade had stops at Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) and LSU. In 2018, the Tigers made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament. Wade did not coach in the NCAA tournament due to being suspended over the "strong-ass offer." Wade and the university battled with the NCAA for years until Wade was let go. Shortly after, "Name, Image, and Likeness" was made legal in college athletics.
It always felt like at some point Will Wade would get another shot at College Basketball. After sitting out a season, that's when McNeese Director of Athletics Heath Schroyer made the bold move of giving Wade the chance to get back into college basketball and resurrect a dismantled program all in the same sense. Wade loved that challenge.
Since accepting that challenge, Will Wade has brought McNeese to heights it hasn't seen in a very long time. The Cowboys are currently 20-3 and 9-1 in Southland Conference Play while winning 15 of their last 16 contests dating back to November of 2023. With the incredible start and calls already coming in from other schools, Heath Schroyer had to make a decision, and he did just that...
Early Tuesday Morning, we reported that Wade had agreed to terms on a contract that would be the biggest in McNeese Athletics history.
The new deal is a five-year contract that will pay him a record $700,000 per year plus incentives. The new contract is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
According to a release from McNeese, The deal also includes a buyout of $1.25 million if he leaves before August 31 of this year and $1 million should he leave McNeese before Aug. 31 of 2025. It then falls to $500,000 after the third year and is also $500,000 should either Shroyer or McNeese Executive Vice President Dr. Wade Rousse leave McNeese, and $200,000 if both leave.
Schroyer opened up Tuesday's press conference by stating that he made Will a promise back in March, and he had to deliver...
“I made him a promise a year ago. If Coach Wade made us relevant again, I’d rip up his contact and give him a new one. Today is that day” - Heath Schroyer
Heath did his job, now it's time for the tough question... What is the REALISTIC expectation for how long Will Wade will be in Lake Charles?
Wade did address the question a few times during the Press Conference on Tuesday, here's what he had to say...
"The Best Is Yet To Come"
“There have been schools that have reached out and we have already said no. The timing is intentional of this new deal. We want to limit the noise around the program. I think it sends a pretty clear message that we want to be here next year.”
The new record-breaking deal for Will Wade is felt to be a Win/Win for both McNeese and Will Wade. Wade gets a bag if he stays, if he leaves, McNeese is going to get a big payday from his next team which is going set the university up pretty well moving forward with the buyout money.
I, personally, do think that Will Wade will end up at McNeese another year. Wade has been very adamant since the beginning of the process about being loyal to the people who picked him up when he was down. Now, with that being said, I think the realistic expectation is that is all.
It will be interesting to monitor over the next few months as more big college jobs become available to see just who comes calling for Willy The Kid. He will have to turn down some major money to stay in the blue and gold for another year.
Famous McNeese Alumni