You may be asking yourself how is it a football coach, Nick Saban, and new LSU basketball coach, Will Wade, have anything in common. They do not coach the same sport, and there is nearly thirty years separating the two men when it comes to age. So how is it LSU has found its new Nick Saban but in basketball you may ask? We will look at three clear ways and the same things both men have already done at LSU at the similar traits.
The first thing is making demands before taking the job in Baton Rouge. The state of Louisiana is not short of having great talent in the state in both sports, but getting those players to LSU was always the key. Before both men took the job they made demands of a multitude of money being poured into their sport with newer facilities, locker rooms, weight rooms etc. We know LSU would then give Saban everything he had asked for, and progressively doing the same for Wade. This, in turn, has and will always translate into our second trait the two men share.
Recruiting will always be the forefront and be key to winning big time games. We all remember how Saban put a fence around the state of Louisiana when it came to recruiting and he got those talented athletes to come to LSU. Right out of the gate Will Wade has done the same thing with the Number 4 Recruiting Class in the nation and signing the number one recruit in Louisiana, Ja’Vonte Smart. Wade then went outside the state and got a 5 star Power Forward in Nazreon Reid, and would also go to the state of Florida and pluck out another 4 star Power Forward Daruis Days. This is may be more crucial then when Saban came to LSU because of the state College Basketball is in with the Louisville scandal and recruiting in the sport. This is not to mention the first class Wade had which finished 16th in the Nation led by 4 star Tremont Waters. Waters would lead the Tigers in points in their first game were he scored 27 points and was named SEC Freshman of the Week.
Finally, both coaches got the fans completely engaged and bought in to what it is they are doing. When the fans buy in to what it is you are doing, it is hard for the administration to stop you. Wade started his hashtag “BootUp” and in todays society, will make people get behind something. This was very intelligent by Wade and when asked he said “all know the people of Louisiana are prideful of their state.” Before the season and even during football games, Will Wade was going around to fans during tailgates asking for their support and to come to games. The fans have showed they are wanting to get behind Wade by having the biggest opening night crowd in twenty years with attendance being 11.856. At the end of the game Wade addressed the fans in thanking them for their support, and when Wade stated “Hey guys this is Coach Wade”, the PMAC was a mad house!
For all the heat LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva has taking, this was a very smart hire by him and his staff!