New LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said Monday he hopes embattled men’s basketball coach Will Wade is LSU’s coach “for a long time,” but again bracketed his support with qualifying remarks.

Woodward, speaking on WNXX-FM 104.5’s “After Further Review” show on his first full day as LSU’s athletic director, said Wade continues to have his full support and backing despite Wade’s name being mentioned April 29 in federal court concerning alleged payments to former Tigers forward Naz Reid.

Woodward qualified his statement on Wade, however, acknowledging that circumstances may change as far as support for Wade is concerned.

“Like I said in the presser,” Woodward said, referring to his April 23 introductory news conference, “he is our coach and has our support and backing, and it will be that way until it is not.

“I hope he is our coach for a long time, but things change and minds change. We can go around and around for hours and hours. But right now he is our basketball coach.”

Woodward was asked if he had heard from the NCAA regarding a potential investigation into the LSU men’s basketball program. He responded: “I have not, but again, it’s day one.”


Can't see video below? Click here.


In a federal trial in New York last week, convicted former University of Arizona basketball assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson claimed in a secretly recorded FBI video that Wade told him of a $300,000 payment to land Reid. A five-star prospect from New Jersey, Reid entered his name in the NBA draft shortly after the Tigers’ trip to the NCAA regional semifinals ended in March.

Wade’s name has also been publicly mentioned in two other potential pay-for-play deals – one involving current LSU guard Javonte Smart and the other regarding a recruit named Balsa Koprivica who signed with Florida State. Wade was suspended in March for refusing to meet with LSU officials about the Smart allegations, but finally met with the school and NCAA representatives and was reinstated April 14.

On April 29, Jason Droddy, LSU interim vice president for strategic communication, issued a statement saying the university was “continuing to monitor the situation,” but that “due to the fluid nature of this matter, LSU will refrain from commenting until further notice.”

Woodward penned a letter to LSU fans posted Monday on the school’s athletic website, stating that he believes LSU will win Southeastern Conference and NCAA championships and surpass its own high expectations.

“Yes, there are current challenges we must meet and there will surely be new ones ahead,” Woodward wrote, “but nothing we can’t overcome together.”


Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.​