Kansas State Director of Athletics Gene Taylor believes he’s found his man to take the men’s basketball program to new heights, and he didn’t even have to look outside of the Big 12 Conference.
Longtime Baylor assistant coach Jerome Tang was announced as the Wildcats’ next men’s basketball coach, two days after the Bears exited the NCAA Tournament in the round of 32.
Tang’s hiring has been widely praised by basketball pundits and fans alike since the news broke Monday.
Tang is the first Black head coach in the program’s history, and he’ll take over for Bruce Weber after three consecutive losing seasons. Tang has already begun rallying the fan base as he seeks to get the Wildcats to their first Final Four since 1964:
— K-State Student Section (@KState_Students) March 21, 2022
“I am beyond excited to be the next head basketball coach at Kansas State,” Tang said, according to the official website of Kansas State athletics. “Having the opportunity to build on a program with a rich basketball history at a prestigious university is truly a blessing.
“We look forward to bringing an exciting style of basketball to K-State while helping our student-athletes succeed on the court and in life. My family and I can’t wait to get to Manhattan and form deep relationships with our students, former players, alumni and Wildcat fans everywhere. We look forward to making the Octagon of Doom the best home court advantage in the country!”
Tang, 55, had served alongside Scott Drew at Baylor since Drew was hired there in 2003 to resurrect a program rocked by scandal. Tang began as an assistant, but since 2017, he’s been the associate head coach. Drew credits Tang with being an integral part of helping to build Baylor into a national powerhouse via its culture of JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself). Tang calls himself a “Lover of Jesus” in his Twitter bio.
“It’s a bittersweet day from this standpoint,” Drew said in a press conference. “We’re really excited for Coach Tang and him having an opportunity to be a head coach in the Big 12 at Kansas State. At the same time, whenever you work with someone for 19 years, it’s like a family member moving away. It’s hard.”
— K-State Men's Basketball (@KStateMBB) March 21, 2022
Tang will now look to replicate that success in Manhattan, and he knows it all starts with a renewed culture.
“I’m ready to get there and be with the guys and just sell the vision,” Tang told Kansas State’s athletics website on Tuesday. “We’re going to be tough, appreciative, passionate and we’re going to be all about the right things. Winning is the result of doing all the little things the right way and going 1-0 every day. … When the product hits the floor our fan base is going to be so proud of what they see.”
— Tyler Dreiling 🇺🇦 (@TylerDreiling) March 23, 2022
Tang was born in Trinidad and came to Texas at a young age, where he soon fell in love with basketball. He served as a youth pastor at a church while winning four state championships as the head coach at Heritage Christian Academy from 1993-2003. Then, Drew took a chance on him. Ultimately through prayer, Tang said it was God who led him first to Baylor and now to Kansas State.
“My faith is extremely important to me,” Tang said. “That’s what I live my life by. I believe that God put me on this earth to be a servant leader, and I just want to be of service in any way I can to serve our players, to serve my staff, to serve our community and our university.”
Said Taylor, “With [Tang] at the helm, I know that great days are ahead for K-State basketball.”
Tang will be formally introduced at an introductory press conference on Thursday at Bramlage Coliseum on Kansas State’s campus.
– Baylor coach Scott Drew praises ‘spiritually deep’ group despite NCAA Tourney upset
– Baylor men’s basketball, coach Scott Drew set out to defend title with culture of J.O.Y.
– SS PODCAST: Baylor basketball coach Scott Drew on national title, leading with J.O.Y.
– Hubert Davis leads North Carolina to Sweet 16, sees coaching as ‘missionary work’
– Jacie Hoyt introduced as Oklahoma St. women’s basketball coach: ‘God is the author’