LSU will be facing off against Michigan State on Friday night for the privilege of an Elite Eight bid, but as has been the case over the last four games, it will be without head coach Will Wade. Just before the beginning of the NCAA tournament, Wade was suspended indefinitely for his involvement in an FBI investigation involving recruiting violations. Assistant coach Tony Benford was named the interim head coach on March 8th, and has coached LSU to the Sweet 16. Here are four things to know about LSU’s interim coach.
Where did Tony Benford coach?
Benford started his coaching career as an assistant at New Mexico. He then went to Arizona State and Nebraska before joining Buzz Williams (currently the head coach of Virginia Tech, another team still alive in the tournament) as an assistant at Marquette. He was the head coach at North Texas until he was fired after last season, and joined LSU in 2018.
Why is Benford LSU’s head coach?
Will Wade was the head coach of LSU until records of an FBI wiretap were released, including a recording of Wade discussing payment with a potential recruit. Wade is merely a small part of the latest scandal to rock the foundations of college sports, but LSU did not take kindly to Wade’s comments, and suspended him indefinitely on March 8th.
Where did Benford play basketball?
Benford played at Texas Tech in the mid-80s, and was named the Most Outstanding Player during the Southwest Conference Classic tournament. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 1986 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, but ended up going overseas and playing for the Dutch League until he returned to the states.
How long has Benford been coaching?
Benford has been coaching basketball since he returned from playing overseas in 1992.