Jerome Tang, one of the architects in helping build Baylor into a national powerhouse in his 19 seasons as an assistant and associate head coach, has been selected as the 25th head men’s basketball coach at Kansas State, Director of Athletics Gene Taylor announced Monday afternoon (March 21).
Tang will be formally introduced to the public during a news conference on Thursday in the Shamrock Zone on the north concourse of Bramlage Coliseum. The news conference will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ as well as K-State social channels. It will also be carried on the K-State Sports Network.
Further details on the news conference will be announced as soon as they are finalized.
Tang agreed to a 6-year contract, which was approved by the K-State Athletics, Inc., Board of Directors and President Richard Linton. Tang will be paid $2.1 million in 2022-23 and will receive a $100,000 base salary increase each year remaining on the contract ($2.2 million in 2023-24, $2.3 million in 2024-25, $2.4 million in 2025-26, $2.5 million in 2026-27 and $2.6 million in 2027-28).
“I am beyond excited to be the next head basketball coach at Kansas State,” said Tang. “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, was an original member of head coach Scott Drew’s coaching staff and played an instrumental role in building the Bears program from one rocked by scandal and NCAA probation into one that has developed into one of the nation’s top programs highlighted by the 2021 NCAA Championship and consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles in 2021 and 2022. He served his first 14 seasons (2003-17) on staff as an assistant coach before being promoted to associate head coach in 2017.
“I am extremely excited to welcome Jerome, Careylyen, Seven and Aylyn to Manhattan and K-State,” Taylor said. “As we conducted a national search to find our next head coach, we wanted to identify an individual who can lead our program to consistently high levels while maintaining the integrity that our program is known for. When we first met with Jerome, he was very impressive, and that continued throughout the duration of our search.”
During his time at Baylor, Tang has helped the Bears post a 397-222 (.641) overall record, including a 168-155 (.520) mark in Big 12 play, to go with 13 postseason appearances (10 NCAA Tournaments, 3 NITs), one NCAA title (2021), one NIT title (2013) and one NIT runner-up finish (2009). In the process, he has helped coach 11 All-Americans, including consensus selections Johnathan Motley (2017) and Jared Butler (2021), a National Defensive Player of the Year in Davion Mitchell (2021) and 58 All-Big 12 honorees, including nine on the First Team.
In addition to prowess on the bench, Tang has helped construct nine consensus Top 25 recruiting classes while at Baylor, including 2010 (Jones III), 2011 (Miller and Deuce Bello), 2012 (Isaiah Austin, Prince and Rico Gathers), 2013 (Ishmail Wainright, Al Freeman and Motley) and the highest-ranked class in program history at No. 4 in 2021 (Kendall Brown, Langston Love and Jeremy Sochan).
“From a detailed recruiting plan and familiarity with our league, his knack for building and maintaining tremendous relationships with everyone he comes in contact with, to offensive and defensive philosophies, he has what it takes to be a successful leader,” said Taylor. “His vision for our program is something that all K-Staters will be excited about and one that helped build a Baylor program from the ground up, culminating with a national championship. With him at the helm, I know that great days are ahead for K-State basketball.”
Tang will be the first Black men’s head basketball coach in school history and just the fourth minority men’s head coach in school history, following former baseball coach Dave Baker (1978-83), former football coach Ron Prince (2006-08) and current women’s tennis coach Jordan Smith (2018-present).
“We want to personally welcome Jerome, his wife and two children to the K-State family,” University president Richard Linton said. “I have high confidence that his leadership will produce a very competitive men’s basketball program. He deeply values community, family and a strong work ethic, values that are all directly in line with the K-State way.”
The head coaching role will not be new for Tang, who built a powerhouse at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, Texas over a 10-year period (1993-2003) before starting his tenure at Baylor in 2003. He also stepped in on four occasions as the Bears’ interim head coach, winning the first two games of the 2012-13 Big 12 schedule at home against Texas, 86-79 in overtime, and on the road at Texas Tech, 82-48, and the first two games of the 2020-21 national title season in Las Vegas against Louisiana-Lafayette (112-82) and Washington (86-52).
Since the 2007-08 season, Tang has been pivotal in helping Baylor to a stretch of 15 consecutive seasons of at least 18 wins, including a school-record 30 in 2011-12, en route to a 361-153 (.702) record and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. Since 2010, the Bears have appeared in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 five times (2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2021), three times advancing to the Elite Eight (2010, 2012, 2021) and once to the Final Four (2021).
Additionally, 13 players from those seasons have gone on to play in the NBA, including Quincy Acy, Jared Butler, Freddie Gillespie, Pierre Jackson, Cory Jefferson, Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller, Davion Mitchell, Johnathan Motley, Royce O’Neale, Taurean Prince, MaCio Teague and Ekpe Udoh.
In the last three seasons alone, Baylor has tallied an 81-13 (.862) record, including a 43-8 (.843) mark in Big 12 play, with 22 wins over ranked opponents highlighted by the Bears’ first National Championship in 2021, as they defeated No. 1 ranked Gonzaga, 86-70, in the national title game. The 2021 Bears also won their first Big 12 Championship in the league’s 25-year history, which was the school’s first conference title in 71 years, then followed it up with a second-straight crown in 2022 by winning their last 5 conference games.
Baylor’s 55-9 (.859) record over the last two seasons is the nation’s best among power conference teams, while the 81-13 (.862) record since 2019-20 is the second-best nationally, trailing only Gonzaga (90-6). In that span, the Bears were ranked in the top 5 for 29 consecutive AP Top 25 polls and finished the 2021-22 season with the nation’s third-longest active streak of 56-straight weeks ranked.
Prior to his time at Baylor, Tang built a powerhouse at Heritage Christian Academy, a birth-through-high school private school in Cleveland, Texas, as both the head boys’ basketball coach and athletic director, guiding the Eagles to four state championships from 1993 to 2003. His program gained national attention in 2001 when junior Cedrick Hensley scored 101 points in a game.
Tang and Heritage Christian became known for producing Division I athletes, including his most-publicized recruit Vakeaton “Von” Wafer, a 2003 McDonald’s All-American who played at Florida State and was drafted with the 39th pick by the L.A. Lakers in the 2005 NBA Draft. His last two teams featured a number of Division I signees including Hensley (Houston), Elijah Miller (Houston), Marlon Pompey (Texas A&M), Lamar Hurd (Oregon State), Tim Mayes (Richmond) and Tyler Jones (St. John’s).
Tang earned a bachelor’s degree from Charter Oak State College in 2007.
Tang was born in San Fernando, Trinidad, West Indies on October 7, 1966. He migrated with his parents (names) to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands until age 10 when his family moved to Texas. He and his wife, Careylyen (Rae) have a son, Seven, and a daughter, Aylyn.
Tang will take over a Kansas State program that recently finished the 2021-22 season with a 14-17 overall record, including a ninth-place finish in the Big 12 with a 6-12 mark. The hard-luck Wildcats lost 12 games by single digits, including 7 by one possession. Three players earned All-Big 12 honors, including First Team selection and Most Improved Player Nijel Pack and honorable mention and All-Defensive Team member Markquis Nowell.