In his second season at Kansas State, head coach Jerome Tang is turning heads in college basketball. After going 26-10 with an appearance in the Elite Eight in his first season, the reigning National Coach of the Year, Tang is currently in the middle of his second season at Kansas State and isn't slowing down.
The former Baylor assistant spent 19 seasons with the Bears, 14 as an assistant coach, and then give as the associate head coach. Tang won the National Championship with the Bears in 2021 before being hired to lead the Wildcats.
Tang took over a Kansas State men's basketball program that had struggled for years. In his last year with the program, former head coach Bruce Weber resigned just one day after the Wildcats' season finale. Weber stepped down after 10 seasons with the program citing his issues with the NCAA and how they handled corruption in the league.
Tang came to K-State with just two returning players. He turned that into a team that made its way to the Elite Eight behind transfers and players who had not seen a lot of time on the court. So how does all of this relate to how Tang will lead the Wildcats to a National championship? Well, that's easy, the answer is one simple word.
Jerome Tang came to Kansas State and completely changed the culture of the team. While tough, he brought a sense of positivity and passion to a team that had been beaten down for years. Tang went 6-0 to start his coaching career, including a win over LSU in the Cayman Islands Classic Championship. K-State fans could tell at this time, this was no ordinary coach.
Fast-forward to conference play, Tang lead his team to four straight wins, three of them being over-ranked opponents, one of them being his former team. Suddenly you see Tang joining the students in the celebration in the stands. the head coach always made sure to make connections with everyone at the school. What made teams, coaches, players, and fans respect Tang however was the game against Kansas at home.
Kansas State had just beaten Kansas at home in overtime while the Jayhawks were ranked No. 2 in the country. The fans had stormed the court and craziness ensued. The team and Tang leap onto the scorers table and Tang takes the microphone, praising his team for their effort, but also praising the students for coming out and supporting this team. Tang ends his speech with very important words.
"It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do it out of motive of love and joy and passion," said Tang. "Now I told y'all we would get you one court storming, from here on out, expect to win!"
If there was ever a moment to drop the mic, that was it. Right at that moment, Tang created a culture for both his program and the Wildcat fans that they should expect to win. Tang has created a culture at Kansas State that students shouldn't storm the court anymore when they win because that is what they should expect. They should expect his team to go out there every game and make an effort to win and they should expect a win.
After the win over No. 9 Baylor, Tang talked about how he was happy the students didn't storm the court because he expected to win and so did they.
Tang has proven that his team can win. He is 10-0 in overtime games, showing his team can win in clutch moments. He is 7-5 against ranked opponents. He is 3-0 against his former team, who has been ranked every time they have met. Tang has proven he can win the big games.
So what is next? Again, that is an easy question. Keep playing. Keep working hard. Win a National Championship.