Georgia officially announced the hire of a new assistant basketball coach on Thursday, prompting two fellow New Orleans natives to go on social media to celebrate Wade Mason’s move.
ESPN SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett and Georgia wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton took to Twitter to recognize Mason, who spent the past five seasons on the Stephen F. Austin staff.
“Proud of you, man!” Verrett wrote.
“Purple Knights in the building! Welcome brother @wmason1409!!! #GoDawgs,” Hankton said.
Mason played on St. Augustine High’s 1995 USA Today national championship basketball team. Verrett and Hankton also graduated from St. Augustine.
Mason will be paid a $260,000 base salary annually effective last Friday, according to an open records request. Chad Dollar, who was making $300,000 a year, left last month for a similar job at Cincinnati.
At Stephen F. Austin, Mason helped recruit three key players from Georgia—program all-time leading scorer Kevon Harris from Ellenwood, Aaron August from Suwanee and graduate transfer Devontae Fitzgerald from Atlanta.
“I’ve followed Wade Mason for some time, and he comes highly recommended from people I’ve worked with and respect,” coach Tom Crean said in a statement. “He’s built a very strong reputation from his work ethic, recruiting evaluations and perseverance, on the court work and preparation. He’s recruited successfully in Georgia in the past and helped develop some very successful players and teams.”
Crean also filled an opening on his support staff by bringing aboard former College of Charleston, Citadel and Charleston Southern assistant coach J.D. Powell as director of recruiting and operations.
“His organizational abilities, coaching and recruiting acumen and passion, energy and work ethic really stood out to me,” Crean said. “Again, like Wade Mason, he comes recommended from people I’ve worked with and people I respect. He will bring a vast background into our program and we are excited about it.”