Fresno State's athletic director says, a national search will begin right away. During his seven year tenure as head women's basketball coach, Adrian Wiggins guided the Bulldogs to five straight NCAA tournament appearances. He's the only Fresno State coach who has never had a losing season. Athletic Director Thomas Boeh says, saying good bye is bitter-sweet.
Thomas Boeh said, "We're very proud of his accomplishments. We wish we weren't losing him, but he certainly deserves this opportunity for him and his family."
Boeh says Wiggins informed him he was a candidate for the job. After learning he got it, Fresno State officials tried to convince Wiggins to stay. "In the end, we're just not able to compete with an fec school with the fec school and the opportunities they provide, but we did everything we could, and tried to highlight everything that we have going here, including returning players and making it a little sweeter for him here at Fresno State."
According to the official Ole Miss web site, Wiggins was quoted as saying "this is a team that has been to 10 sweet sixteen's and five elite eight, and I am excited to take on the challenge of returning the rebels to that level. I am proud of what we accomplished at Fresno, and I look forward to reaching even greater heights in oxford."
Fans we spoke with are sad to see him go. Robert Champagne said, "He built this program, the girls' program and to see him go, it's going to be hard to keep him up without him here."
Luis Fernandez said, "He set a high standard and now whoever is going to replace him has to meet that high standard or else I know, students are going to look at him and say well, he's not as good as the previous coach, so hopefully he does as good."
As for Fresno State officials, they have no doubt the candidate pool for Wiggins' replacement will be highly qualified.
After five straight years of NCAA Tournament appearances and WAC Championships at Fresno State, Adrian Wiggins has established himself as one of the nation's rising women's basketball coaches, and Ole Miss is pleased to announce him as the next coach of the Rebels.
Wiggins will be formally introduced at a Wednesday press conference, and fans can watch the event live at 1 p.m. CT in a free webcast on OleMissSports.com's RebelVision.
"I want to thank Ole Miss for the opportunity to lead this storied program," said Wiggins. "This is a team that has been to 10 Sweet Sixteens and five Elite Eights, and I am excited to take on the challenge of returning the Rebels to that level. I am proud of what we accomplished at Fresno, and I look forward to reaching even greater heights in Oxford."
Ole Miss Executive Associate Athletics Director Lynnette Johnson chaired the search committee and said Wiggins' track record as a proven winner was unmatched.
"I want to thank the committee for their diligent work in this process," said Johnson, who was joined in the search by Don Cole, Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Michael Thompson, Senior Associate AD. "We received great interest for this position, and that is a tribute to the rich tradition of women's basketball we have established here at Ole Miss.
"We had an outstanding pool of candidates, but Adrian's experience and accomplishments were simply unparalleled. What he achieved at Fresno State is spectacular, and we look forward to watching him return Ole Miss back among the nation's elite programs."
Ross Bjork, who was named the Rebels' next athletics director last week, was involved in interviewing the finalists.
"Adrian has shown the ability to win at a high level on and off the court, winning 73 percent of his games while achieving great success academically and in the community," Bjork said. "He struck me with his unique story of not taking anything for granted. He has the type of personality people gravitate towards, and I love the passion he has for those things we hold most important in college athletics."
Fresno State made their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and recorded at least 20 wins for the sixth consecutive season under Wiggins in 2011-12. While registering a program-best 28 wins, the Bulldogs claimed a piece of the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title for the fifth straight year and the WAC tournament title for the fourth time in five seasons.
In his seven-plus seasons as head coach, the two-time WAC Coach of the Year has amassed a 175-66 overall record and 92-18 record in WAC games. He is the only Fresno State coach in the 45-year history to not have a losing season, while averaging 25 wins per season.
Since his first full season as head coach in 2005-06, the Bulldogs boasted the most wins in the WAC (168). Under Wiggins, the Bulldogs had the program's four most successful seasons in school history and seemed to improve upon each campaign the following year.
In 2010-11, Wiggins and the Bulldogs went 25-8 overall and 14-2 in conference action. Fresno State led the country in three-pointers per game with 9.8, the second time in three years that the Bulldogs had led the country in a three-point stat.
The 2009-10 Bulldogs won a then-school record 27 games (27-7) and became the first WAC school to go undefeated in conference play (16-0) since Louisiana Tech in 2002-03. It was also the first-time a Fresno State team had gone undefeated in conference play.
Fresno State won its third straight WAC regular season championship in 2010 and advanced to the conference tournament title game for the third straight year. Wiggins was named the 2010 WBCA Region 7 Coach of the Year and was one of eight finalists for National Coach of the Year honors.
Fresno State enjoyed a magical season in 2008-09 when the team repeated as WAC regular season and tournament champions, earning its second-straight berth in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs' 24-9 record tied a school record for most wins, set by Wiggins' 2005-06 team.
In 2007-08, Wiggins guided the Bulldogs to the school's first ever NCAA tournament appearance. He also garnered WAC Coach of the Year honors while leading the Bulldogs to a 22-11 record and a 14-2 conference mark. After starting the year 0-6 and 2-8, the Bulldogs went on to win 20 of their final 23 games to capture the programs first ever WAC championship.
Academics are a high priority for Wiggins. Since taking over the head coaching duties, Wiggins coached 28 student-athletes who earned Academic All-WAC honors. In addition, Bulldog student-athletes have maintained a strong presence in the community, serving as role models to Valley youth while participating in various service functions, camps and clinics.
Wiggins helped pave the way for his players to play professionally, as well. In six years, Wiggins has coached nine players who have gone on to play professionally. As the head coach at Cameron, he had two players sign professional contracts.
Before being named head coach, Wiggins served as Fresno State's top assistant from 2002-05.
Prior to Fresno State, Wiggins served as the head coach at Cameron University, a Division II school in Lawton, Okla., from 2000-2002.
In 2001-02, Wiggins helped lead Cameron to its second-best record in program history and the Lone Star Conference's North Division title. The Aggies finished 25-5 and received a berth in the NCAA Division II Championships for the first time in their history.
Wiggins began his coaching career at Lawton High School, where he served as an assistant coach from 1996-97. Wiggins was promoted to head coach the following year at Lawton High, serving as the Wolverines' skipper for two seasons before moving to collegiate coaching career with Cameron.
A 1995 graduate of Cameron, Wiggins received his bachelor's degree in psychology and was a four-year member of the Aggie baseball squad. He also received a Master of Science degree in Alternative Studies from CU in 2001.
He and his wife, Heather, have a daughter, Aubrey, and a son, William.