Kansas State fans are celebrating their team and coach Jerome Tang after advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend.
First-year head coach Tang, who guided the third-seeded Wildcats to a 77-65 victory over Montana State and then a 75-69 triumph over Kentucky, referenced his Christian faith during news conferences after both games.
“I’d like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this opportunity that he’s given me, the many blessings that he’s placed on my life,” he said. “I know my profession is coaching, but my calling and my passion is ministry. And I love being able to spend time around these young men and just help them to grow and become great husbands who are going to be great fathers and leaders in their community. It’s just so much fun to do it through the game of basketball.”
Media members participating in the annual preseason media poll picked Kansas State to finish last in the Big 12. The Wildcats finished third, despite returning only two players from the 2021-22 roster. Kansas State is 25-9 under Tang after finishing last season 14-17 and missing the tournament. Tang was named head coach in March 2022. He previously served as a long-time assistant at Baylor, where he helped guide the Bears to the 2021 national championship. Before that, he was head coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Texas.
Tang worked as an assistant for 19 seasons at Baylor, including the last few seasons as associate head coach to Baylor coach Scott Drew.
“When he felt like God led him somewhere, he went,” Drew said last year. “He’s been more than ready for a long time. He just didn’t have the calling to go. He’s going to do a great job at K-State. I know no one’s going to cheer louder or harder for him than I will, except when we play.”
Tang is grateful for the opportunity. “I’m so proud to represent Kansas State,” he said. “I’m so proud to be a part of the community of Manhattan/ And I’m just blessed — so blessed.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice