Wofford coach Jay McAuley ready to lead Terriers program
New Wofford head basketball coach Jay McAuley has a simple philosophy when it comes to continuing the success that was started under Mike Young: if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
McAuley, who was an assistant under Young from 2008-10 and again from 2017-19, was officially introduced as Wofford’s head coach during a press conference at Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium on Monday.
He replaces Young, who was named the head coach at Virginia Tech earlier this month.
It means the world. My family and I are very happy to not be moving, to be staying here in Spartanburg, to be coaching these young men,” McAuley said. “It’s a blessing and obviously one that wasn’t expected but one that I’m prepared for. I look forward to getting started pretty quickly here.”
Wofford conducted a national search before deciding on McAuley, Terriers Director of Athletics Richard Johnson said.
Wofford’s success as far as making the NCAA Tournament five times this decade, winning an NCAA Tournament game in 2019 and having a new state-of-the-art arena made the job very attractive, according to Johnson.
“Really good candidates. This has really turned into a great basketball job. The building we’re in is unbelievable... The Southern Conference is a great league. And to dominate like we did they know we’ve got players and we’ve got resources and a building,” Johnson said. “I had Final Four assistants interested. I had former head coaches in Division I that are now Power 5 assistants interested. We had current sitting Division I head coaches interested.”
But ultimately Johnson’s search kept leading him back to McAuley. While there were other qualified candidates, there were none that had McAuley’s connections to Wofford’s program to go along with the resume.
“I thought Jay would be a good choice, but as I went through it and talked to players and did interviews and just started digging into things and comparing other candidates I realized he was a great choice,” Johnson said.
McAuley will retain Will Murphy as an assistant, and he is close to hiring what he considers to be his “dream staff” with an official announcement on the rest of the staff expected to come later this week.
Kevin Giltner, who was an assistant with McAuley under Young, is joining Young in Virginia Tech as an assistant for the Hokies.
As for the style of play, it will be very similar to how Wofford played under Young. The Terriers were already implementing some of McAuley’s philosophies over the past couple of years.
“There’s not a lot broken here, so we’re not gonna go fix it,” McAuley said. “We obviously graduated a lot of points and rebounds, so we’re gonna have to morph and tweak some things based off our current roster, but we’ve got a lot of good players coming back. We’re gonna share the ball. We’re not gonna turn the ball over. We’re gonna guard really, really hard man-to-man team defense. And I think you’ll see us play a little bit faster maybe next year, which we were already top 25 in the country in transition offense.”
Wofford is losing two of its top players off of this past year’s team in All-Southern Conference players Fletcher Magee and Cameron Jackson, but it returns three starters, including point guard Storm Murphy.
The Terriers players came together during the coaching change and agreed to stick together and work to repeat as SoCon champs after going 21-0 against league opponents and winning an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in school history last month.
“Really exciting for Jay and four our team. I’m really confident in who he’s going to be for our team as a leader,” Murphy said. “We can keep this momentum going... We have a great group of guys and if we stick together we can do something special. Everyone’s on board. Everyone’s super happy with this decision and is here for the long haul.”