As Jay McAuley was introduced as Wofford's new basketball coach on Monday, four banners marking the Terriers' trips to the NCAA Tournament hung in the rafters of Richardson Indoor Stadium behind him. A fifth banner will arrive this summer.
No pressure, coach.
McAuley, the associate head coach to Mike Young for the past two seasons, is now tasked with continuing the success that earned Young a job in the ACC at Virginia Tech — five NCAA Tournament bids in 10 years, and last season an unprecedented 30 wins, an Associated Press Top 25 ranking and a victory in the NCAA Tournament.
"We're going to play a national schedule, challenge our guys and continue to prepare so that we can hang those championship banners come March," McAuley said at his introductory press conference Monday in Spartanburg.
After Young left Wofford after 17 seasons as head coach for Virginia Tech on April 7, Terriers athletic director Richard Johnson said he'd been "inundated with very talented people" interested in the Wofford job. Those included current Division I head coaches and assistants for Final Four teams, he told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
One of those candidates was reportedly Ed Conroy, the former Citadel player and coach who is now an assistant at Minnesota.
But in the end, Johnson, himself a Citadel graduate, stayed inside the Wofford family by choosing McAuley, who served a previous stint at Wofford from 2008-10, and helped engineer turnarounds at Furman (2013-17) and Gardner-Webb (2010-13).
"We started this search intent on finding the best coach," Johnson said Monday. "Early on in the process, when I talked to Jay, I was impressed by his vision for the program. As we got through the process, it became clear that Jay was a great choice to lead the program."
During his first stint at Wofford from 2008-10, McAuley helped the Terriers to their first Southern Conference championship and NCAA berth. After McAuley's years at Gardner-Webb and Furman, Young hired him back at Wofford in 2017.
"Before I could hang up the phone with Mike, my wife was tapping me on the leg, asking if we could go back," McAuley said.
At Furman, McAuley worked for Niko Medved (now head coach at Colorado State) and helped the Paladins go from a seven-win season to a share of the regular-season SoCon title in 2016, the team's first since 1990-91.
"He was instrumental in our success in transforming Furman into a championship program," Medved said. "You will not find a harder worker or a better teacher and person."
At Gardner-Webb, McAuley, a 2006 Georgia graduate, was assistant to Chris Holtmann (now head coach at Ohio State) as the Runnin' Bulldogs went from a 23-41 mark in Holtmann's first two seasons to a 21-13 record in 2012-13.
At Wofford, McAuley won't face a rebuilding job. The Terriers lose a senior class that includes all-SoCon picks Fletcher Magee and Cam Jackson, but returns veterans Storm Murphy, Nathan Hoover and Keve Aluma.
In recruiting, 3-star prospect Zac Ervin, a 6-5 shooting guard from Gate City, Va., had committed to Wofford but reopened his recruiting after Young left for Virginia Tech. Ervin has reported recent offers from Elon and Appalachian State, and held earlier offers from SoCon schools ETSU and Mercer.
"It's the next chapter in Wofford men's basketball," McAuley said. "We're going to hire a great staff, we're going to recruit first-class athletes and graduate them. We're going to showcase in this beautiful arena an exciting brand of basketball that's team-oriented on both ends of the floor."