Basketball coach Adrian Wiggins could find difficulty landing another college job for the next couple of years, if not longer.
The former Fresno State women’s coach received a two-year, show-cause penalty from the NCAA on Friday for his involvement in an academic scandal four years ago at Mississippi, where Wiggins coached briefly following a successful stint with the Bulldogs.
Any NCAA institution wanting to hire Wiggins before Oct. 6, 2018, would have to appear before the Committee on Infractions and “show cause” why it shouldn’t be penalized for hiring him and how it planned to monitor him.
Wiggins, 42 and entering his fourth season as the boys basketball coach at Clovis East High School, admitted to the findings of the NCAA’s investigation that he failed to monitor over a five-week period two assistants who were found to have directly committed academic fraud and impermissible recruiting.
Never miss a local story.
Wiggins had a professional relationship with then-assistant Kenya Landers and husband Michael Landers, who was the director of operations for the Ole Miss women’s basketball team but had never worked with them previously.
I failed to monitor two people for five weeks during the six months I was at Ole Miss. And it cost me my job. … These are decisions I made and I just have to live with that.
“It’s hard when you look at it from a career standpoint: You can second-guess yourself,” Wiggins said. “I usually only hired people I worked with, had long relationships with. That’s how I did things at Fresno State. I went away from that at Ole Miss. I think that’s where I made my first mistake there.
“I’m not perfect. I failed to monitor two people for five weeks during the six months I was at Ole Miss. And it cost me my job. I don’t live with any animosity. I can go to sleep at night. These are decisions I made and I just have to live with that.”
A show-clause penalty is considered one of the most severe penalties that can be imposed on a collegiate coach. An NCAA member still could hire a coach who’s serving a show-cause penalty, but institutions often shy from bringing aboard those with a history of major violation.
2Years that ex-Fresno State women’s basketball coach Adrian Wiggins was placed on a show-cause penalty by the NCAA for his involvement in academic violations at Ole Miss.
Wiggins said he’s happy coaching at the high school level.
“I didn’t get into coaching to see how high I can rise as a career,” Wiggins said. “I coach because I love working with young people.
“I love coaching at Clovis East. I’m having the time of my life. My son is here every day. I’m going against some of the best coaches that I’ve ever coached against. It’s an awesome experience.”
Clovis East is 55-34 under Wiggins and advanced as far as the Central Section Division I semifinals last season while finishing 20-10.
Wiggins never coached a game at Ole Miss. He was placed on administrative leave less than a month before the 2012-13 season began before he was eventually terminated.
The Fresno State women’s basketball program enjoyed its greatest successes while Adrian Wiggins coached the Bulldogs. Under his watch, the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament five straight seasons and set a school record for wins in a season.
It was at Fresno State where Wiggins’ career flourished and he became a popular local figure while serving as the women’s coach for seven years and an assistant three years prior.
Under his direction, the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Tournament five straight years and recorded at least 20 wins in six seasons. The Bulldogs also established a program-best 28 wins, along with the fewest losses in a season at six.
“I love Fresno State, and I really valued my time there,” Wiggins said. “I made a decision to leave. It didn’t work out. But I always say that I got saved, not fired, at Ole Miss.
“I’m excited where I’m at. I haven’t had any desires to leave.”