Jerome Tang explains why it ‘wasn’t that difficult of a decision’ to stay at K-State

Earlier this month, Kansas State basketball fans nervously scrolled through social media as they waited to find out if their head coach was going to leave for a high-profile opening at Arkansas or stay loyal to the Wildcats.

Jerome Tang ultimately decided to remain in Manhattan and continue working for the team that he led to an Elite Eight in 2023 and the NIT in 2024.

But he did consider a move to Arkansas before agreeing to a contract extension at K-State.

How seriously did he listen to the Razorbacks? Well, Tang provided an answer to that question and several others while he was a guest on ESPN Central Texas radio earlier this week.

“It really wasn’t that difficult of a decision,” Tang said.

Tang explained that he likes to consult a checklist whenever he is presented with a life-altering opportunity. He did that once again when Arkansas called him before he withdrew his name from consideration and the Razorbacks hired John Calipari away from Kentucky.

Turns out, Arkansas didn’t check enough boxes for him to seriously consider leaving K-State. Especially not after he uprooted his family from Waco, Texas two years ago after Tang had spent nearly two decades working as an assistant at Baylor.

“I am going to take Jesus with me wherever I go and his vision is going to be within the parameters of my faith and what I believe in as a person and how I conduct myself,” Tang said. “That is check No. 1 for me. Check No. 2 is what is best for my family.

“I think about both of my kids being students at K-State and my parents just moving to Manhattan. That is where we are going to be best. You only get so long to live life with your kids on a daily basis. I don’t want to miss any of those years with them. I asked (my son) Seven to move from Baylor to Kansas State and transfer. I couldn’t see myself doing that to my kids again and moving to another spot if we want to be together.”

After thinking it through, K-State became the obvious choice for him.

“Once we got to point No. 2 and it wasn’t what was best for my family,” Tang said, “it became a very easy decision ... God gave me this great peace and I knew I was in the right spot, doing the right thing.”

Tang said he was flattered to get a call from Arkansas.

It feels much better to be mentioned as a candidate for other jobs than it feels to be on the hot seat. But he pushed back against the notion that Arkansas is a better job than K-State.

Tang said he is “humbled” to coach at the same school where so many other great coaches have worked. He then rattled off Jack Hartman, Tex Winter, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Lon Kruger, Dana Altman, Bob Huggins, Frank Martin and Bruce Weber by name.

He considers it an honor “to be mentioned anywhere near them.”

“I didn’t see (Arkansas) as moving up, because I believe I am in the best place in America,” Tang said. “I firmly believe we are going to win a national championship here. We have everything in place and they are providing me the resources and my staff the resources. Our fans are great and we play in the best league in the country.”