Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball Coaching Search: Who Will Replace James Johnson?


Jan 8, 2014; Storrs, CT, USA; Harvard Crimson head coach Tommy Amaker talks to guard Siyani Chambers (1) from the sideline as they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the first half at Harry A. Gampel Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

James Johnson was fired today and we looked a little earlier at some of the dream candidates for the Hokie which included VCU’s Shaka Smart, Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, and Memphis’s Josh Pastner. Of course, those three candidates are very unlikely but there are some plenty qualified candidates that the Hokies could have a very good chance of bringing to Blacksburg to replace James Johnson. These candidates either are big-time assistants or have had a lot of success at other programs that aren’t as big as an ACC school like Virginia Tech. Here is our list of the top candidates to end up becoming the next head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Harvard Head Coach Tommy Amaker

Tommy Amaker is a Virginia native and Amaker will most likely want to be at a program in a major conference which is what the Hokies can provide him. Tommy Amaker has built Harvard into one of the better mid-major programs while Amaker also took Michigan from being an 11-win team to a 22-win team in the NIT in his first three seasons with the Wolverines. Amaker has taken Harvard to the NCAA Tournament for three straight seasons and has proven that he is a very good developer of talent. Amaker knows the ACC landscape fairly well from his time at Duke as an assistant and would definitely be a great choice. Tommy Amaker seems like a guy that will be a serious candidate to leave Harvard for Virginia Tech.

Dec 8, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; George Washington Colonials head coach Mike Lonergan and the bench celebrate after guard Kethan Savage (11) scored a basket and was fouled during the first half at Verizon Center. George Washington Colonials defeated Maryland Terrapins 77-75.Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

George Washington Head Coach Mike Lonergan

Mike Lonergan is in his third year at George Washington and he has rebuilt the Colonials into a respectable program that is in this year’s NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Lonergan has had success at Vermont and now at George Washington which shows his ability to get the job done at multiple places. Lonergan has proven to be a solid recruiter and the Hokieswill need a quality recruiter to make sure the Hokies continue to rebuild. Lonergan has proven himself at Vermont and George Washington, and should definitely be a candidate.

Mar 6, 2014; Richmond, VA, USA; Richmond Spiders head coach Chris Mooney gestures from the bench against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second half at Robins Center. The Rams won 56-50. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Richmond Head Coach Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney has been at Richmond for a while and while the Spiders haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since their Sweet 16 run in 2011, Mooney has done a good job at keeping Richmond relevant in the Atlantic 10. When Seth Greenberg was fired two years ago, Mooney seemed to be a favorite but Mooney is not the top choice to replace James Johnson. However, Mooney is a good head coach that can do a good job at rebuilding the Hokies. Mooney is a quality coach that would do a good job in Blacksburg but Mooney is not a favorite like he probably was the last time the Hokies were looking for a head coach.

Dec 21, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Manhattan Jaspers head coach Steve Masiello reacts during a game against the Buffalo Bulls during the first half of a Brooklyn Hoops Holiday Invitational game at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Manhattan Head Coach Steve Masiello

Steve Masiello has had two 20+ win seasons in his three years at Manhattan and Masiello has shown that he is ready for a big job at a big time program. Masiello was an assistant at Louisville before going to Manhattan and was known as a very good recruiter which is what Virginia Tech could use.  Masiello has also been able to develop the players he has gotten into a very strong team that would have been a candidate to pull a first-round upset if they weren’t facing Louisville. Masiello has done a very good job at Manhattan and is an under the radar guy that would be a quality hiring for Virginia Tech.

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