Jan 25, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles head coach Buzz Williams during the post game press conference following the game against the Villanova Wildcats at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Villanova won 94-85. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, the news broke about Buzz Williams agreeing to a 7-year deal worth $18 million to leave Marquette to become the next head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies. Nobody expected a big name like Buzz Williams to have any interest in coming to Virginia Tech but Williams not only chose to leave Marquette to come to Virginia Tech but he also took a pay cut from a salary of somewhere from $2.8 to 3 million to a deal that will average just over $2.5 million a year and start out with a salary of $2.3 million.
Of course, there is such a thing as overpaying for a coach but Athletic Director Whit Babcock has gotten great value to get a proven winner like Buzz Williams, especially since he took a slight pay cut to leave Marquette to come to Blacksburg. Buzz Williams is only 41 years old and is one of the best young head coaches in college basketball that could be in Blacksburg for the next 20 to 25 years or more. So, why is Buzz Williams such a home run hire by Athletic Director Whit Babcock?
1. Buzz Williams is a winner.
In his six seasons at Marquette, Buzz Williams compiled a record of 139-68 which is extremely impressive at a program that was in the ferocious Big East before the weaker Big East of this past season. Williams took Marquette took the Golden Eagles to the NCAA Tournament to 5 straight NCAA Tournament appearances before missing out this past season. In the 5 seasons Williams took Marquette to the NCAA Tournament, the Golden Eagles won no less than 22 games which looks even more impressive when you compare to how James Johnson only won a total 22 games in two seasons.
Buzz Williams took the Golden Eagles to the Sweet 16 three times and to the Elite Eight once in 2013 which just shows how Williams made Marquette better as Williams had his best season when he had his players instead of some coaches that have their best from the leftovers of their predecessors. Buzz Williams is a proven winner that constantly shows why he is one of the best head coaches under 45 in all of college basketball. Buzz Williams is the winner that Whit Babcock promised he would hire.
Feb 27, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Marquette Golden Eagles head coach Buzz Williams during the game against the Georgetown Hoyas at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Marquette won 75-73. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
2. Buzz Williams is a quality recruiter.
Recruiting is half the battle and while the Hokies have had some success in the past recruiting players, Buzz Williams has become an ace recruiter. Williams has had his last two recruiting classes ranked in the top 20 by ESPN and Williams knows how to get many of the best players in that program’s region to come to his program. Now Virginia Tech has previously had a strong recruiting class as their Class of 2011 was ranked 12th by ESPN but Williams has proven an ability to get the right players from high school and junior college, and develop them.
Guys like Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder came from junior colleges and became NBA players that had strong college careers while Vander Blue was a highly recruited player that was a star for Marquette. Buzz Williams knows how to recruit and the kicker is that he knows how to develop those players into teams that win a lot of games which is what Virginia Tech needs.
3. Buzz Williams fits perfectly with Virginia Tech.
The third reason why this is the perfect hire isn’t exactly basketball-related but Buzz Williams is the type of guy that fits in well at Virginia Tech and will be able to do a great job representing Virginia Tech. Williams already does a lot of charity work through his charity Buzz’s Bunch which gives kids with special health needs the chance to play sports. Williams also is a high character man just like previous head coach James Johnson and don’t be surprised if Virginia Tech continues to have multiple players on the All-ACC academic team. Buzz Williams fits perfectly what Virginia Tech is all about and that is the final thing that makes this is a home run hire.
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