The Work of Buzz Williams and Buzz’s Bunch


Nov 30, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams applauds his team during the game against the Morgan State Bears at Cassell Coliseum. Virginia Tech defeated Morgan State 83-63. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

When Buzz Williams became the Marquette head coach back in 2008, many people were excited, but most would probably guess that Williams would focus on building his basketball program. Of course, Williams did focus on continuing to build the Marquette program, but Williams did a lot more than just that.

As reported by Gregg Doyel in a piece for CBS Sports on Buzz’s Bunch, Williams stated in his contract negoations with Marquette that he wanted to start a charity for special needs children. As a part of that demand, Williams said that the size and scope of this charity would not be something that Marquette could control.

Williams and Marquette agreed to a deal, and Buzz’s Bunch was born. This is the statement from Buzz Williams’s website on his reason for creating Buzz’s Bunch.

"“Coach Williams created Buzz’s Bunch as a way to bring together children with disabilities and allow them to fall in love with the game of basketball.”"

As much as Williams is involved in running his basketball program, he is just as involved in Buzz’s Bunch as told in many stories from parents whose children are involved in Buzz’s Bunch. Williams will actually reach out directly to invite families with special needs children or those with children who have medical issues as told in the aforementioned CBS Sports piece.

"Trinity’s mom, Theresa Uttech, doesn’t know how Buzz heard about the little girl’s health issue. All Theresa knows is, one day the mail came and there was a letter from Buzz, inviting Trinity and the whole family to the Buzz’s Bunch camp."

As a part of Buzz’s Bunch, Buzz Williams invites all the children and their families to a basketball game every season in December as a part of a Christmas celebration. While at Marquette, Buzz’s Bunch became so large that this had to be extended over three games just so every child and their families could attend one game.

Feb 1, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Seth Allen (4) calls out the offense as he brings the ball up the court during the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With Williams now at Virginia Tech, he and his wife have expanded Buzz’s Bunch to the New River Valley. Virginia Tech’s victory over The Citadel was the first Buzz’s Bunch game with hundreds of children and families in the stands at Cassell Coliseum along with being on the court with Williams and the team two hours before the game.

Williams will also get his players involved in Buzz’s Bunch which has allowed for some very special connections between these children and the players.

When Buzz Williams hosted a big Buzz’s Bunch event back in August, one of the attendees was David Robinson who has down syndrome. David and Virginia Tech transfer Seth Allen now have a meaningful friendship that is depicted very well in what is an absolutely awsome piece by David’s mother Laura on her personal blog.

Here is a quote from Laura on the friendship that her son developed with Allen.

"“This young man, Seth Allen is also the real deal. He is a red shirt Junior new to VT, and David just loved him. The camp provided lunch for the entire family and Pops, who went along to cheer on David. Seth came and sat with us at lunch which of course, David loved.”"

The family also had tons of praise for how involved Williams is, and his faith that helps motivate him to do this.

"“Here is David with Coach Buzz.  This guy is the real deal.  He and his family have a heart for special needs kids and it shows.  This guy is genuine with a strong faith in God.  If you do not already, follow this guy on Twitter.  His tweets are awesome and inspirational.”"

Nov 30, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams speaks with an official prior to the game against the Morgan State Bears at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

This is just one of numerous examples of the impact that Buzz Williams and his players have had on the lives of children from Milwaukee and the New River Valley. Williams genuinely cares about these children and he isn’t concerned about getting national praise for what he does.

His players have also taken on that caring spirit of Williams, and have really gotten involved with meeting these kids, and developing real friendships with them.

Williams actually will try to avoid getting attention for some of the stuff, and avoid talking to the media about it. In Gregg Doyel’s piece, he brings up a story about asking Williams about a time when he took his Marquette team to a homeless shelter, and threw a surprise party for one person’s birthday there. Here is how Williams handled Doyel asking him about it in Doyel’s voice.

"“I ask Buzz about it, and he very politely indicates that he doesn’t want to talk about it. Turns out Buzz doesn’t do this stuff for attention; he does it because he wants to do it.”"

There is one thing that drives Williams based on what people that have attended his Buzz’s Bunch events have suggested, and that is his faith. One example of one of the most awesome parts of what Buzz Williams does is shown by what Laura Robinson says about this thing that Williams does.

"“Before lunch Coach Buzz had the players surround the campers and touch as many of them as they could. He said the most beautiful prayer over these children thanking God for making them just the way that He did. I was just so happy watching my cancer warrior, hoops loving dude, enjoy every single minute of this day. Our family believes in God’s perfect plan for each of us, and though we would never have chosen for our child to have a disability, or fight cancer the way that David has, we know that His plan is perfect.”"

This is one of the coolest things that Williams does in my opinion. This is where you can really see how Williams is inspired through prayer and his faith to do things like this for these special needs children.

Buzz Williams is not just a really good basketball coach, but also a great man of faith. The work that Williams does, and the friendships that he builds with these children and their families is just incredible.