Ever since Buzz Williams arrived in Blacksburg a little over three years ago, it seems routine when his name comes up for open coaching positions in so-called “greener pastures” outside of Southwest Virginia.
This off-season is no different.
According to a tweet furnished by former Ohio State walk-on Mark Titus, who is now a basketball writer for The Ringer, Buzz Williams has emerged as a serious candidate for the Ohio State coaching job, joining Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg in the mix as the two most likely candidates for the position.
The first news of Williams being on the short list of candidates for the Buckeyes came shortly after the news of Thad Matta’s departure on Monday, when Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel tweeted the following:
While the Hokies have made serious headway both on the recruiting trail and on the hardwood the last few seasons, it is no secret that Williams is a hot commodity for many jobs that have opened across the country.
As many will remember, Williams was seriously considered for the University of Texas job in 2015, due largely to his homegrown roots in that state. However, with Williams just one full season into his contract with Virginia Tech, the Longhorns ultimately hired Shaka Smart away from his position at VCU.
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Ever since then, Williams’ name has popped up for most high profile coaching jobs, but the open Ohio State position is the first to gain serious steam since the Texas rumors spread rampant a couple of years ago.
Let’s be clear, Whit Babcock and the Virginia Tech brass want Buzz Williams in Blacksburg, and have the utmost confidence that he is the right man to lead the Hokies. Money talks, and the Virginia Tech Department of Athletics has taken good care of Williams, as Sean Labar of HERO Sports outlined in his piece on Williams:
"“From a financial standpoint, Williams is doing pretty well in a place that hasn’t been synonymous with hoops as of late. Last summer, the Hokies’ front man received a two-year contract extension that netted him $2.6 million for the 2016 season. Williams just earned a retention bonus of $100,000 this past April and will earn bonuses of $200,000 each April moving forward. According to the Washington Post, Williams’ salary ranks in the upper-third among ACC head coaches.In comparison, Matta earned an annual salary of roughly $3.1 million per year at Ohio State. It’s fair to note he received insane bonuses that helped him earn close to $6 million some seasons, but it would take a while for the new Buckeyes’ coach to earn that kind of cash.”–Sean Labar, HERO Sports"
Finances aside, the Ohio State job is one of the top 10-to-15 coaching positions in the nation, when coupling their sustained success on the floor historically with some of the best athletic facilities in the entire nation. It is no secret that the job would be intriguing for any coach, even one who is coaching an up-and-coming program in the ACC.
It will be interesting to see how this situation is ultimately resolved, and there will surely be more news surrounding this story in the coming days.