4 worst head coach hires in Virginia Tech basketball history

Virginia Tech will always be a football school, but Buzz Williams started to change that, and Mike Young has continued the most successful stretch of Hokies basketball in school history. These coaches made sure that wasn't a very high bar to clear.

Virginia Tech Hokies head coach James Johnson
Virginia Tech Hokies head coach James Johnson / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Mike Young’s seat isn’t hot in Blacksburg, but it might be starting to warm up with the Hokies at 16-13 overall and headed for back-to-back years with a losing record in ACC play. Young came to Virginia Tech after a 17-year tenure at Wofford where he took the Terriers to the NCAA Tournament five times.

Over his first four seasons at Virginia Tech, Young has been back to the big dance twice and along with his predecessor Buzz Williams has provided Virginia Tech with its most successful stretch of basketball in school history. The Hokies have only made the NCAA Tournament 13 times and five of those have come since 2017. 

Young will have a shot to avoid a two-season drought at the ACC Tournament, but even if the Hokies miss out on March Madness, Young has already assured himself that he won’t end up on this list of the worst head coaches in Virginia Tech History. Two tournament appearances are more than enough. 

Ricky Stokes. Ricky Stokes. player. 447. Ricky Stokes. . 1999-2003. . Record: 45-70. 4

Ricky Stokes was hired in 1999 as a first-time head coach and had an incredibly tough task. First, rebuild the Virginia Tech program, but meanwhile, bridge the transition from the Atlantic 10 to the Big East. 

In the 1999-2000 season, Stokes provided the Hokies with their first winning record since the 1995-96 season, but that was his final chance against A10 competition. The next year, Virginia Tech made the jump to the vaunted Big East and was nowhere near ready to compete in arguably the toughest conference in the country. 

The Hokies fell to 8-19 in his second season, with a 2-14 record in conference play. Stokes improved by two wins to 4-12 in the Big East in 2001-02, but then plateaued the next season with another 4-12 record and was let go. 

Stokes was replaced by Seth Greenburg who took the Hokies to the NCAA Tournament in his fourth year in Blacksburg, while the school made a jump from the Big East to the ACC. Stokes was put in a nearly impossible situation for a first-time head coach but was not up to the challenge.