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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2012-14. Record: 22-41. . James Johnson. James Johnson. 447. . James Johnson. 1. player

Nowadays, Johnson is back in Blacksburg, working for Brent Pry as the football program’s head of high school relations. It appears to be a much more fitting role because when Johnson took over the basketball program as a 40-year-old first-time head coach, he was ill-suited for the job. 

After Seth Greenburg was fired, Johnson, his assistant coach of five years was reeled back in from an assistant job at Clemson and elevated to the head job. This is the worst example of Tech’s many failed promotions in the basketball program. 

Johnson immediately began his tenure by losing Montrezl Harrell to Louisville and Dorian Finney-Smith to Florida. The two future NBA players would have been the backbone of his roster. Instead, he was left with eight scholarship players for the 2012-13 season which Virginia Tech ended at 13-19 (2-16). 

Everybody deserves a mulligan in Year 1, winning right away is even difficult for coaches who end up being great, but there needs to be progress in Year 2, not regress. Well, Johnson did regress, to 9-22 with another 2-16 showing in ACC play. Johnson was replaced by Buzz Williams, who ushered in a new era for Virginia Tech basketball, one that has continued under Young, notably an outside hire.

Next. Worst head coach hires in Virginia Tech football history. Worst head coach hires in Virginia Tech football history. dark