Each year the end of the conference tournaments and the start of the NCAA
Tournament means that it is time for the college basketball coaching carousel to
begin. Things had gone along without any huge surprises through the early
stages. Well, until Friday afternoon at least.
Sure, Bruce Pearl getting the job at Auburn moved the meter a
bit. But, the fact of the matter was that most felt it was only a matter of time
until he landed somewhere.
Although Marquette had a down season in 2013-14, Williams had built a strong
program since taking over for Tom Crean when Crean left for
Indiana in April of 2008. With his personality, off the floor charity
work and overall success -- NCAA appearances in his first five seasons -- in
Milwaukee, Williams had also become a very popular coach and nobody saw his move
to Virginia Tech coming.
Whatever happened to make Williams decide he needed to move on, the Hokies
figure to benefit mightily. When they fired James Johnson after just
two years, Tech looked to be facing an uphill climb to find a solid coach. The
program hasn't just been down, but the ACC is more loaded than ever and most
outside observers looked at the Virginia Tech job as one of the toughest in the
conference and a potential career killer.
Apparently, Williams doesn't see it that way.
If there is anybody who can turn around the fortunes in Blacksburg, Williams
looks like he has the ability to be the guy.
Williams is a self-made man all the way and has a track record of proven
success. He has recruited well at every stop along the way and has already been
successful pulling recruits out of ACC country to play at Marquette.
Bottom line, the hiring of Williams is an extreme coup for Virginia Tech. When
Johnson was fired it was nearly impossible to imagine that they could come out
so well in the job search process but they did.
Of course, the job isn't going to be an easy one. The culture of Virginia Tech
basketball needs to change. They need to land better recruits and Williams and
the staff that he eventually hires will have to rebuild the Hokies' fanbase
faith in their basketball program. The work will be hard and it could take some
But, if there is anybody who can do the job it is Williams. There are still more
hirings and firings to come, but it is hard to imagine another program will pull
a bigger rabbit out their hat than Virginia Tech did with Williams.