With all the college basketball news centered around March Madness, and with my former beloved Texas Longhorns hoops team involved, I was completely blindsided by the news of Buzz Williams leaving Marquette.
The former Van Alstyne Panther, who had been the head coach at the Milwaukee school for six seasons, has defected to the Atlantic Coast Conference becoming the head hoops coach at Virginia Tech.
In his career at Marquette, Williams complied a record of 139 wins and 89 losses.
His move to the ACC comes as a shock to most as rumors persisted that if he left Marquette it would be to return to his Texas roots.
Even though Williams is leaving the Golden Eagles after the worst coaching record of his tenure, the jump is surprising for many reasons.
Marquette, a non-football playing school, reportedly has the second largest basketball budget of any school in the country, behind only Duke. Williams had a roll-over contract that was scheduled to pay him just under $2.5 million next year and could have escalated to the $4 million range.
Although his team’s performance this season was disappointing, Williams had signed a couple of quality recruits and the strength of that team far outweighed the Virginia Tech roster.
The Hokies (I had to google it) finished last in the conference this season with a record of 2-16 in the league and 9-22 overall.
Talk on one of the Marquette basketball message boards (and where else to seek the truth) centered on what many perceive as the weakness of the newly-created Big East Conference. Comprised of 10 mostly non-football schools, the former Beast is a shell of its former standing as a basketball power conference. It certainly cannot match the reputation of the ACC, long considered a “destination” league for the country’s top hoops stars.
But we’re talking Virginia Tech here, not Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse or Louisville, a school that will jump to the ACC next season.
Will college recruits pick a team that is currently a bottom-feeder in the ACC over a top ranked school in another league?
What makes Blacksburg,Virginia a more favorable spot on the map than Milwaukee? It was 33 degrees last Monday afternoon on the VT campus.
For whatever reason, Williams has decided to move on from Marquette and we wish him nothing but the best.
Now about those Longhorns. I lost of ton of respect for the program and coach Rich Barnes when I saw a picture of him posing with a famous celebrity, both giving the Hook ‘em Horns sign.
None other that Justin Bieber.