Virginia Tech Men's Basketball

An Open Letter to Buzz Williams

Dear Buzz,

Wait, is that too casual? Mr. Williams? Coach? Dad? I'll call you whatever you prefer to go by, as long as you promise to actually show up and coach the Virginia Tech basketball team.

Forgive me if I sound a little skeptical, it's just that four days ago I was drafting a column that detailed realistic candidates for the men's basketball vacancy (a list that you were not a part of), and you took the job a day later. Did you kill a piece chock full of jokes about Mick Cronin's Napoleon Complex? Yes, but let's not get off on the wrong foot. I'm not mad that I had to scratch the column, it just still doesn't seem real that you actually agreed to coach the Hokies.

Whit Babcock: "We have a plan"

Yesterday, I watched new Athletic Director Whit Babcock win his 40-ish minute press conference on the future of the men's basketball program. That's the last time I'll prefix "new" to his title, even though his appointment as AD began on March 1st. After firing James Johnson, Whit's sleeves are already rolled as he searches for Virginia Tech's next basketball coach.

Even though he was engaging with the media, it felt as if he was speaking directly to the fans. Without divulging specifics and compromising the search, Whit did an excellent job of outlining the process, expectations, and possible outcomes. If you're considering investing in the program, i.e. donating to the Hokie Club, his candidness, forthrightness, and transparency has to make you feel better about stroking a check. The honesty from up top during this period of transition is refreshing.

The CliffsNotes are as follows:

James Johnson Fired announced James Johnson was released as men's basketball coach. The following statement is from new Athletic Director Whit Babcock.

"I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years," Babcock said. "A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department."

Johnson took over a program that had been gutted, and was in need of a rebuild. However, he could only muster 6 ACC wins in two seasons of play.

What To Do With James Johnson?

Editor's Note: Pierson and Brian had an epic debate discussing the pros and cons of retaining/dismissing James Johnson. Enjoy it. --Joe

Pierson: My wife and I watched Taken 2 last night. Aside from rationalizing how producers actually thought they could pass Maggie Grace as a 17-year-old, it's easy to be endlessly entertained by Liam Neeson "doing what he does best" and hunting down vindictive Albanian mobsters. After establishing himself with powerful roles in The Mission and Schindler's List, he began to move into this uber-intimidating, "world beater" type role in films like Batman Begins and Taken. The older Neeson gets, the more he's typecast as a soft spoken badass. The A-Team? He is Hannibal—nothing more needs to be said. The Grey? Neeson is surviving in the wilderness, showing the wolves who's boss. Non-Stop? I'd be willing to bet the movie was pitched as Taken at 35,000 feet. And for what it's worth, he will always be remembered as Ra's al Ghul.

Where am I going with this?