Mike Young v Buzz Williams on The Athletic

Depositing this here as it may generate discussion we don't want gumming up other bball threads.

Seth Davis tackled a reader question about Mike Young versus Buzz Williams and which program got the best of that series of events. I'm assuming it's paywall material, but Twitter is not, so...

I'd say it's no contest. Both great coaches, but love where we're at.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

Both great coaches, both get results.
I'd argue Young a better fit culturally.
(Which can be a good thing/bad thing: a whole other discussion about VT's culture)
May give the edge with Young's staff hires, but give it another recruiting cycle.

As seen with Buzz at VT, we won't be able to get a look until a full 3rd year what he's capable of at A&M.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

As someone on the site commented, I think Seth missed on his evaluation on Buzz vs Mike.

Tech may have reached the Sweet 16 in 2019, but by the time Coach Young arrived, the team had few players on the roster, no incoming recruits, and were potentially losing Bede, Nolley, and Blackshear (who out of the 3 was the one that left).

Coach Young managed to piece together a young core that would develop into a tournament team in year 2 and get significant contributions from transfer players.

Buzz did a great job at Tech and I honestly thought A&M would have seen better results by now (I know COVID is/was an issue, but everybody had to deal with that) given his track record and resources at A&M. He just hasn't produced yet, so I think the clear edge goes to Coach Young.

While we had a lot of players leave, I do think VT was in a better spot behind the scenes. Our foundation before Buzz got here was basically nonexistent, and by the time he left, we were in the position to be able to search for and transition to a new staff without needing to overpay out the ass to bribe someone to come in like we did with Buzz.

I think that is where he is coming from, not necessarily that we just had better players still on the roster.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Yep - 1000% agree. Buzz may not have renovated the house, but he rebuilt the foundation, roof, and gave us a new AC.

Twitter me

I agree that VT's foundation was improved over Buzz's tenure, but was that because of Buzz or because of Whit? The second Whit decided to go after Buzz he knew he had to throw money around to improve. Not to diminish what Buzz did as a coach, but Buzz being hired was a result of commitment to improve the foundation. He was the expert brick layer, not the foreman or the architect.

Both. 100% both.

Whit showed we had dedication at a program level to actually support a high end basketball team here at VT. That was very much in question not very long ago, and still kind of was when Buzz left.

Buzz showed that VT has the potential to be a very good basketball program with the right staff in place. There was a wide perception that, before Buzz, the small level of success we had under Greenberg was really as good as it would ever get for VT in the ACC. Buzz showed that our ceiling is much higher than they originally thought.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

Buzz Williams gets a ton of reverence for having never made a final four. Scott Drew and Chris Beard- not exactly Coach K- have made it in recent years for example.

I've never viewed Buzz with a lot of reverence, but I do concur with Alum's assessment of him as an "expert bricklayer". He was a very good X's and O's coach for VT, and he absolutely contributed to the rise of the program during his time here.

It was pretty evident that he wasn't "all in" on staying at VT simply by his branding during his tenure. I also heard he flew a Texas flag in front of his house - not sure of the veracity of that claim, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me.

I know a lot of folks were completely turned off by how he left, and it could have been handled a lot better IMO, but that sting has been dulled quite a bit by how CMY has taken off in his first couple seasons.

The real question to me is if Buzz didn't have the same level of success while he was here, would Mike Young have been able to "restock" as quickly as he did? My inclination is that he would have had a tougher time of it.

The real question to me is if Buzz didn't have the same level of success while he was here, would Mike Young have been able to "restock" as quickly as he did? My inclination is that he would have had a tougher time of it.

Honestly, if we didn't have that kind of level of success under Buzz, I'm not sure we are even on the radar of Mike Young when we made that hire. CMY was able to take the momentum that we had already gained under Buzz and keep it sustained. I don't think he would have had any desire to come in and have to create that kind of momentum from the ground up, not after spending as long as he did at Wofford doing that exact thing.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I appreciate what Brent did for the program while also having a bad taste in my mouth for how it ended, even though I ultimately find it understandable and realize it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. It's very different than Mike Young who really does seem to embrace being a Hokie and not just for what the university is offering him.

I respect Buzz Williams but I love Mike Young.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Agreed with your entire comment.

I also appreciate everything that Buzz did here. But the way it all ended will never sit well with me, down to him changing his personal branding on the videos we were putting out about our S16 run during our S16 run to A&M colors was a bullshit move. I could rant a while (and have in the past) about how that all went down at the end, because I'll never not think that he did us dirty the last 4-8 months on the job.

I'm very glad to have a coach who understands that the job and the school itself is bigger than him. I love that we have a coach who grew up following VT hoops who is now dedicated to making VT hoops the best it possibly can be and doing a darn good job of it.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I have it on very good authority that as early as 2011 CMY said VT was the only program he would leave Wofford for. #sauces

"That's it guys. Let's get out of here. That cold drink's waitin' on us, let's go." - Mike Young after win no. 300.

If you think I have any reverence for Buzz, then I was not clear enough. I think he is a good coach, but hated the hire.

What Buzz was to VT to me was VT making a commitment to basketball. He was a proven winner from a major basketball conference. VT has never hired like that. We spent money on basketball!

I was happy to hear Buzz was moving on, I was expecting it too. I thank him for his work at VT, but I'm glad we have a coach who seems like a great guy the kind of guy you want to succeed regardless of college affiliation.

You raise some really good points. I'm not trying to downplay any impact Buzz had (because he certainly brought a level of excitement to VT BB that I never saw before) -- but wasn't A&M in pretty good shape before Buzz arrived as a program? They had been a Sweet 16 caliber program under the previous coach and under Turgeon, so it wasn't like Buzz needed to lay a new foundation.

Coach Young managed to piece together a young core that would develop into a tournament team in year 2 and get significant contributions from transfer players.

Alchemist.

Buzz was great for tech, but he always had one foot out the door. MY is here to stay, and frankly, he just seems to fit our need.

I wonder how A&M feels about him. Obviously it will take him turning the program around, but do they feel it's a stepping stone to Texas? Kentucky? Or do they feel they have the money to keep him regardless of prestige.

A&M definitely has the $$$.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

They are banking on him being their Gary Williams/Bob Huggins. Build his type of team, stick around a while and be in the dance every year and when the magical roster hits- go to the final four and maybe win a natty. I don't think he is using aTm as a stepping stone

I really like Buzz, and really appreciate what he did at VT. I tend to have the mindset that you have to take ownership of your career because opportunities are never just 'given' to you. So I didn't have any problem whatsoever with him leaving for A&M. 3 years is ample time to stay at one job.

That said, CMY is a great fit for the university and the basketball program. Hiring is really hard, and we're very fortunate to have made back-to-back home run hires (credit to Whit). Not many programs do that, in any sport at any level.

Twitter me

Hiring is really hard, and we're very fortunate to have made back-to-back home run hires (credit to Whit). Not many programs do that, in any sport at any level.

I'm not trying to derail a hoops thread here but I do want to emphasize this last point because I think it's really important to remember. For ALL sports. Hiring great coaches isn't easy. If it was, everyone would do it. I'm pretty happy with how well Whit has hired overall and I'm confident that he's the best person to rely on for making hires moving forward.

It's always darkest before the dawn ~ Thomas Fuller

Buzz cares about Buzz. Things that made Buzz look good also made VT look good. I have no problem with his decision to move on. I was upset at first, but we have now seen that other coaches can win in Blacksburg. Now that I know that, I can say I would rather have a coach that embraces the team he works for instead of focusing on the brand he creates. Buzz also sweats more than any other human, which is weird.

Mike Young is as likeable as a coach can be and thus far has exceeded expectations.

Edit: My wife had a conversation with Buzz walking late into a spring game and said he was very nice and acted like an ordinary fan (in his not maroon and orange attire).

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." - K

Weird dude, above average X and O's coach. Can build a roster without funnelled olympic program players and win the in the ACC, good recruiter within his circle of connections. Weird dude- weird, but that connects with guys like Med Hill and Jae Crowder. He will be in the dance regularly when he gets his guys at aTm, but he is not an elite level coach- he's not Roy or K or Calhoun or Gary Williams or Few or Boeheim or Huggy Bear.

For the program...buzz vs CMY....it's a win win!! Buzz tumble weeded through Blacksburg and got the program back on the map and CMY fits like a glove in Blacksburg and will make the next 6-8 years at least one hell of a collegiate basketball program if not a perennial top 2-6 acc team. He knows the area/culture and apparently(obviously) one hell of a recruiter for his system. That being said I give CMY the edge because he has always WANTED this job and it's not a stepping stone...absolutely love the dude and excited for the next 5 years at least. I thank Buzz for the trajectory he put is on but am amped for CMY for what is about to happen...let's go

HokieHighVPI03

What if I told you the real winner of this deal was VT? Buzz elevated and got us to a place we had not been before and showed we could recruit and compete with the best in the ACC and MY is now here to keep it rolling. We needed both and we're very lucky to have both one after the other as hiring great coaches is not easy. Appreciate what we had and what we have because without one or the other we would probably be in the basement of the ACC still.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Yes, and CMY gets the benefit of Roy, K, and likely in the near future Beoheim retiring. The chances of Sheyer and Davis having hall of fame success is minimal. Sheyer is not going to 17 final fours. write that down. Although the ACC will always have great coaches- like Bennett around, Buzz coached in the perfect storm of HOF coaches, including Pitino in there.

I do think that the war for best coach in the ACC will drift one state north over the next decade.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Agree. And you won't find someone - besides Bud Foster- that hates UVA more than me- having said that Tony Bennett is an elite college coach. He can be the next coach K, especially if he gets more involved with team USA and Nike in terms of recruiting. Young will have his hands full battling Bennett over the years.

It'll be fun though. Especially if CMY can win like Roy.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

you won't find someone - besides Bud Foster- that hates UVA more than me

This bit is worth a few legs by itself.

I've witnessed his UVA rants firsthand. He has a good argument. He may not be #2 to Bud, but he's up there.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

He can be the next coach K, especially if he gets more involved with team USA and Nike in terms of recruiting.

He'd have to significantly change his coaching scheme for that to happen. His style of defense wins in college, but its not flashy and isn't the style that Nike is going to hitch their wagon to and really doesn't mesh with the style that the Olympic teams want to play.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

I mean part of the cycle of sports is positioning yourself to take advantage of opportunities, and everyone knew in recent years that UNC and Duke were going to present a very large opportunity for someone to step up in the near future with the retirements of Roy and Coach K looming.

I'm very glad that we positioned ourselves perfectly to have the chance to be a team that can take advantage of said opportunity. The staff that Mike Young has put together certainly looks capable of capitalizing on it.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

in that sense buzz did us a solid leaving for A&M as opposed to holding out for texas

Maybe? I still think he made a big mistake leaving. We knew that Duke and UNC were going through major changes in the near future and him leaving seemed like bailing at the wrong time. Sure, he got a good payday by leaving, but now with the pressure in College Station building and VT able to maintain the level of play we had when he was here, it does look like a short term cash grab that backfires in the long run. And As well positioned as we are with CMY right now, we'd probably be at least as well off with the guy who built us from nothing to a legit Sweet 16 team that was one tip in away from beating a Zion Williamson led Duke to go to the Elite 8.

"I have a PLAN. You just need to have a little goddamn faith, Whit. I just need. more. MONEY." - Justin van der Linde

right but the sense was he was always at some point going back to texas. if he waited for texas to open-theoretically still this year-we would be breaking in a new coach as k and roy are leaving.

of course if he had never left we'd be in better position because that removes the rebuild. but he was never a 10 year hire

Wait, Beoheim is still coaching? Isn't he like 112 years old?

Buzz coached in the perfect storm of HOF coaches, including Pitino in there

And beat them all. His record against top teams was impressive, to be sure.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Well, he didn't beat Louisville, and no VT mens hoops team ever will

I would take that bet

"Give me a fuยขking beer", Anonymous Genius

Their gutted adidas scandal team beat our best team in 25 years. I'll also take that bet

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

This reminds me of the time in college a guy I knew said he would give $20 to anybody who could beat him in pool.

He wasn't very smart and he wasn't a particularly great pool player - and, unsurprisingly, eventually paid $20 to someone who risked nothing.

"Ever" is a long time...can I get in on this bet?

I'm still waiting for an "ever" bet I made in 2000 to pay off. The deal was, the longer it took for either of us to win, the larger the payout, and based on a few things, I should be expecting a major payout in the next year or two.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Didn't UVa win in 2019?

This remark has no reason to be down voted.

It's also unfair to compare teams when one squad is led by an ageless vampire.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

The downvotes are probably due to the second half of the comment.

Well when you're cursed by a vampire, never winning isn't out of the realm of possibility.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!