Buzz Williams is leaving Marquette to become the men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech, WDBJ7's Travis Wells has confirmed with two sources.
Williams led the Golden Eagles to five NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons.
Williams will replace James Johnson, who was fired Monday after two seasons. Williams' deal is reportedly for seven years. He had a record of 139-69 at Marquette.
“It’s never easy to leave a great school like Marquette, where I spent seven wonderful years, six as the head coach,” Williams wrote in a news release. “But this is a special situation to work at a place like Virginia Tech. I’ve heard tremendous things about this terrific institution and this is an outstanding opportunity to build a program. My family and I look forward to becoming a part of this great university and community, and taking on the challenges associated in succeeding in the ACC.”
This is the first major hire for new Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock.
“I am extremely excited about welcoming Buzz Williams to the Hokie Nation,” Babcock wrote in a news release. “Buzz is a proven winner who has earned his way up through the ranks with a strong track record of success. I am confident he will energize our fan base and help make Virginia Tech Basketball competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I know he will recruit at the highest level.”
It's believed that Williams, 41, was looking to leave Marquette because the school does not have an athletic director or president. Marquette is also a member of the Big East, which is facing an uncertain future following conference realignment last year.
Before coaching at Marquette, Williams spent one year as the head coach at the University of New Orleans.
Williams has already changed his Twitter profile to say "Tweets by @VT_MBBALL head coach Buzz Williams." @VT_MBBall is the Twitter handle for the Hokies' men's basketball team. Click here to see Williams' Twitter profile: https://twitter.com/TeamCoachBuzz
The official announcement for Williams' hire is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday on the Cassell Coliseum court.
Here is the news release from Virginia Tech:
Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock has announced the hiring of Buzz Williams as the new head men’s basketball coach for the Hokies.
“I am extremely excited about welcoming Buzz Williams to the Hokie Nation,” Babcock said. “Buzz is a proven winner who has earned his way up through the ranks with a strong track record of success. I am confident he will energize our fan base and help make Virginia Tech Basketball competitive in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I know he will recruit at the highest level.”
The school will hold a formal press conference on Monday, March 24 at 6 p.m. (potential for slight change), on the arena floor of Cassell Coliseum. The event will be open to the general public and students and admission is free of charge. The press conference will be live streamed on hokiesports.com. For more information on the press conference, please log on to hokiesports.com.
“It’s never easy to leave a great school like Marquette, where I spent seven wonderful years, six as the head coach,” Williams said. “But this is a special situation to work at a place like Virginia Tech. I’ve heard tremendous things about this terrific institution and this is an outstanding opportunity to build a program. My family and I look forward to becoming a part of this great university and community, and taking on the challenges associated in succeeding in the ACC.”
Williams comes to the Hokies following six seasons as the head coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles. At Marquette, Williams had a record of 139-69 and led the team to five NCAA appearances, including a trip to the regional finals in the 2012-13 season, the same season the team won the Big East Conference regular season title. Williams led the Golden Eagles to a 69-39 Big East Conference record during his time in Milwaukee. Six Marquette players have made it to the NBA during William’s tenure.
Williams was an assistant at Marquette in the 2007-08 season. MU concluded the year 25-10 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.
His coaching career has included stints as an assistant, associate head and head coach. He has been at the NCAA Division I level for 19 seasons, and 2013-14 was his seventh campaign as a head coach. Williams has recruited and coached over 20 players who have earned all-conference accolades, including two league players of the year, two conference freshmen of the year and four Associated Press All-Americans.
Williams arrived in Milwaukee after serving for one season as the head coach at the University of New Orleans. He guided the Privateers to a 14-win campaign in 2006-07 and his roster featured Bo McCalebb, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year. UNO claimed fourth place in the Sun Belt’s Western Division and advanced to the league tournament quarterfinals. The squad claimed as many victories on the road that season as it had in the previous three seasons combined. His recruiting class for the 2007-08 season was ranked in the top-50 nationally by HoopScoopOnline.com.
Prior to UNO, Williams served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Texas A&M for two seasons (2004-05 and 2005-06) under head coach Billy Gillispie. Both of his recruiting classes with the Aggies were ranked among the best in the nation and featured some of the top-ranked talent at the prep level. The squad made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 25 years in 2005-06 and the previous team posted the top turnaround in the nation, improving its win total in 2004-05 by 14 games compared to 2003-04.
Williams spent four seasons (2000-01 through 2003-04) at Colorado State, serving as an assistant the first three seasons before being promoted to associate head coach in 2003-04.
Two of his recruiting classes were ranked among the 40-best in the nation, including the 2003 group, which was tabbed No. 1 in the Mountain West Conference. Colorado State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 13 years during his tenure and he was named one of the top assistants in the country by HoopScoopOnline.com.
The Van Alstyne, Texas, native was previously an assistant at Northwestern State (1999-2000), Texas A&M- Kingsville (1998-99) and Texas-Arlington (1994-98). He earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Oklahoma City University in 1994 before completing his master’s work in the same field at Texas A&M-Kingsville in 1999.
Williams is married to the former Corey Norman and the couple has two daughters, Zera and Addyson, and two sons, Calvin and Mason.
Williams succeeds James Johnson, who was relieved of his duties on March 17.