Buzz Williams ‘excited’ about chance to turn around Virginia Tech


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New Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams went from Milwaukee to Blacksburg, Va., to New York in just more than 24 hours, and he admitted all the travel was the result of a decision that “happened really, really fast.”

Appearing on CBS as part of the network’s NCAA tournament coverage Saturday afternoon, Williams did not directly address why he decided to become the Hokies men’s basketball coach after leading a tradition-rich Big East program with more resources dedicated to basketball. He would only say that “I did not think I was gonna leave Marquette.”

But Williams did offer a glimpse into how he will go about trying to turn around a program that has finished in last place in the ACC the past three years. He met with Virginia Tech’s current players Saturday morning on campus before flying to New York to be on television.

“There’s a lot of work to be done and that’s part of the excitement of it: To build it, to build it in the premier league in the country. I’m excited,” Williams said. “There’s a long laundry list of things we’ve got to accomplish. I thought that meeting with the team this morning of our current players was really important. I’ve tried to connect with all the recruits they signed in November. We still need to sign some guys in April and we’ve got to get a feel for what we have, what we need and while we’re doing that, instill the culture that we want to have at Virginia Tech.”

Already, the father of freshman forward Trevor Thompson told two outlets, including ESPN and The Roanoke Times, that his son plans to transfer to another school. It leaves Williams with two open scholarships if he keeps all three of Virginia Tech’s incoming recruits in the fold.

Williams, though, seems well aware there will be more challenges to come.

“I think it’ll be hard. I think that’s part of the appeal to me,” Williams said. “I don’t think there’s any easy way to progress in any league, whether it’s the Big East or the Big 12 or the ACC. I think the only way you can progress in anything … is to do it every day and it’s not necessarily what you do every day but how you do it.”

Williams will be formally introduced at Virginia tech during a news conference at Cassell Coliseum on Monday at 6 p.m. The school has opened the event to the public.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.

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