Virginia Tech is rewarding coach Buzz Williams for exceeding expectations helming the Hokies’ basketball program with a two-year contract extension, athletic director Whit Babcock announced Wednesday.
Heading into his third year at Virginia Tech, Williams agreed to an amended contract that runs through the 2022-23 season, at which point Williams’s guaranteed salary tops out at $3.3 million. The new deal increases his 2016 salary to $2.6 million thanks to a newly incorporated retention bonus of $100,000 on Aug. 1. Williams earns another $100,000 retention bonus in April 2017, and bonuses of $200,000 each subsequent April.
Williams’s salary now ranks in the upper-third among ACC coaches, trailing at least Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Louisville’s Rick Pitino, who receive $7.3 million and $5.1 million from their respective schools.
“Our family is incredibly appreciative of the faith that Whit, Dr. Sands and everyone have placed in me and our talented staff,” Williams said in a release, thanking University President Timothy Sands. “I keep telling everyone across the country that there’s something special about Virginia Tech. We have great momentum as a university and athletic department.”
Williams orchestrated a record turnaround in his two years at Virginia Tech, having inherited a 9-22 program that went 2-16 in ACC play the year before he arrived in Blacksburg.
The Hokies ended this past season in the second round of the NIT after posting an impressive 20-15, 10-8 ACC record. Williams led them through a six-game ACC win streak, the school’s longest since the 1960’s, and pulled off upsets against ranked opponents No. 7 Miami and No. 4 Virginia. Virginia Tech was just the third team in ACC history to win eight or more league games than the previous season.
Along the way, Williams cemented his reputation as a talented motivator with a knack for bringing high-achieving transfers such as former Maryland guard Seth Allen and former South Florida forward Zach LeDay.
Babcock, keen to capitalize on Williams’s momentum, initiated discussions of a contract extension during his end-of-season conversations with Williams. The coach’s agent was not involved in the negotiations.
Important to Williams, Virginia Tech also increased the salary pool for Williams’s assistant coaches and staff by $70,000 to $1.19 million this year. Earlier this week Williams hired Washington native Christian Webster, a 2009 First Team All-Met guard from Landon, as an assistant coach after Isaac Chew left for Texas A&M this May. Webster came to Virginia Tech after spending two seasons assistant coaching at his alma mater, Harvard.
“Coach Williams has made a positive impact on the culture of our basketball program at Virginia Tech in a very short time,” Babcock said in a release. “We appreciate [the coaching staff’s] commitment to continuing the work they have so successfully begun at Virginia Tech. Our future is bright.”
Williams’s buyout for 2016 remains $1.5 million and tapers to $500,000 by 2020. The buyout was increased by $250,000 for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. There was no previous buyout for the 2019-20 season.
Williams endows two scholarships
Along with Williams’s reworked contract, Virginia Tech announced Wednesday Williams is endowing two scholarships. The first will be awarded to any undergraduate at Virginia Tech registered with Services for Students with Disabilities and is named for Buzz’s Bunch, a non-profit Williams established eight years ago to empower children with disabilities through basketball.
The second, named in memory of former Virginia Tech president T. Marshall Hahn, who died in May, will be awarded to a female athlete, preferably a minority or a first-generation college student.