Reports: Tech to Hire James Johnson as Head Coach

, TechSideline.com, on April 30, 2012
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James Johnson

Multiple reports indicate that former Hokie assistant coach James Johnson will return to Blacksburg just two weeks after he left for Clemson, and take over the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program as head coach.  Johnson left Tech for the top assistant position at Clemson, but has been lured back to Blacksburg to become the head man.

Johnson has always been a popular coach with Tech’s players, and judging from some of their Tweets today they would be very happy with the hire.

Erick Green: “Yessss I’ll be back next year”
Cadarian Raines: “throwing a party tonight”
Cadarian Raines: “Its a great day to be a hokie”
Jarell Eddie: “That makes me feel a lot better.”
C.J. Barksdale: “Congrats To JJ becoming Head Coach..Im hype lol He deserves it though”

He brings an extensive background as an assistant at every level of college basketball: low-major, mid-major and high-major

Johnson was known as Tech’s top recruiter during his days in Blacksburg, and he was the lead man on guys like Robert Brown, C.J. Barksdale, Cadarian Raines and Erick Green.  He was also the initial recruiter for Dorian Finney-Smith, though John Richardson later took over that recruitment.  2012 signee Marshall Wood was a James Johnson recruit as well, though he is likely to attend Hargrave Military Academy for the upcoming season (that was in motion before Seth Greenberg was fired).

Here’s a quick look at James Johnson’s coaching career.  As you can see, he has extensive experience in the ACC footprint, and he has recruited players to Virginia Tech from Florida (Robert Brown) as well as Virginia.

Hokie Men's Basketball
2012-2013 Schedule
Record: 13-19 (4-14 ACC)
Click here for full schedule
11/10 (W, 1-0)VT 80, ETSU 62
11/12 (W, 2-0)VT 69, Rhode Island 50
11/15 (W, 3-0)VT 95, VMI 80
11/19 (W, 4-0)VT 96, UNCG 87
11/23 (W, 5-0)VT 87, App State 76
11/27 (W, 6-0)VT 95, Iowa 79
12/1 (W, 7-0)VT 81, #15 OK State 71
12/8 (L, 7-1)WVU 68, VT 67
12/10 (W, 8-1)VT 70, MVSU 49
12/15 (L, 8-2)Ga Southern 78, VT 73
12/22 (W, 9-2)VT 66, Bradley 65 (OT)
12/23 (L, 9-3)Col State 88, VT 52
12/29 (L, 9-4)BYU 97, VT 71
1/5 (L, 9-5, 0-1)Maryland 94, VT 71
1/9 (L, 9-6, 0-2)BC 86, VT 75
1/12 (W, 10-6, 1-2)VT 70, GT 65 (OT)
1/19 (W, 11-6, 2-2)VT 66, Wake 65
1/24 (L, 11-7, 2-3)UVa 74, VT 58
1/27 (L, 11-8, 2-4)Clemson 77, VT 70
1/30 (L, 11-9, 2-5)Miami 73, VT 64
2/2 (L, 11-10, 2-6)UNC 72, VT 60 (OT)
2/7 (L, 11-11, 2-7)Maryland 60, VT 55
2/9 (L, 11-12, 2-8)GT 64, VT 54
2/12 (L, 11-13, 2-9)UVa 73, VT 55
2/16 (L, 11-14, 2-10)NCSU 90, VT 86 (OT)
2/21 (L, 11-15, 2-11)Duke 88, VT 56
2/24 (W, 12-15, 3-11)VT 80, FSU 70
2/27 (L, 12-16, 3-12)Miami 76, VT 58
Sat, 3/2 (W, 13-16, 4-12)VT 69, Clemson 61
Tue, 3/5 (L, 13-17, 4-13)Duke 85, VT 57
Sun, 3/10 (L, 13-18, 4-14)Wake 90, VT 79
Thu, 3/14 (L, 13-19, 4-14)ACC Tournament
NCSU 80, VT 63

Johnson is a native of Powhatan, VA and played college basketball at Ferrum, which is approximately an hour away from Virginia Tech.  He was a three-year starter, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, a Ferrum College Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and his team’s MVP in 1993.  In 2001, he was selected as one of the Top 10 players in Ferrum History.

A 1993 graduate of Ferrum with a degree in psychology, Johnson was a squad leader in the Army National Guard for three years from 1989-91 while he was also playing college basketball.  After his college career was over, he immediately got into coaching.

Johnson’s first priority is to put together his assistant coaching staff.  With his experience and his contacts in the ACC footprint, he’s likely already got plenty of names in mind.

Quotes On James Johnson

“JJ is the elder statesman of our staff and is tremendously invested in Virginia Tech basketball. He is one of the elite recruiters in all of college basketball and a terrific on-floor coach. His genuine concern for our student athletes and their development both on and off the court is well documented. He is a head coach waiting to happen.” — Seth Greenberg

“I’ve known James for a long time, we’ve competed against one another several times at multiple schools.  I’ve been extremely impressed by his work ethic and the fact that he’s worked for some very good coaches. He has good recruiting ties in our breadbasket. He will help us in some Mid-Atlantic areas such as Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., as well as pick up some of the recruiting Rick (Ray) did for us in the state of Florida.   He’s a man of high character that has risen through the ranks of the college coaching profession. He will be a very good role model for our players and like all of my assistants, has a career aspiration of being a head coach.” — Clemson head coach Brad Brownell

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