Johnson Departs for Clemson

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James Johnson

The Virginia Tech basketball program suffered more coaching turnover on Friday when it was announced that Associate Head Coach James Johnson is departing for a position of the staff at Clemson.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell hired Johnson away from the Hokies for a salary of $185,000 – a $45,000 increase from his salary at Virginia Tech.  He is the second assistant coach to leave the staff this year.  Rob Ehsan, who spent just one season in Blacksburg, left to take an assistant job at UAB.  Director of Basketball Operations Jeff Wulbrun also left for UAB, where he was elevated to the position of Assistant Coach.

Last May, Ehsan replaced Adrian Autry, who left Virginia Tech to join the staff at Syracuse.  Before the 2010 season, Bill Courtney left for the head coaching position at Cornell, and Ryan Odom departed Tech for a job at Charlotte.  Before that, Stacey Palmore left Tech to take a job on the staff at Georgia.

James Johnson will become the top assistant at Clemson.  He was the longest tenured assistant on Seth Greenberg’s staff, having been hired in 2007.  He was considered the best recruit on the staff amongst the assistants since he was hired.  Robert Brown, C.J. Barksdale, Marshall Wood, Erick Green, Cadarian Raines were all James Johnson targets since 2009, and he also did the initial recruitment for Dorian Finney-Smith before John Richardson was hired.  Seth Greenberg also played a prominent role in the recruitment of those prospects.

Greenberg now has three openings on his staff to fill.  He must find a new Director of Basketball Operations, and he must also find two assistant coaches.  Expect Greenberg to move quickly, as the last half of April is a very important evaluation period for underclass recruits, and the Spring Signing Period for the 2012 class began two days ago.

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26 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Unfortunately, even if we offer market salaries, Seth’s unsettled status, not to mention his personality, may make it difficult to find good assistants. It may now become a self-fulfilling prophesy.

  2. Jim Weaver, where are you? Wake up!!! Either fish or cut bait.

    JW seriously needs to retire.

  3. Great article again from Chris Coleman – too bad that great articles have to be bad news sigh.

    And then there was 1 – only guy left standing is John Richardson.

  4. Somebody offers me that kind of raise for an apparently good job and I’m gone. Its just that simple.

    1. If it was about the 45 K, he would have stayed – we would have offered that – this is the public response from James Johnson.

      1. Would Tech have offered that? History says otherwise. Also consider if he didn’t get along with Seth he would have stayed for five years?

      2. I doubt it. Remember when Frank and Weaver got into the pecker measuring match over $300k for the entire staff. Weaver is tighter than the bark on a tree.

    2. it will cost VT substantially more to replace JJ than $45,000
      you work for your the person you report to, JJ has interviewed to leave just about every year he has been here–this is the time he chose to leave

  5. Kind of a backhanded/silver lining point here, but if Tech is to start paying more for assistants, it’s better to clean house (or, in this case, have in cleaned for you) and hire new people at the new rates than just give the raises to guys who couldn’t get that money on the open market. It’s similar to the issues you hear from teachers, cops, etc. about wanting higher pay….the higher pay would be great, but it also makes it a better job and (should) give you greater competition.

    1. I get the point, but Johnson COULD (and did) get the money on the open market…but now we lose him and quite possibly whatever players he was the lead recruiter on.

  6. Work is not all about the money you receive. When you get along well with your boss and like working for him/her then money is secondary. Coaches are leaving for a reason and the “bull in a china shop” boss isn’t working at Tech. Someone at Tech better address the real issue soon and money may be part of the problem but that certainly cannot be the total picture. I have said for months Tech needs a new direction and new leadership for basketball (both programs). The current AD is just riding out the storm and will retire shortly. Hokie fans and supporters had better demand some changes and soon!

    1. I think it’s a combination. From what I’ve read, S Greenberg is not the easiest person to work for or play for. When you couple that with low pay, folks will bail at the 1st opportunity.

      I suspect a lot of Beamer’s long time coaches could have bailed in the late 90’s when they were very underpaid. However, they stayed because it was such a great coaching situation.

      I doubt that’s the case in the basketball program.

  7. From Coleman’s last 2 articles on this, you could KINDA, SORTA say “yeah, we’re losing assistants, but the top assistant is staying, and he’s got the best knowledge and is the best recruiter”.

    Now he’s gone too. Not sure if Seth is tough to work for, or it’s just for the money, or both. But Johnson has been there long enough that I’m thinking this was probably more of a money issue. He’s getting an almost 30% raise to go to a place in the same conference that has a SLIGHTLY better recruiting region and (likely) the same cost of living. I couldn’t turn it down.

  8. Money’s pretty important. Especially if you are being paid mid-major wages for a BCS position. Wages reflect the respect your AD and boosters have forthe programs. I thinkwith even the best-tempered coach, salary is still an issue.

    I’m no Greenberg apologist….but the problem is far deeper than Seth.

  9. There is more to all these coaches leaving than just money. Seth i think is like my way or the highway. Sort of like a bully to work for and too play for in some instances.Things need to be looked into with open eyes, and fixed.

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