Local Ties and Familiarity Highlight New Coaching Staff

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James Johnson announced his new assistant coaches last Thursday, and it features a staff filled with guys who are used to coaching together and who have ties to the region.

Johnson’s goal has always been to be a head coach one day, so he moved around as an assistant from school to school.  That’s a good way to get your name out there amongst head coaches and athletic directors, and it’s also a way to meet a lot of other assistants who might one day fill your staff positions if you do become a head coach.

James Johnson (Virginia Tech, AP)

With the three hires made last week, Johnson chose to hire guys with local ties and guys he has worked with in the past.  A couple of the assistants have even worked together in the past on staffs that didn’t include James Johnson.

Let’s take a look at each hire.  A basic bio of each coach can be found here, in our News and Features update from last Thursday.

Kurt Kanaskie

Kurt Kanaskie won a lot of games as a Division II head coach in Pennsylvania.  He didn’t do so well at Drake, but he inherited a program that was strapped with probation and which returned just a few scholarship players.

Kanaskie and Johnson both coached together at Penn State on the staff of Ed DeChellis.  Kanaskie was at Penn State from 2003 through 2012.  He is used to coaching at a school that is very similar to Virginia Tech, from a basketball culture standpoint.

Penn State has been to nine NCAA Tournaments, while Virginia Tech has been to eight.  Both progams have won the NIT – Tech twice, and Penn State once.  Both programs are overshadowed by a big, money generating football program.  Both schools have