For all parts of this series, click here.
In our final piece with Will Johnston, he talks about the Buzz Williams hiring, what it was like to play under Buzz, and his own future.
Will Johnston had already been through one coaching search as a college basketball player. He went through another before his senior season, and as a result he’s one of a handful of college basketball players who have played for three coaches in four seasons at the same school.
Whit Babcock met with the team to inform them about the process, as well as to consult with them.
“He was asking us how we felt about [James] Johnson,” Will Johnston said. “And asking us what kind of coach we wanted. He said he was already in the hiring process, but he wanted to hear from us what kind of coach we were looking for, and what we thought about keeping David Jackson.”
Obviously the team advocated keeping David Jackson.
“He’s the best strength coach in the country,” Johnston said.
For the second time, Jackson served as Tech’s coach as Whit Babcock searched for James Johnson’s replacement.
“We literally had a strength coach and a trainer. We had open gym every day that week.”
The search didn’t take long. After firing Johnson on Monday, March 17, Babcock had Buzz Williams in the fold quickly. Around 5pm on Friday, March 21, the news leaked out that Williams was heading to Blacksburg. Will Johnston remembers exactly where he was when he heard the news.
“We don’t get to go home much at all, so I was driving home that weekend and I’m in my car,” Johnston said. “I get a text from my little cousin, who is a big sports fan, saying congrats on the new coach. I said ‘Thanks, who’s the coach?’ He said “Buzz Williams.”
Johnston’s head immediately started spinning. Buzz Williams…Buzz Williams…yeah, he knew that name.
“I was thinking ‘Buzz Williams…is that the bald guy at Marquette who’s always sweating and going crazy?’ So yeah, my first thoughts of Buzz were intense, bald and sweaty.”
As Tech fans soon found out, Johnston’s initial thoughts about Buzz turned out to be completely accurate. As the players soon found out, Williams wasn’t the only guy who was going...
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