Patience and Perspective

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Buzz Williams
Buzz Williams

The Hokies are 1-1, and that’s one game worse than we thought they would be at this point. The Alabama State loss left a bad taste in our mouth, but it’s important to put some things in perspective.

This is a basketball program that finished in last place in the ACC four years in a row. We knew this was not going to be a quick fix. Rebuilding a program is a long, arduous task, even for a guy like Buzz Williams. There are going to be peaks and valleys. I’ve said from the beginning that we should strive to finish around .500 in year two, with the postseason being the goal in year three. In other words, the goal is to follow the Clemson path that Oliver Purnell followed.

From 1998 through 2003, the Clemson Tigers were the worst program in the ACC over that five year stretch, under head coach Larry Shyatt. Only once did the team finish higher than 8th place in the 9-team ACC, and that was only a 7th place finish. They finished dead last in three of his five seasons. Clemson had some success under Rick Barnes, Cliff Ellis and the late Bill Foster (our Bill Foster, not the other Bill Foster), but Shyatt ran them straight into the ground.

Enter Oliver Purnell. When Purnell arrived, the Tigers were probably the least talented team in the ACC. Everyone knew that it would be a rebuilding job at a school with very little basketball tradition. It was not an easy or quick path, but Purnell eventually got it done. Here’s what he did year-by-year…

Year 1: 10-18 overall, 3-13 ACC
Year 2: 16-16 overall, 5-11 ACC, NIT First Round
Year 3: 19-15 overall, 7-9 ACC,