Putting Buzz Williams’ First Two Years Into Perspective

Buzz Williams has the Hokies in the postseason for the first time since 2011.
Buzz Williams has the Hokies in the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Two Marches ago, Whit Babcock shocked the basketball world by hiring Buzz Williams away from Marquette.  Two years later, Williams has the Hokies in their first postseason tournament since 2011.  He’s done an outstanding job in a very short period of time, and he’s done it by almost completely overhauling the roster that he inherited.

Devin Wilson is the only basketball player left who was on the team under James Johnson.  Justin Bibbs and Jalen Hudson were Johnson’s recruits, and they were both retained by Williams.  Other than that, he reshaped the roster from top to bottom, and the results on the court show that he made some great decisions.

Exactly how well has Buzz done in Blacksburg?  Let’s compare his first two years to the first two years of the other coaches that were hired by major programs back in 2014.  For Williams, the numbers look like this…

First year: 11-22, 2-16 ACC
Second year: 19-14, 10-8 ACC, NIT

That’s one heck of an impressive turnaround.

Have any of the other 2014 hires been able to do as good a job?  Using this SBNation.com article as a guide, let’s find out.

Danny Manning, Wake Forest

First year: 13-19 overall, 5-13 ACC
Second year: 11-20 overall, 2-16 ACC

Manning was given a B- grade by SBNation.  Check out this quote from the article…

“There are also some worries over how his laid-back personality will play in the world of major college hoops recruiting.”

After Tech beat Wake Forest in Cassell this year, I was about seven feet from Manning in the postgame interview room.  I could barely hear him.  He was very laid back, and very quiet.  I’m not sure he has the alpha personality to lead a major college program.  Time will tell, but some Wake fans already want him gone.

Manning’s first year was a little better than Buzz Williams’ first year at Tech, though Williams did beat him head to head in the ACC Tournament that year.  Their second year wasn’t even close, however.  Williams did a far superior job, and I don’t think there’s any question about who the better coach is now.

Kim Anderson, Missouri

First year: 9-23, 3-15 SEC
Second year: 10-21, 3-15 SEC

Anderson was rated a B+ hire by SBNation.  He won the Division II National Championship at Central Missouri the year before taking the job at Missouri, and his career Division II record was 274-94.  He obviously knows basketball.

However, the first two years at Missouri have been a disaster.  It’s true that he did take over for Frank Haith, who got the program put on probation and in general left Anderson with a dumpster fire.  Still, 19 wins over two years for a proud program like Missouri is very tough on their fan base.  Anderson better start winning next year, or else he’s going to be in a lot of trouble.

Jim Christian, Boston College

First year: 13-19, 4-14 ACC
Second year: 7-25, 0-18 ACC

Jim Christian was rated as a C- hire by SBNation.  His first season went about as expected, though his second season was a complete disaster.  The Eagles were terrible in every sense of the word during the 2015-16 season.

Christian did a nice job in two years at Ohio, and he was also a good head coach at Kent State.  However, he went 56-73 at TCU in his most high-profile job before Boston College.  There was evidence that Christian would not be able to lead an ACC-level program, but the BC athletic department ignored that evidence and hired him anyway.