This morning, I saw a tweet about Virginia Tech making a big push to lure Marquette head coach Buzz Williams to take over their basketball program. With the Hokies becoming the third vacant job rumored to be pursuing Williams, I wrote an article asking for the speculative stories to end because real news manages to stay quiet until it breaks.
As it turns out, I was mostly right.
It's a surprising move on a number of levels. First of all, Williams' stock as a coach has never been lower, as he missed the NCAA tournament as Marquette's head coach for the first time in his six year tenure. Second of all, Williams granted access to CBS Sports recently to focus on his humanitarian work with his Buzz's Bunch charity group, an odd move for someone that never wanted publicity for it before, not to mention someone who was angling to leave as soon as possible.
Third of all, and this is the one that will sting for Marquette fans, Virginia Tech's basketball program isn't half the program Marquette has been in the past. The Hokies have two NCAA tournament appearances in the past 28 years, they've been to just one Sweet 16 and one Elite 8 ever, which was in 1967. This is a program that ran Seth Greenberg out of town for being a bubble team coming out of a deep ACC for a few years in a row, and now the new athletic director, Whit Babcock is trying to correct the mistakes of his predecessor.
I don't know if this counts as a surprising note for the move, but it will be the one that causes the most vitriol going forward. ESPN's Jeff Goodman is reporting that one of the biggest reasons for Williams' departure was the reformation of the Big East and the new TV package with Fox Sports 1. This means that now Marquette fans can blame ESPN for both destroying the best basketball conference in the country for whatever reasons suited them and causing the second most successful coach in program history to chase after ESPN's money that was now funneling into the ACC.
The man who once said that he would be at Marquette as long as they would have him is now gone to Blacksburg. This leaves Marquette without a president, a provost, an athletic director, and now a head men's basketball coach. Trying times, to say the least.
And so, we look to the future, where ESPN's Andy Katz is reporting that Ben Howland, last seen winning a Pac-12 title before being unceremoniously fired by UCLA, wants the Marquette job. You're going to want to keep your eyes and ears open, we've got a long way to go before this story finally stops turning.