Virginia Tech Basketball: Why Hiring James Johnson Is a Step into the Bizarre

Don DiabloContributor IIIApril 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 09:  Head coach Seth Greenberg of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts as he coaches against the Duke Blue Devils in their Quarterfinal game of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sources out of Blacksburg, Va., are stating that the Virginia Tech Hokies have hired former assistant James Johnson as the new head coach of the men's basketball team.

I seem to be missing a few key components into the reasoning behind Seth Greenberg's sudden firing last week, but hiring a former assistant who just jumped ship for an ACC rival in Clemson is just bizarre. 

Greenberg had done a great job in Blacksburg. He coached the Hokies to one NCAA appearance and quite a few postseason NITs as well in nine years roaming Cassell Coliseum. With lesser recruits early on, Greenberg was able to regularly compete with the big boys in the ACC. Since then, he brought in better and better recruits, and he was building a program.

However, this past season there were some growing pains for a young Virginia Tech squad that was used to being snubbed by the NCAA committee. The Hokies were in so many games, and if not for a few key plays and injuries, they could have been in talks for another NCAA bid. 

In the end, the Hokies finished 16-17 overall and 4-12 in the ACC. This is just a small reason why Greenberg was possibly fired, but according to athletic director Jim Weaver, it was the revolving door that was the assistant coaches under him; in the past four seasons, six assistants came and left the program, including Johnson. 

So, why do I say the hiring of Johnson is a step into the bizarre?

The primary reason Johnson was hired was continuity. While continuity is good for a building program, why hire a guy who jumped from the program three weeks ago for a rival school?

And why especially when Weaver said during the press conference that he wanted to take the program in a different direction? 

Again, how is hiring a coach who was on staff from 2007-2012 a step in a different direction? 

With the timing of events around the firing of Greenberg, it seemed that there might be the potential for a bigger name head coach to roam the sidelines in Blacksburg. But in the end, it is a former assistant coach with no head coaching experience at all who left the program three weeks prior. 

Now, that's what I call bizarre.