Longtime Duke assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski is set to become the new head coach at Marquette. He will replace Buzz Williams, who moved to Virginia Tech.
President-Elect Dr. Michael R. Lovell spoke about the news in a Marquette press release:
Steve has led under one of the top coaches in the nation for more than a decade, and he is committed to leading our student-athletes to success both on and off the court. In my conversations with Steve, I quickly became confident and convinced that he will immediately build on Marquette’s longstanding tradition of excellence in basketball. His work ethic combined with his experience makes him the perfect fit for our future.
Interim President Robert A. Wild also chimed in on the hiring:
Steve Wojciechowski is a proven winner and has excelled as both an associate head coach and player at the highest level of men’s basketball. This follows our historic news of President-Elect Lovell last week and continues our momentum to take a great university and basketball program to even loftier heights.
Bret Strelow of The Fayetteville Observer provides Wojciechowski's feelings on the hiring:
Wojo with a proud-looking smile as he takes the podium. "I'm both honored and humbled to be standing before you today."— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) April 1, 2014
"This is the most proud day in my basketball life." - Wojo— Bret Strelow (@bretstrelow) April 1, 2014
Paint Touches provided more from Wojciechowski:
Wojo: "Marquette is a place that I've admired from afar for a long time." Says being around program last few days "exceeded expectations."— Paint Touches (@PaintTouches) April 1, 2014
Jeff Goodman of ESPN initially reported that the decision was made to hire Wojciechowski after a couple weeks of speculation following Williams' exit:
Marquette has hired Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski, sources told ESPN.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 1, 2014
Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com reported on Monday that Duke's associate coach had emerged as a top target after he interviewed with Marquette officials:
Wojciechowski, 37, is now considered among Marquette's top targets. Other possibilities include Tennessee's Cuonzo Martin and former UCLA coach Ben Howland, both of whom have also spoken with Marquette officials.
Wojciechowski played his college basketball with the Blue Devils. After failing to latch on at the professional level, he returned to the school to start working on the staff for Mike Krzyzewski. He worked his way up the ranks into the top assistant role.
Duke won two national championships during his time as a coach.
The Maryland native certainly doesn't lack knowledge on what it takes to have success with a big-conference team having experienced it as a player and assistant coach. Learning from one of the best coaches in history won't hurt, either.
What's your opinion of the decision by Marquette?
Alas, he's never been a head coach before, which means a learning curve will still exist even though he'll be expected to hit the ground running. Marquette failed to make the NCAA tournament this season after eight straight trips to the big dance.
All told, it's a high-upside hire by the Golden Eagles. Wojciechowski proved his mettle during his time with Duke and is ready for an opportunity to run his own program. Given their past success, they are giving him a strong foundation.
There will probably be some bumps along the way as he acclimates himself to the new role. That's where the experience coaching under and learning from Krzyzewski is likely to help most.
If the protege has a quarter of as much success as Duke's stalwart head coach, it will be a successful hire by Marquette.