Recent Staff Departures Add to Regular Instability of Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball

Virginia Tech football’s tumultuous offseason is quietly spreading to the basketball team too.

Men’s basketball head coach Buzz Williams confirmed on Monday that lead assistant Steve Roccaforte, who was named associate head coach prior to the 2017-2018 season, has been hired as an assistant on Joe Dooley’s staff at East Carolina.

Roccaforte, who had spent the last four seasons working at Virginia Tech, is the second assistant to leave the program in the last six weeks. Jeff Reynolds, who was Virginia Tech’s director of scouting and game management last season, was hired earlier this summer by Texas A&M and head coach Billy Kennedy as an assistant coach.

All this instability leads one to wonder — what the heck is going on?

The departures wouldn’t be as odd if Williams’ status as the head coach wasn’t up in the air every offseason. After Williams’ first season as head coach at Tech, his name was on the list for the opening at Texas. Since then, Williams has had interest in real or potential openings at Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.

There’s no way that constant rumor mill surrounding Williams hasn’t had an effect on Virginia Tech’s recruiting. Yes, Tech has landed Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Landers Nolley in consecutive classes, but the Hokies’ 2018 class finished 49th in the country and Tech doesn’t have a single commitment from a 2019 prospect. Tech had three commitments — BJ Mack and Keyshaun and Kobe Langley — and all three decommitted together in December 2017.

It’s still early, but things aren’t heading in the right direction. Add Reynolds’ and Roccaforte’s departure from the program and Williams’ flirting with other schools and one phrase comes to mind — something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

I don’t know how this will work out. Maybe Williams makes a good hire to complement young assistants Jamie McNeilly and Christian Webster. Maybe Williams decides that Virginia Tech is the best place for him and maybe the Hokies’ hit on some of their recruiting targets.

Or, maybe Williams makes lazy hires and seriously considers leaving Blacksburg after the season. It would be a harsh reality, but it’s a reality that Virginia Tech fans should brace themselves for. Williams has engineered a terrific turnaround of Virginia Tech men’s basketball and has left the program in a far better position than he found it. But all good things must come to an end and that time may be approaching more quickly than we thought.

11 thoughts on “Recent Staff Departures Add to Regular Instability of Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball”

  1. Williams is a loose cannon and needs to go. Of course Whitt Babcock doesn’t want to admit that he made a huge mistake with Williams. Look at recruiting, coaches leaving and players decomitting.
    Sooner the better for his departure.

    1. Or, look at the actual product he’s put on the floor for the last 3 years. You, actions are louder than words.

    2. I don’t think Whit made a mistake in hiring Buzz. I do think the amount of autonomy that was granted might have been a little much, but Whit knew what he was getting himself in to. How Whit manages Buzz’s eventual departure will determine if the program can sustain its recent success.

  2. Buzz has been – and continues to be – an outstanding leader of the men’s basketball program. Anyone who has spoken to him personally, watched him lead the team in practice, or paid attention to the workings of the program will understand that he as anything but a loose cannon. Is he passionate on the floor during games? Of course! But in every other respect he is deliberate, thoughtful and composed. His intelligence and upright character are instantly discerned. He represents the University exceedingly well, and is the best thing to happen to VT basketball since Dell Curry first set foot on campus. Every day we have him as our coach is a good day for Virginia Tech. We don’t know what’s recently occurred behind closed doors, but what I do know is that he’s earned our support… it’s up to us to give it to him.

    1. Scott E, that’s a full card B-I-N-G-O. Sometimes a series of individual occurrences can be too easily construed as a single occurrence. Maybe folks should make sure they know the full story about each occurrence before they come to a general conclusion.

      Go Buzz.

  3. Buzz has been putting out a ton of offers lately not only for ’19 but for ’20 as well. He may leave at the end of the season but is that really a surprise or shocking? No. Two or three years ago he state he could not see himself continuing to coach indefinitely and would step out of coaching to do something else. It may be that Reynolds and Roc simply realize that the end (of coaching) for Buzz is in sight and better to get a more permanent position now than wait until Buzz’s retirement day (after all they have families to feed too).

    If Buzz ends of leaving to go to A&M or another school at the end of this season at least he should be given credit for significantly reviving VT’s b’ball fortunes upon which the next coach can build. He will leave this program a lot better than he found it.

    1. He may indeed leave, but to think all the kids on the team will stay when he does is a long shot. In today’s era of transfers (most of them for no reason), most of the “buzz kids” probably won’t stay for a new coach.

  4. Hum? Do I relish coach Williams efforts, and a top 10 ranking this year, or should I pine for his lesser replacement? I for one appreciate what he has brought.

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