BLACKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia Tech fired head basketball coach James Johnson on Monday, after two years and a 22-41 overall record. In making the announcement, Virginia Tech Athletic Director Whit Babcock said a national search for Johnson’s replacement will begin immediately.
“I want to thank Coach Johnson for his dedication and hard work for our university and our basketball program over the past seven years,” Babcock said. “A change of this significance affects many people and is never taken lightly, but I felt a change and a new direction was necessary for the long term, best interest of our department.”
Johnson is the first ACC coach in 40 years to be relieved of his duties after less than three years on the job. Johnson was a VT assistant under Seth Greenberg for 5 years before briefly taking a similar job at Clemson. The Powhatan native then returned to replace his old boss when Greenberg was eventually fired in 2012.
Babcock has a wide net which to cast for a replacement. Early speculation has centered on Mick Cronin, head coach at Cincinnati where Babcock served as A.D. before coming to VT this past fall. Also being mentioned are former Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall (a Randolph-Macon grad and former assistant) and, much like every college coaching search, VCU’s Shaka Smart who would be a longshot for the position.