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March 21, 2014

Williams will bring culture change to Hokies

THE RIVALS150: Class of 2014 - Class of 2015

Each year the end of the conference tournaments and the start of the NCAA Tournament means that it is time for the college basketball coaching carousel to begin. Things had gone along without any huge surprises through the early stages. Well, until Friday afternoon at least.

Sure, Bruce Pearl getting the job at Auburn moved the meter a bit. But, the fact of the matter was that most felt it was only a matter of time until he landed somewhere.

The real surprise came down when Yahoo! Sports' own Pat Forde reported that Buzz Williams was leaving Marquette for Virginia Tech.

Although Marquette had a down season in 2013-14, Williams had built a strong program since taking over for Tom Crean when Crean left for Indiana in April of 2008. With his personality, off the floor charity work and overall success -- NCAA appearances in his first five seasons -- in Milwaukee, Williams had also become a very popular coach and nobody saw his move to Virginia Tech coming.

Whatever happened to make Williams decide he needed to move on, the Hokies figure to benefit mightily. When they fired James Johnson after just two years, Tech looked to be facing an uphill climb to find a solid coach. The program hasn't just been down, but the ACC is more loaded than ever and most outside observers looked at the Virginia Tech job as one of the toughest in the conference and a potential career killer.

Apparently, Williams doesn't see it that way.

If there is anybody who can turn around the fortunes in Blacksburg, Williams looks like he has the ability to be the guy.

Williams is a self-made man all the way and has a track record of proven success. He has recruited well at every stop along the way and has already been successful pulling recruits out of ACC country to play at Marquette.

Bottom line, the hiring of Williams is an extreme coup for Virginia Tech. When Johnson was fired it was nearly impossible to imagine that they could come out so well in the job search process but they did.

Of course, the job isn't going to be an easy one. The culture of Virginia Tech basketball needs to change. They need to land better recruits and Williams and the staff that he eventually hires will have to rebuild the Hokies' fanbase faith in their basketball program. The work will be hard and it could take some time.

But, if there is anybody who can do the job it is Williams. There are still more hirings and firings to come, but it is hard to imagine another program will pull a bigger rabbit out their hat than Virginia Tech did with Williams.

Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.

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