This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Coaching search continues: What about Buzz Williams?

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: March 31, 2013 - 3:29 PM

I’ve said from the early goings of this Minnesota coaching search that Buzz Williams would both make a great new Gophers coach and could in fact be getable should athletic director Norwood Teague and Co. go that direction.

Now that Marquette has been eliminated from the NCAA tournament with the search still going, I expect Williams to be at the top of Minnesota’ list.


Well, let’s start off with why he would be a good get for the Gophers:

  • He’s a name. What’s in a name? Well, not everything, but it sure goes a long way for getting people in seats (which Minnesota needs), getting financial support for a practice facility (which Minnesota needs) and just generally ramping up a fan base that has become negative lately.
  • He’s had recent success – the Golden Eagles have gone at least as far as the Sweet Sixteen in the past three seasons, including an Elite Eight run this year, which just ended on Saturday.
  • He’s a phenomenal players’ coach, which would be a good change from the hot-and-cold relationship some Gophers had with former coach Tubby Smith. He dances on the sidelines, which is just awesome. He’s used to coaching athletes, is used to *not* having a lot of shooters, and could play to the strengths of the current team.
  • It would start a trend of Minnesota only hiring coaches with catchy nicknames: Tubby vs. Orlando (although, come on, Orlando is pretty good too); Buzz vs. Brent.

Of course, there are a lot of coaches that could be good for the Gophers. Whether the feeling is mutual is a different story. On the surface, the Minnesota job is a lateral move at best, and a step down at worst for Williams.

Marquette’s facilities are prime and lush and have kept Williams and his teams quite comfortable. Williams reportedly makes $2.8 million a year, several hundred thousand more than the Gophers paid Smith. It’s possible Minnesota could give him a raise beyond that, but it’s just as possible that Marquette – which is topped nationally only by Duke in the amount it spends on it’s basketball program – could top any offer. Williams is already in a major conference – heading to an exciting new Big East next season – and so the draw the Big Ten might have for other coaches wouldn’t apply in the same degree. Would Williams want to make that move just to (maybe) get a minor raise and then be faced with the project that is Gophers basketball? I wholly admit it would be a tough sell. But there are still some reasons for hope in that regard:

  • The relationship is there. I keep going back to this, but that’s because I think Teague and associate AD Mike Ellis represent some of the best arguments there are for Minnesota. Many coaches have expressed sentiments about how attractive that administration is to work for – those who know Teague and Ellis know they will strongly support their basketball program and coaches. Williams is a Villa 7 guy, and the two parties have remained close.
  • Williams might not have an ideal situation relationship-wise at Marquette. I hear differing reports of just how poor his relationship is with current athletic director Larry Williams. Some have told me the rift is overblown, while others have said the state is fairly toxic. Whatever the case, its clear that things could be better in that regard.

If Williams were to agree to come to Minnesota, he would really be taking a leap of faith with Teague in believing that he could do with the Gophers what he did with Marquette: make them into a power.

Getting him would be momentous for the current Minnesota administration, which is conducting the most high-profile search of Teague’s career. Landing Buzz won’t be easy.

That said, I’m not ruling it out.


Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM


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