Living the dream

Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams has taken a long and winding road to get to where he is today.

"I'm living a dream bigger than any dream I ever had as a kid."

This was a quote from someone on Selection Sunday from the Annex on Marquette's campus about what the experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament is like.

No, it wasn't a player. Instead, it was Marquette Head Coach Buzz Williams.

For a guy who began his coaching career at the age of 18 at Navarro College as an assistant, this really is a dream come true.

After Navarro, Buzz was an assistant at Oklahoma City from '92-'94, Texas-Arlington from '94-'98, Texas A&M Kingsville from '98-'99, Colorado State from '00-'04, and Texas A&M from '04-'06 before he finally got his chance to be a head coach at New Orleans in 2006. That was a short-lived stint in Louisiana, though; after one season he joined Tom Crean's staff, here at Marquette.

Little did he know when he moved to Milwaukee, he would be the head coach of a team with three of the nation's best guards coming back (James, Matthews, McNeal) the following season, as Crean departed for Indiana.

Now, he is in his third season at Marquette, and for the third time, is going to be the head coach of a team that is going to be competing in the NCAA Tournament.

Buzz does not look like the greatest athlete by any means, and he said he realized that as a kid. Then, his dream became to be a coach.

"As a kid I knew I couldn't play, but I had a dream to be a coach."

A graduate of Oklahoma City University with a degree in Kinesiology (which he made a Masters in 1999 at Texas A&M Kingsville), Buzz has literally worked his way up from the bottom, to one of the bigger programs in country's best conference.

Now that he is here, at Marquette, you can tell that Coach Williams is enjoying every minute.

The moment when Marquette was shown their NCAA tournament paring on the television, he stood up with a big smile on his face and applauded. After that, he sat there and watched the rest of the bracket be filled out with a look of amazement and excitement on his face. It was evident this was a moment he had been waiting for, for quite a long time. The hard work he, the staff and the players had put in was vindicated.

"Very few times in life do you have the opportunity to have a dream and live that dream. I think it's extremely rare to have the opportunity to live a dream bigger than the dreams that you had."

Even on the day, where for the third straight year, he was coaching in the NCAA Tournament, with a team completely made up of his players: guys that were recruited by him and his staff. This is his team, and it resembles his personality. Marquette is often labeled as one of the hardest working teams on the hardwood and the same can be said of their coach.

Even through his excitement on Sunday, Buzz was still focused on maintaining his composure, but more importantly, he was focused on trying to make sure his team would be ready for their game Friday against Coach Chris Mack's Xavier Musketeers.

"I'm excited. I try to temper it, and try to be appropriate relative to my answers, but we'll get after it over the next five days to see if we're good enough to keep playing."

1,070 days ago, Buzz was named head coach at Marquette. That was his big chance at coaching, and now, he is once again living his dream: coaching in the NCAA tournament.

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