Buzz Williams appears to be staying put at Marquette.
Tuesday evening, Williams and Marquette Athletic Director Larry Williams released a statement to halt the speculation and reports surrounding the basketball coach and SMU.
"I want to thank all of our fans, alumni, students and administration who provided incredible support throughout our second consecutive Sweet 16 run," Buzz Williams said in the statement. "We are already looking forward to next season with a core group of returning players, while welcoming new recruits into the Marquette family. I am excited to build on our past success and we will continue to work to be the absolute best we can be. The future remains bright for our program and our institution."
Williams, who just recently finished up his fourth year at Marquette, led the program to its second straight Sweet 16 appearance, where they lost to Florida, 68-58. Williams hails from Van Alstyne, Texas, which helped many an argument as to why the SMU gig would be appealing to his family. But alas, Williams, who is 96-45 (46-26 Big East) with the Golden Eagles, looks to be staying put.
"Coach Williams is a good man, great coach and I look forward to working with him in the coming years," Larry Williams said in a statement. "As we move forward, we want to make sure we stay focused on the rich history and core values that underpin this very unique program—among the elite in the nation—by continuing to emphasize our mission of remarkable success on the court and the classroom."
SMU was reportedly willing to pay Buzz Williams well over his current salary of $2.6 million, plus a $3 million buyout. Williams was also associated with the Oklahoma and Texas A&M jobs last year, but declined.
Marquette finished this season 27-8, 14-4.
So where does this leave SMU in its coaching search? Williams was the top target to replace Matt Doherty, according to sources close to the program.
Other intriguing names that have surfaced are Harvard's Tommy Amaker and Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg. But Amaker's wife, Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, is a professor at Harvard Medical School, so it might be safe to count him out.
As far as Greenberg, he lives in the same neighborhood as David Braine, the consultant out of the firm Academic Search who is helping the Mustangs find a new coach. So it's probably safe to keep him in the running despite reports saying that he hasn't been contacted/doesn't have an interest.
Whoever the Mustangs hire needs to be a slam dunk and Williams would have been it. As SMU prepares for the Big East move and its $40 million Moody Coliseum renovation, athletic director Steve Orsini must get someone who can get in and start rebuilding the program (and get butts in the seats).
Also, despite the national attention this coaching search has gotten, SMU should be lauded for sticking its neck out there for a big name. And they must continue to do so.
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