James Johnson spent five years at
That’s why, Johnson said, he resigned last week as
“I’ve known Brad since we were both assistants in the
Brownell was a Colonial Athletic Association assistant at
Johnson replaces Rick Ray, who left Brownell's staff for the head coaching position at Mississippi State.
In promoting Johnson to associate head coach last year, Greenberg called him "as good an assistant coach as I've ever had."
Indeed, Johnson, a Powhatan native and Ferrum College graduate, was an effective recruiter, landing players such as Cadarian Raines, C.J. Barksdale, Robert Brown and Marshall Wood. But Virginia Tech has reached one
The Tigers boosted Johnson's pay by 33 percent, from approximately $143,000 to $190,000. But Johnson confirmed what Tech athletic director Jim Weaver told me Friday, that the Hokies matched Clemson's offer.
"This move and no other move in my 19 years of coaching had anything to do with money," Johnson said, refuting anonymously sourced media reports to the contrary. "I'm not doing this job for money.
"I'm blessed and fortunate to coach at a level where they pay me a good salary. I want to be a head coach, and I got into this business because I wanted to impact young people's lives and because I love basketball.
"I was making $7,000 a year at Ferrum College and eating at the cafeteria. I was just doing it to coach ball and be around kids."
In addition to Virginia Tech, Johnson, 41, has worked at Ferrum, Longwood, Hargrave Military Academy, ODU, Elon, College of Charleston,
Johnson said that in leaving Virginia Tech "I'm not knocking anyone. … I appreciate what Seth and Jim Weaver did for me. They took a chance on me, and I think I helped them."
Props to Johnson for taking the high road. He is the sixth Hokies assistant to leave in four years, the second this offseason. Earlier, Rob Ehsan departed for Alabama Birmingham after one season at Virginia Tech.
"There's a lot of respect for what we did at Virginia Tech," Johnson said, "when another ACC school hires you."
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