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|Johnson is named Tech’s new head basketball coach|
James Johnson, a former Ferrum College standout player assistant coach, graduate and member of the school’s Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, is Virginia Tech’s new head men’s basketball coach. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech)
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
BLACKSBURG -- James Johnson, a former standout player and assistant coach at Ferrum College, has been named the new head men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech, university athletic officials confirmed Tuesday.
This is Johnson's first head coaching job.
He replaces Seth Greenberg, who was fired by Virginia Tech last week after nine years as as head coach. Greenberg's contract was terminated with four years remaining according to media reports.
Johnson served as Greenberg's assistant the past five years. Earlier this month, he left Virginia Tech to accept an assistant coaching post at Clemson (S.C.) University before opting to interview for and accept the vacant Tech post.
"Virginia Tech has a special place in my heart and I'm blessed and excited for the opportunity to become the head basketball coach,' Johnson said in a prepared statement. I look forward to working with a great group of young men and moving forward with this program.'
"...(James) is an individual with 19 years of coaching experience who has spent the last five years at Virginia Tech. He knows and has recruited most of our current players. We believe that he is the right person at this moment in time,' Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver said in the statement.
Johnson, a native of Powhatan, was a four-year player and three-year starter for the Panthers. He was a key performer on Ferrum's 1992 squad which won the USA South Athletic Conference championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament.
The following year, Johnson was an integral performer on a squad that won the USA South's regular-season championship and was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA Division III's South Region during the campaign.
Johnson graduated from Ferrum in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in psychology.
Afterwards, Johnson started his career in coaching at his alma mater -- he served as an assistant coach for two year under the guidance of the head coach for whom he played: former Panthers bench boss Bill Pullen.
In 2009, Johnson was inducted into Ferrum's Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.
Johnson is a past assistant coach at Hargrave Military Academy (postgraduate team), Longwood University, Old Dominion University, Elon (N.C.) University, College of Charleston (S.C.) University and Penn State University.
But, before coming to Virginia Tech, Johnson is probably best known for his apprenticeship at George Mason University.
While there, the Patriots were 45-23 and made an improbable run to the NCAA Division I men's basketball Final Four in 2006.
En route to the national semifinals where the Patriots were defeated by a Florida team that would win the first of two back-to-back national championships, George Mason defeated North Carolina and Connecticut and were crowned East Region champions.