Old friends Dale Layer and Buzz Williams are together again.
Virginia Tech announced Wed- nesday that Layer has been hired as a special assistant to Williams, who is entering his fifth season as the Tech men’s basketball coach.
Williams worked for Layer at Colorado State, and Layer later worked for Williams at Marquette.
“Buzz is an unbelievable friend,” Layer said in a phone interview. “I have such great relationships with him and his family. His kids have called me ‘Grandpa’ in the past.
“I was there when his oldest was born. … I’ve off and on, over the years, been part of all of their lives.”
Layer, a former head coach at Colorado State and Liberty, spent last season as an assistant coach at Southern Conference member Mercer.
Layer, 60, will not be one of Williams’ three assistant coaches at Tech. Layer said it was not the “right fit for me … to be a recruiter in the ACC at this point.”
But he still considered Tech to be an “unbelievable opportunity.”
“My relationship with Buzz, and the fact that you’re part of an ACC program and being in familiar territory in Virginia … made it really hard to pass up,” he said.
Williams had two former college head coaches on his Tech staff in each of the past four years, but both left this summer. Associate head coach Steve Roccaforte joined East Carolina as an assistant coach . Jeff Reynolds, who spent three years as the director of basketball operations before his title was changed last season to director of scouting and game management, became an assistant coach at Texas A&M.
Layer said he will be involved with scouting, game plans, scheduling and various administrative tasks at Tech.
“Being a former head coach, hopefully I can … bring value,” he said.
Layer steered Colorado State to 103 wins and one NCAA Tournament bid from 2000-07. Williams was one of his assistant coaches from 2000-04.
“When I interviewed him … I said to myself, ‘I’m crazy if I don’t hire this guy. He’s special,’” Layer said.
Layer was one of Williams’ assistant coaches at Marquette in the 2008-09 season, which was Williams’ first year at the helm of the Golden Eagles.
Layer then left Marquette to take the reins at Liberty. He steered the Flames from 2009-15, leading them to 82 wins and an NCAA Tournament berth before being fired.
After Williams’ Hokies beat Layer’s Flames in 2014, Williams said that Layer was “the best human being I know, other than my wife, and he absolutely changed my life” by hiring him at Colorado State.
Williams has led the Hokies to two straight NCAA tournament appearances.
“He’s a lot better coach than I was,” Layer said. “I’ve learned more from him than he’s learned from me.”