Sources: Hokies hire James Johnson

Updated: May 1, 2012, 8:34 AM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Virginia Tech has hired former Hokies assistant James Johnson to replace Seth Greenberg, less than two weeks after Johnson left Virginia Tech for an assistant position at Clemson, multiple sources said.

Johnson informed Clemson coach Brad Brownell that he had accepted the job Monday morning, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said.

Johnson interviewed for the job over the weekend, the source said.

Spartanburg, S.C.-based WSPA-TV initially reported on Monday that Johnson would take the Virginia Tech job.

The university announced it would hold a news conference at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday to introduce its new men's basketball coach.

Johnson's departure -- one of six in a four-year span -- was one of the issues that Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver raised during the news conference announcing Greenberg's firing last week.

Weaver said that he met with Johnson to try to convince him to stay, telling him he would try to match his salary offer. But he said Johnson told him that it wasn't about the money.

Greenberg was fired on April 24, after nine seasons and one NCAA tournament appearance.

Johnson recruited for Clemson two weekends ago. But Brownell, aware that Johnson would be interviewing for the Virginia Tech job, pulled Johnson off the recruiting trail for last weekend.

Johnson, a Virginia native, came to Virginia Tech in 2007. He previously worked as an assistant at George Mason, Penn State, College of Charleston, Elon and Old Dominion.

Johnson was Greenberg's associate head coach this past season. He has never been a head coach, but his return to Blacksburg was celebrated by several Hokies players on Twitter.

"Yessss I'll be back next year," scoring leader Erick Green tweeted.

"Throwing a party tonight," power forward Cadarian Raines wrote.

And Malcolm Delaney, the Hokies' No. 2 career scorer, tweeted: "VTECH hired my guy JJ.. he finally will get his chance"

By bringing back Johnson, the Hokies will try to keep their top recruiting commitments, 6-foot-7 Marshall Wood (Lynchburg, Va./Rustburg) and 6-7 power forward Montrezl Harrell, a Tarboro, N.C., native who played at Hargrave Military Academy, where Johnson once coached.

The Hokies, who finished 16-17 overall and 4-12 in the ACC, return Green, Raines and freshman Dorian Finney-Smith to a team that should have a chance to be in the upper half of the ACC.

Johnson also may look to add Virginia Tech women's coach Dennis Wolff to the staff as an associate head coach, sources said. Wolff was on Greenberg's staff prior to becoming the women's coach last year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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