BLACKSBURG – Following a summer of assembling a top-notch coaching and support unit, Virginia Tech head men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams has announced the completion of his staff.
The Hokies’ new staff has 38 years of Division I coaching experience, eight conference titles and has produced 30 NBA products. ESPN Insider has this season’s recruiting class for Virginia Tech as 19th nationally.
Isaac Chew, Steve Roccaforte and Jamie McNeilly have been named assistant coaches with the program. Jeff Reynolds has been named the director of men’s basketball operations, Devin Johnson is the director of player personnel for men’s basketball and Steve Thomas is the director of student-athlete development. Lyle Wolf joins the staff as the assistant to the head coach, and Ernest Eugene has been hired as assistant athletics director for sports medicine and will serve as the team athletic trainer.
Below are brief synopses of the new staff members. Full bios on each new staff member can be found by clicking on the photo of each person.
Assistant Coach Isaac Chew
In his inaugural season at Virginia Tech, Isaac Chew transitions with head coach Buzz Williams in continued partnership toward success. After two seasons at Marquette and a multitude of high-caliber collegiate experience, Chew has greater resolve for continued growth in all aspects of coaching and recruitment.
Joining forces with Williams in May of 2012, Coach Chew is exceedingly proud of the accolades received by the 2012-13 BIG EAST champions at Marquette and worked diligently to recruit the sixth-ranked class nationally in 2013. At Missouri in the 2011-12 season, he helped lead Mizzou to a 30-win season and Big 12 Tournament Title in 2011-12.
Chew was an assistant at 2009 and 2010 Ohio Valley Conference champion Murray State. His 2007-11 stint in Kentucky included an unprecedented 31-win season, second-round berths in the NCAA Tournament and an NIT appearance.
Chew served as an assistant coach at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, for the 2006-07 season. The team advanced to the NJCAA national tournament for the first time in five years and finished the regular season as the undefeated regional champs.
Born and raised in Chicago, Chew was a standout athlete at Wells High School. He played college basketball at Iowa Lakes Community College from 1994-96 and finished his playing career at Avila University in Kansas City. After earning his undergraduate degree at Avila and his MBA at Baker University, Chew returned to Avila to begin his collegiate coaching career.
Assistant Coach Steve Roccaforte
Steve Roccaforte enters his first year as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech following three years as an assistant coach at South Florida. Roccaforte, known nationally as a tireless recruiter and enthusiastic floor coach, has already benefitted the Hokies greatly.
With nearly 28 years of experience at the NCAA Division I level, Roccaforte has worked with some of the top coaches in the business and has recruited some of the top talent in the country. He has served under national coaches of the year in John Calipari, Perry Clark and Billy Tubbs, and helped develop multiple nationally ranked recruiting classes. Prior to USF, Roccaforte was the head coach at Lamar University for five seasons.
Known as a relentless recruiter, Roccaforte has put together top-25 recruiting classes at USF (No. 12 being the highest), Tulane (No. 8), Memphis (No. 1) and Lamar (No. 6).
Prior to being named to the top spot at Lamar, Roccaforte served for three seasons with the Cardinals as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Billy Tubbs. He spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Memphis before returning to Lamar, helping the Tigers advance to the NIT semifinals in 2001, win the NIT championship in 2002 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 for the first time in seven years. Before Memphis, Roccaforte spent two seasons as an assistant coach on the Wyoming staff (1998-2000). Before heading to Wyoming, Roccaforte worked at Tulane, and he was an assistant coach at Centenary College for five seasons (1989-94). He earned his bachelor of applied arts and sciences degree from Lamar in 1989.
Assistant Coach Jamie McNeilly
The 2014-15 season marks Jamie McNeilly’s first season as an assistant coach with the Hokies. He worked the previous six seasons with the Marquette University men’s basketball program, the last three years as the student-athlete development specialist. McNeilly spent the 2010-11 season as the team’s video coordinator, and he was as a graduate manager for two seasons, when he earned his master’s degree in leadership studies in 2010. McNeilly was also an adjunct professor in the college of professional studies, teaching classes for three years in Marquette’s Graduate Sports Leadership program.
McNeilly has spent numerous years coaching with the Canadian men’s basketball program as an assistant. In 2011, McNeilly helped lead the Canadian Cadet men’s basketball team to a bronze medal at the FIBA Americas World Qualifying Championships. In 2012, McNeilly traveled to Brazil with the Canadian Junior Men’s National Team and helped guide the squad to a bronze medal finish at the FIBA Americas U18 Men’s Championship. McNeilly’s international coaching experience continued in 2013 at the U19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Some notable players McNeilly coached as a Canadian national team assistant include Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and Trey Lyles.
McNeilly played collegiate basketball at the University of New Orleans, earning Sun Belt all-conference recognition as a junior and making the league’s academic honor roll as a senior. McNeilly saw action under Buzz Williams as a senior in 2006-07. After earning a bachelor’s degree from UNO in interdisciplinary studies in 2007, the Toronto native played professionally in Germany in 2007-08, playing for USC Heidelberg of the Pro A League. He earned three letters at UNO following one season at South Georgia Technical College (2003-04), where he was an all-conference performer as well.
McNeilly owned international experience prior to his stint in Germany, having played for Team Canada in two consecutive World University Games (2005 Summer Universiade in Turkey and 2007 Universiade in Thailand). While representing Canada in 2007, McNeilly helped his team earn a bronze medal as a team captain.
Director of Men’s Basketball Operations Jeff Reynolds
Before joining the staff at Marquette, Reynolds spent five seasons as the head coach at Air Force. Prior to taking over the head coaching duties at Air Force, Reynolds served as an assistant coach for two seasons.
Reynolds also was an assistant coach at Tulane for five seasons and was the head coach at Division II Wingate University. He was the top assistant coach at his alma mater, UNC-Greensboro, from 1995-97. Prior to that, he served for four years as the top assistant at UNC Wilmington, and he began his coaching career at James Madison University in 1981, serving as a part-time assistant.
He logged one year as the head coach of North Carolina Wesleyan in 1985-86, before moving to Winthrop College as an assistant coach for four years.
Director of Player Personnel Devin Johnson
Devin Johnson joins the Virginia Tech staff as director of player personnel after serving the past two seasons as video coordinator at Marquette. Johnson worked as an undergraduate assistant coach under Williams at the University of New Orleans during the 2006-07 campaign.
As part of his role with the Hokies, Johnson will supervise the program’s video needs, including the staff’s scouting efforts and exchange procedures. He also will play a vital role in the annual summer camp events.
Before working at Marquette, Johnson worked in a variety of capacities for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. During his five-year tenure, he served as game presentation associate, group coordinator and group service manager. Beginning in September of 2010, his duties included managing the group service assets on game night and managing a staff focused on generating revenue and becoming involved in community initiatives.
A 2008 graduate of UNO, Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from the university and collected a minor in sport management.
Director of Student-Athlete Development Steve Thomas
Steve Thomas is in his first year in the newly created position of director of student-athlete development. His responsibilities will include fostering an environment that promotes the well-being and personal development of men’s basketball student-athletes. His duties will also include the coordination of recruiting efforts for the entire staff.
He comes to Virginia Tech following two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Oregon. In Eugene, his responsibilities included practice and game preparation, student-athlete management, recruiting updates, travel organization and player academics.
Before joining the Ducks, he spent five years working for Nike as a project consultant with Nike Basketball Sports Marketing. Also during that time, he was an event and program director with U.S. Junior Nationals, Inc., a grass roots basketball events organization.
He is a 2006 graduate of Rowan University in New Jersey, with a degree in advertising and communications, and he earned a master’s degree from the University of Oregon in educational leadership in 2014.
Assistant to the Head Coach Lyle Wolf
Lyle Wolf takes over the newly created position of assistant to the head coach. He arrives in Blacksburg following two seasons at Marquette. He will assist Williams and the staff in a wide-range of responsibilities, including management of Williams’ and the staff’s day-to-day operations.
Prior to Marquette, Wolf served as the junior varsity basketball coach at Sayre School for one season. He also has completed a pair of internships at the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University. A 2010 graduate of Transylvania with a degree in business administration, Wolf was a member of the basketball team at the school in 2006-07.
Assistant AD for Sports Medicine Ernest Eugene
Ernest Eugene begins his first season with the Hokies following six seasons at Marquette, where he served as the athletic trainer for the Golden Eagles men’s basketball program. He was promoted to director of sports medicine his final year.
Before Marquette, Eugene spent five seasons as the assistant athletic trainer with the Washington Wizards. Prior to joining the NBA ranks, Eugene served as a seasonal intern athletic trainer with the Washington Redskins in 2003.
The Washington, D.C., native earned his master’s degree in allied health management from Ohio State, where he also served as a graduate assistant for two years. Eugene graduated from George Washington University in 2000, where he earned a B.S. in exercise science, with a concentration in athletic training.
Certified as an Athletic Trainer (ATC), Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES), Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and in Graston Techniques, Eugene is also an active member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association and National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Joining the newcomers to the Virginia Tech men’s basketball staff is David Jackson, the Director of Strength and Conditioning, Basketball Programs, who will continue to work directly with the men’s basketball team. The 1997 Virginia Tech graduate and former Hokie basketball player, returned to the program in 2006.
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