#MeetTheFamily: Jamie McNeilly
I met Coach Buzz in the fall of my senior year at UNO and my first encounter with him he immediately jumped me and tested me in front of the team. I didn’t know who he was, didn’t know anything about him, but I knew he was going at me as a senior who had been all-conference the year before.
Coach really tested who I was as a person in all facets of my life, and from that point on I had a choice to make, pack it in and go through the motions or buy into what he’s saying.
What Coach was saying was very unique to me, it was something I had never heard before. His message was very clear. He wanted me to hold myself to the highest standard possible and he didn’t want me to accept anything less. “Doing right” always came easy to me because of how I was raised, but going at a vigorous pace and always thinking ‘what more can I do’ wasn’t so easy. So I decided to listen and buy in fully. From that point on, playing for Coach Buzz was literally the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, mentally, emotionally & physically.
I say that to say this: He demanded me to be at my best and whatever I thought I had done well, to do it better in every facet you could think of, both on and off the court. Far beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving. In theory, it sounds easy for a coach to do, but I can now truly appreciate how much meticulous planning went into his deliberate and well-calculated attacks on my team. I always felt as if he wanted me to succeed, no matter how hard it was, to be held accountable by him everyday. To me, that is where he separates himself from other coaches. He understands the balance of making his players’ preparation for games and life as difficult as possible while building enough equity with them to ensure their loyalty.
Coach Buzz tapped into a part of me I didn’t even know I had. It sounds like coach talk and cliché, but until you’re tested everyday almost to exhaustion in all aspects of your life, you don’t realize and you can’t appreciate the resonating impact of a coach that sacrifices so much of his time, can have on you.
Coach Buzz called me into his office after the first few games of my senior year and told me, “listen I know you want to play pro I know you want to go over seas and make money, but I want you to know that you’ll always have a job with me. Any time you decide to stop playing I want to hire you because I think you’ll be a really good coach.”
I was really appreciative to hear that. I had no idea what that meant at that time. I just thought it was a coach kind of saying thank you to a senior who decided to buy in, but it was obviously much more. Looking back it turned into what and who I am today.
From Christmas break of my senior year he never subbed me out of a game, I led the conference and ended up at the top of the NCAA for minutes played per game, just because of that trust Coach Buzz had in me.
But, playing for Coach Buzz is not for everyone, if you do not want to be tested, if you do not want to be challenged, if you do not want to be pushed further than you think you can be pushed, then you should not play for Coach Buzz and you should not go to Virginia Tech.
If you desire to be better than you thought you could be, in my mind there is nothing close to what Coach Buzz can offer.
Buzz cares more than anyone else, it’s not through the words he uses, it’s not through what you see on the court, it’s in the time he puts in. Coach will wake up before you, he’ll go to sleep after you, and every day he’ll dedicate himself to helping you get better.
I’ve been around basketball my whole life, growing up playing and now in my professional career as a coach and the most precious thing a coach can give you is time. It’s where you are built as a person, in the time that a coach spends with you.
Coach Buzz, in my opinion, is the most elite coach in the country at giving his players time in all facets of their life. I think the only reason we’ve had success is because Coach Buzz Williams has trust in his players and his players trust him back. Every player can see through a coach that isn’t for them or a coach that isn’t working hard. That’s never the case with Coach Williams.
Coach Buzz will try to out work you as a player and try to out work everyone on his staff everyday, and that pushes you every moment to be the best you can be.
That’s where our success derives from and there is no other coach in the country who comes close to what Coach Buzz specializes in.
Coach Buzz Williams is a really good X’s & O’s coach, he’s really good at motivating and all the cliché coach things, but no one comes close to how hard he works at getting you to work hard at becoming the best you can possibly be.