#MeetTheFamily: Devin Johnson

img_9013 I remember meeting Coach Buzz his first Friday on the job at UNO. I went to his office and because I grew up with most of the guys on the UNO team I told him I would love to help in anyway I could. Right then he told me I could help out, and from then on the bond between him and I began to really develop.

After becoming a manager at UNO for Buzz, I met Jamie McNeilly who was a player there at the time, Jamie and I have become really close as a result of everything, to the point where I was in his wedding.

While at UNO I also met another member of our family here at VT, Joe Fulce. When Joe came on his visit to UNO I was the one that picked him up from the airport, I was the host for the visit so I drove him around the two days he was in New Orleans, and after that visit we’ve been friends ever since.

From that point on, Coach Buzz and I would develop a relationship that’s unique to any other relationship that I have with any other human.

After that season was over at UNO, Buzz decided to go to Marquette. At that point, I had interned with the Hornets while working for Buzz, and I had developed a good relationship with the organization to the point that they gave me a full time internship when Coach Buzz left for Marquette.

Coach Buzz and I would continue to speak at least once a month after he took the job at Marquette, every time we talked it would be conversations catching up on everything from what each of us was doing that day to how each others families were doing, just a loving type of conversation.

I’ve always had the utmost respect for Coach Buzz, and from day one at UNO I always thought that he would be somebody that would impact in a way that I never really could know or quantify. I never knew I would be working for him years later, but that one year in New Orleans when I worked for him impacted my life forever by just being around him.

4 years later, and after continuously talking and catching up each month, I started to work for him at Marquette.

Once I got to Marquette the bond with Coach Buzz would get stronger. Coach Buzz helps with life situations, he helps with basketball situations, he helps with anything.

Whether it’s shoes because we both love to collect shoes, or helping me develop relationships, Buzz has always been there for me.

Coach Buzz is a great great guy, he is always looking to help first, he is always wiling to give you great insight, but most importantly he’s always going to tell you the truth. And that is one thing that I liked about him most and one of the reasons why I wanted to be around him as long as I could because he’s always going to tell you the truth and have your best interest at heart.

Coach Buzz has changed my life in so many ways, he has changed my family’s life in so many ways. Now when I go back home they always say, “I don’t know how you work for him that long, you guys work so much and so hard.” I always reply, “I don’t know anything else.”

Honestly, I don’t know the side of life where you can go home and relax for a day or two. I don’t know that, when I take a few days off, and I go home, or go back to New Orleans, after day two I’m like, “man,” looking around, “man I should be doing something!” So I don’t know anything else, Coach Buzz has helped me build that habit in myself to always work, and that habit has given me the opportunity to be where I am today.

Coach Buzz gave me the opportunity to grow and further my career and what I want to do in life. Coach is a great guy and a great family man, but a lot of people probably don’t see that because all they hear is “hard worker”

But no question, Coach Buzz is a dad first. Not only to his kids at home, but to his players. Coach has the best interest at heart for everyone, he makes everyone feel comfortable, loved and wanted.

I’m happy to be around Coach Buzz. But also I’m happy that I was able to build these relationships with these players, be a manager for Jamie, and pick up Joe from the airport.

Now ten years later, Joe’s a GA for us, Jamie was a GA for Joe, it’s just a big circle for us, and when we walk into work I never think I’m coming to work. I always think, “Man I’m going home for a certain time,” and when I get up to come to the building I’m always like, “oh I’m going to see my family I’m going to see my brothers I’m going to see my sisters.” I love that part. It helps me the most because I was a guy that said I would never leave home. Everyone in my family, every one of my friends, no one has left New Orleans. Everyone is still there; I’m the only one that got out. So it helps me to have this culture and environment because it’s a family environment and family culture. I would say that’s the only thing that helps me get up everyday, to do this everyday, and work this hard because it’s a family environment and it starts at the top with Buzz.

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