Here’s what we know about Buzz Williams: the guy can coach. Williams led Marquette to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments, from 2009-13, and advanced to three Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight. Now at Virginia Tech, Williams led the Hokies to their first NCAA Tournament since 2007.
Here’s what we didn’t know about Buzz Williams: he reads three chapters from three different books every day. Even crazier? Williams, 44, has done this for more than 20 years – even during the season. Even crazier than that? He takes notes on them.
“I’ve always been very curious – curious to learn, curious to try to find different ways to improve,” Williams said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “That curiousness has probably taken me places that I would have never dreamed off.”
Williams doesn’t just read a book and forget about it, either. He usually calls or writes the author.
“I’ve read their book and cold-called them and said, ‘Hey, is there any way that I can read the notes that you didn’t put in your book? Is there any way I can meet with your ghostwriter? Is there any way that I can buy you a cup of coffee?’” Williams said. “I’ve been that way with football coaches, I’ve been that way with authors, I’ve been that way with any type of leader. I haven’t spent much time in my career learning how to draw another play. I think that’s somewhat overrated. What I’ve tried to do is figure out how to lead better and figure out how to help people more and be efficient in all of that. I have been built like that from the very beginning. Along the way, there’s been so many people that have poured their wisdom into me, and I think that a byproduct of that is I just want to pour that wisdom that I’ve learned and try to help others.”
A lot of coaches read nonfiction books, especially ones about history or the military. Williams dabbles in those, but they’re not his bread and butter.
“Those are the books that I read at night to try to fall asleep, books that help me to maybe take my mind somewhere else that I don’t feel like I have to write down or highlight anything from,” Williams said. “That’s what I read at night, and I don’t count that as the books that I’m reading. That’s just so that I can try to calm down enough to go to sleep.”