The pomp and circumstance surrounding the hiring of Mike Young is wrapped up with his introduction to Virginia Tech complete and his contract made public. While most have focused on the fact that Young is receiving a massive pay boost, there's some other things that give us insight into the Babcock-Young connection especially when compared to Buzz Williams' contract.
1. Mike Young Is Taking a Risk on Himself
Usually, coaches try to put massive buyouts that set themselves up well and though $2 million isn't a small enough, the fact that VT can buy Young out for that little after 3 seasons if things go south show how Mike Young is taking a risk and showing he is confident he can get the job done.
Coaching buyouts have taken off in the past few seasons so to see that Buzz Williams' first contract had a greater buyout price in year 4 than Mike Young currently has. There's likely a lot of coaches that wouldn't allow themselves to have a buyout below $5 million any time before year 4 or 5. Combine that with Young's second year buyout being less than Buzz's fifth year buyout and you can quickly see how much more risk Young is taking on VT being able to easily make a quick change if he struggles early in his tenure.
Additionally, the five-year contract length is definitely shorter than normal at a time when a coach usually gets a seven or eight year deal. That's another reason why Young's buyout is lower sooner in his deal. In this, we see how Young is taking the risk that he'll be able to quickly earn a contract extension like Justin Fuente did after his first season.
2. Whit Babcock is Confident Mike Young Won't Be Looking Elsewhere If He Wins
This one is pretty simple, a coach buyout going under $1 million after only 2 seasons is a clear indication from Whit Babcock that he thinks Mike Young's tenure will not end because he leaves Blacksburg for another program. Babcock even said that the fact that Young doesn't seem like someone who would hop around programs made him more appealing.
Even with that, it would be understandable if Babcock decided to negotiate in a bigger buyout, and it,likely would have been easy to convince Mike Young to agree to that as well. However, Whit Babcock is also making a statement of confidence in his belief that if Mike Young does well in Blacksburg, his tenure will end when he chooses to retire, not because he left for another job.
For Young, this not only is beneficial if he were to ever decide to leave on his own, something that seems almost certain to not happen at any point, but also can be used as a recruiting tool alongside Babcock's comments to say that he doesn't need a buyout because he won't be considering leaving anyway. While it may not make much of a difference, any way to make a recruit feel more confident that you will be there for a player's whole career always help.
3. Mike Young's Massive Raise is More Than Just a Raise.
Many were surprised to see that Mike Young is receiving a raised of almost $1.8 million from $200k to $2 million next season, but the move shouldn't be as surprising as it seems.
There's one main reason why Young received a larger than expected raise: it's a statement to recruits and to fans that Virginia Tech isn't backing off after making a significant increase in their financial commitment to basketball under Buzz Williams.
If Virginia Tech would have paid Young around half of what Buzz was paid, you can already see that contract being used against the Hokies. If I was a coach, I would absolutely use it in front of a recruit to make them question how committed Virginia Tech is committed to supporting a high-level basketball program in the toughest conference in America. Any way to make recruits doubt that one school won't provide you the resources to develop, pursue your dreams well, and win a lot of games will absolutely be used.
There's a reason why smaller Power 5 programs in football don't make massive recruiting jumps after one good season or schools that have struggled recently like Texas and USC don't take a big hit on the trail, those programs still have the greater resources and flaunt it. Any way that casts doubt will be used as negative recruiting.
What all of this makes clear is that Mike Young and Whit Babcock are both very committed to making this work, especially Mike Young, and that Virginia Tech's financial commitment in basketball will not be decreasing at all under Young.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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