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Buzz, Marquette and the Future
What will tie them together or rip them apart?

Had Buzz Williams coached Marquette to the Final Four, it would've been this week's second-biggest story about the program.

The biggest? Whoever wanted to hire Buzz away from Marquette.

Because not all old habits die hard. Some don't die at all.

Buzz Williams loves Marquette. Nobody can doubt that. He's always declared his debt to the institution for hiring him as its head coach. He's stayed loyal to that institution when other schools tried to lure him away in the past. And both he and Marquette have been richly rewarded for it.

Well, it's luring time again. The fishing lines have been tossed in the water – at Illinois, at Kansas State, at Southern Methodist University and elsewhere – and Marquette fans are naturally wondering if Buzz will bite. Just like they did last year and the year before that. The names may be different, but the dance remains the same.

So is there reason to worry that this particular dance ends differently?

Back when I was putting together Milwaukee Magazine's feature on Williams, I spoke with many, many people. They included Buzz's acquaintances, Buzz's current players, Buzz's former players, Buzz's staff members, Buzz's family and, of course, Buzz himself.

Whenever the subject of Buzz's future at Marquette surfaced, one theme rang true.

"Loyalty and trust is a big issue," I was told. "So unless something like that goes wrong..."

And there's your caveat. Something has to go wrong.

The loyalty and trust issue is why Buzz left New Orleans – the only other head job he's had – after just one year. He didn't think the program was being supported properly. And he didn't wait for another head coaching job, either. He became an assistant coach at Marquette.

His star is brighter these days, of course, and his days as an assistant are over. He doesn't have to go looking for head coaching jobs. They come looking for him.

But I think Buzz remains the same man. His values remain the same, too.

And yet, some things around him have indeed changed. The athletic director and university president who hired Buzz are no longer at Marquette. Does Buzz have the same level of trust and loyalty with the newcomers? Do they have the same belief in him? Have their opinions been affected by things like last week's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel stories about underage players at bars?

These are the types of questions swirling around the Marquette community, and they'll all be answered soon enough.

Because if Buzz Williams still trusts his situation at Marquette, then he'll remain the school's head coach.

And if he doesn't, then somebody else is sure to win his loyalty.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter, where I tweet as howiemag. And listen to me chat sports with Mitch Teich once a month on WUWM's "Lake Effect."

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