NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Seth Greenberg of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts against the Syracuse Orange during the 2011 Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden on November 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Virginia Tech ended the tenure of Seth Greenberg abruptly this afternoon, with a press conference from athletic director Jim Weaver only hours after he informed the coach. The change had been in the works for awhile, but only in the attract sense. Virginia Tech had already decided they would not renew Greenberg's contract after this season, but the decision to emote him immediately wasn't broached until Tuesday, and apparently finalized on Thursday. Greenberg was only informed a few hours before the official announcement today.
So what brought about the accelerated time table, and how does UNC factor into this? Well in addition to some rather odd criticisms Weaver had of Greenberg, like a lack of "a family environment" in the basketball program, he mentioned that VT had lost numerous assistant coaches in the past few weeks, and did not want to hire new ones if they were going to part ways with their head coach. And the number one destination for ex-Hokie assistants? Alabama-Birmingham.
UAB, of course, hired away UNC assistant and JV coach Jerod Haase last March, replacing former Indiana coach Mike Davis. In addition to tapping Bobby Frasor to be his director of basketball operations, he hired two members of Greenberg's staff, assistant coach Rob Ehsan and director of basketball operations Jeff Wulbrun. Both were in only their first season in Blacksburg, and their connection to Haase was tenuous. Wulbrun coached Haase at California for one season before the latter transferred to Roy Williams' Jayhawks, while Ehsan had been a six-year assistant for Gary Williams at Maryland.
Greenberg had also lost associate head coach James Johnson to Clemson, despite reportedly matching the Tigers' salary offer, and the remaining assistant John Richardson was in talks with Old Dominion. Not counting Richardson the Hokies had lost six assistants in four years.
All this being said, and despite Jim Weaver's confidence in the interest in the position, I foresee this coaching search to be a disaster on the order of N.C. State's search following Herb Sendek's departure in 2006. I'm not sure anyone would want to work for a man who just deep-sixed the previous occupant in such a ham-fisted manner, especially with the long climb the Hokies will need to get out of the ACC cellar. Between this and the fact that Wake has still not fired Jeff Bzdelik, this might be the best day Boston College basketball has had in many months.
UNC's assistant coach opening remains unfilled, but the interest is a great deal higher.