Obviously this past season I’ve been somewhat critical of Coach Greenberg and his poor track record of making the NCAA Tournament (just once in nine years and that once was five years ago). But it is also fresh in my mind where this ‘program’ was nine years ago. We had just fired ricky “program bomb” stokes after going 10-38 in their first three years in the Big East. I’m not sure people even knew we still had a basketball program when he got fired. The Cassell was empty and so was our glass of hope, or so it seemed. Then in stepped Coach Greenberg.
I will always be thankful to Coach Greenberg for lifting us up out of the dark ages. In his first year, 2003-04, he led Tech to a 7-9 record and their first and only appearance in the Big East Tournament, winning one game. The next year we all assumed we’d take it on the chin in the ACC, but the Hokies scrapped to an 8-8 record and a NIT appearance, Tech’s first postseason trip in nine years. Seth was named ACC Coach of the Year for that 4th place finish. Coach Greenberg would win the award a second time in 2008. Here’s a look at what he accomplished at VT:
- Improved Tech’s Big East record by 3 wins in his first year
- Took Tech to their only Big East Tournament appearance
- 2-time ACC Coach of the Year (05 and 08)
- Earned four ACC Tournament first round byes in eight years
- Finished tied for fourth or better five times in the ACC
- Took Tech to the postseason six times (5 NIT, 1 NCAA – 07)
- 61-67 ACC record
- 3 ACC Tournament Semi-Final appearances (uva had 0 over the same span)
- 170-123 overall record
- 2nd place on Tech’s all time win list
Let’s not forget that we also got that spiffy new practice facility on his watch because our program was relevant again and the administration was willing to invest in the program. Not sure they would have if we were still putting up 4-12s every year.
The Date: 2/26/11 – In many ways February 26th is where everything changed. Tech had just knocked off #1 duke, Greenberg’s third win over a #1 since coming to VT. Coach was hugging his daughters and very emotional on the court. VT hoops hysteria was at an all time high. After several NCAA snubs, we had clinched an NCAA Tournament bid… or so we thought. But after 2/26/11 Tech went just 4-14 in ACC regular season play, including two losses to close the 2010-11 regular season that put us back in the NIT. That was followed up by a 4-12 ACC record this year after a solid out of conference showing, and the buzzards started to lurk. From seemingly the tops of the mountain last February, it was a mighty fall. But most of us thought he’d get another year. My sources indicate there was a strain between A.D. Jim Weaver and Greenberg recently after previously defending him (I won’t get into it since I’m not sure of it and because what’s done is done). And then, today, it was over.
Part of the reason sited was a lack of a family atmosphere, which is interesting because he had one daughter graduate from VT, another at VT, and potentially another on the way. Coach did have an abrasive personality – some liked it and his straight-forward approach, others got rubbed the wrong way. And his antics always made for good fodder, whether you liked him or not.
I remember talking with Coach at one of the past Hokie Celebrations. Upon hearing I wrote for TechHoops.com, Coach pretty much let me know he didn’t care for the blogs. His reason being that one minute they love you, the next they want your head. I tried to assure him that wasn’t my way, that he had my full support. Then, this year, I did take part in the rumblings this year and expected a NCAA bid next year or I’d have been calling for his job. I guess you were right, Coach. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
I definitely wish Coach Greenberg well and wish him nothing but success moving forward. It is sad to see him go. While it may have been time, you also have to be careful what you wish for. We knew what we had with Seth – a tireless recruiter who could really implement a solid defense. Did he hit a ceiling here or did the ceiling hit him? We’ll never know. But either way, here’s to you, Coach, and thank you for everything you did for Virginia Tech basketball.