What to make of Seth Greenberg's demise at Virginia Tech? Surely it's one of the stranger firings in conference history. If we are to believe A.D. Jim Weaver, it is because Greenberg failed to develop a sense of family around his program and also had something to do with the high turnover among his assistants.
The implication there is that they left because Greenberg was unpleasant to work for. True? Outside of the departed, who knows?
Erick Green certainly has no beef with his former coach. He told the Richmond Times-Dispatch this:
"He was a great guy. I think people thought we had conflicts. We had no conflicts at all. â¦ He was intense. Everybody saw the side of him where he was yelling and doing all those crazy things, but he's really a good guy. He not only cared about us on the court, but off the court for our families and how we interacted with people and things like that. I've got nothing bad to say about him."
That's not a bad reference, really. It doesn't address his relationship with his staff subordinates, but it seems to be from the heart.
It is nonetheless a bit odd: earlier this year, Weaver told the Post that job security "wasnât even a topic."
Times change, apparently.
The worst part of it, as far as we can tell, is that when Virginia Tech announced Weaver's press conference, a Post reporter asked Greenberg what it was about and he said "Iâm still employed, so I donât think itâs about me."
In the annals of unfortunate Greenberg quotes, that is very close to the classic "certifiably insane" comment he made about his team possibly missing the tournament a few years ago (they did).
By the way, since there is no longer a head coach and no longer any assistants, the strength coach Dave Jackson has been appointed the defacto interim coach who is supposed to keep the players in line. That's pretty far down the line when you think about it.
After the shock of the firing wears off, attention will quickly turn to who the next coach will be. Some names have already popped up, among them Jeff Capel and Chris Collins, although both are highly speculative at this point.
Shaka Smart is bound to come up as well. He hasn't been seriously tempted yet, but it's worth mentioning that as of now, he's not sure who his boss will be since Norwood Teague is off to Minnesota.
That might give him pause and if Weaver makes a good run, who knows?
Seems unlikely, but VCU is a bit unsettled at the moment and Smart might be interested in an ACC position.
Jeff Jones might get some play as well, but he's a Virginia guy and that won't go over well with everyone.
Weaver said he's not fixated on a big name and would consider up-and-comers or assistants.
He's also not hiring any headhunters. Since he's primarily a football guy, that might not be the best idea in the world, and his track record for basketball coaches is not overwhelming: at Tech, he hired Ricky Stokes, who had to navigate the transition from the A-10 to the Big East and then Greenberg.
He was the AD at Vegas in 1991 and quit in protest in 1994 when the Rebels hired Tim Grgurich over his objections.
Weaver spent a year at Western Michigan where he inherited Bob Donewald.
So basically it's Stokes and Greenberg, both of whom had to handle significant conference transitions.
Not that he needs our advice, but he might take a look at Archie Miller. He's just a year in, but he's been around coaching his entire life and he did well his first year at Dayton.
Scott Sutton is a bit off the beaten path at Oral Roberts, but like Miller, he was a lifer at 18. He'll never do anything else unless he has to.
He's 163-59 which isn't bad, especially at a smaller school.
Gregg Marshall seems fairly set at Wichita State, but the ACC would be a definite career move.
How about Murray State's Steve Prohm? He's a first-year guy, but 31-2 is a pretty reasonable bet. Plus Weaver would love this:
âWe are a family. We have to love one another and trust one another, thatâs how I was brought up in this game from day one back when I was a volunteer assistant at Centenary. Iâve got special relationships with the coaches Iâve worked with and speak to a ton of them often still today. This is how special things can happen when you have good people around you.
"When it comes to the young men in our program, I want them to know that Iâm going to do everything I can to help them be successful in basketball, but also in life. I want them to go on to be successful in their careers and to be successful husbands and fathers."