Seth Greenberg, a 46-year-old New York native, became part of Virginia Tech history on April 3 when Athletic Director Jim Weaver named him the university's 27th men's basketball head coach. Greenberg takes over for Ricky Stokes, whose four-year tenure ended March 10.
"I want us to be like the Outback," Greenberg says about his goals for the team, referring to the popular restaurant. "You know what you're going to get every single night."
Greenberg's record includes a 108-100 mark at his previous stop, the University of South Florida, and a 231-170 overall record during his 13 years as a head coach, including a 105-70 record and two NCAA Tournament appearances while at Long Beach State. Now, Greenberg wants to score a new hoops record in Blacksburg--a daunting task, since Tech has won just one NCAA Tournament game in 23 years and has participated in postseason play only twice in 17 years.
"I've been at tough places," Greenberg says. "South Florida is a non-traditional school in a traditional conference. You have to develop players, kind of like you have to do here. Kids don't go to sleep dreaming of being a [South Florida] Bull. But I bet there are some who go to bed dreaming of being a Hokie."
While Virginia Tech's recent history suggests that Greenberg and his staff face a challenge, the university's successes since the 1970s show that the job can be done. Don DeVoe won an NIT championship in 1973, and led the Hokies to the NCAA Tournament in 1976. Charlie Moir took the Hokies to four NCAA Tournaments and four NITs. Bill Foster, under whom Greenberg coached at the University of Miami in the late 1980s, won an NIT championship in 1995, and led the Hokies to the second round of the NCAAs in 1996.
Greenberg plans on talking with all three. "In coaching, there are no originals," he says. "You take a little from here and a little from there. [These coaches have] gotten it done. You need good players, but if I can learn from someone's mistakes, if I can sit with Bill Foster and Don DeVoe and ask why they did this or why they recruited this particular area or that particular type of kid, then I'd be a fool not to ask those questions."
Greenberg also plans on having discussions with football coach Frank Beamer and women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson, who started their Tech careers under difficult situations--and have proven they know how to win.
"Intelligent people know what they don't know," Greenberg says. "I'm smart enough to know we need to ask questions and find out how to get it done. But I have no doubt that once we visit with those people, we'll have a plan and we'll get it done."
Tech's administration and fans certainly hope so. Now that the university will be joining the ACC in 2004, a new chapter has begun for Tech athletics.
Here's hoping history repeats itself.