He brought Virginia Tech’s basketball program into the ACC, saw a new practice facility built under his watch and brought in, by far, the best recruiting class in school history in 2011.
But it wasn’t enough.
Athletic director Jim Weaver announced on Monday afternoon that Seth Greenberg had been terminated as the men’s basketball head coach after nine years at Tech.
“Tom Gabbard (the associate director of athletics for internal affairs) and I decided last week that we needed to go another direction in our men’s basketball program. That’s exactly what we’re doing today,” Weaver said. “We have terminated coach Seth Greenberg’s tenure as our basketball coach. We appreciate the effort that he gave to our university for the last nine years.”
Virginia Tech sports information emailed the media at 11:36 a.m. to announce the press conference. Weaver said he informed Greenberg of his termination at approximately 1:30 p.m.
“We chose to have the meeting with him at the time of day we did, because it worked into the schedule of everybody,” Weaver said.
Greenberg compiled a 170-123 record during his tenure in Blacksburg. He was a two-time ACC Coach of the Year and he led the school to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2007, advancing to the second round.
“It had nothing to do with losing, it had nothing to do with NCAA appearances,” Weaver said. “It had something to do with people leaving, and it had something to do with me wanting to change the direction and leadership of the program.”
Over the past several weeks, two of Greenberg’s three assistant coaches left the program.
On April 2, Rob Ehsan left to take an assistant coaching position at UAB. Then, on April 17, James Johnson took the same position at Clemson.
“I did not like, quite honestly, the way things unfolded with coaches leaving an ACC program that had the promise on the court that this program has for next year,” Weaver said. “I felt after talking at length with Mr. Gabbard that we needed to make the decision now and that’s why it was made.”
Because Greenberg had lost most of his coaching staff, it didn’t make sense for the athletic department to hire replacements when they didn’t intend to renew the head coach after 2013.
“Mr. Gabbard and I decided last week that one year from now, in 2013, we were not going to extend the contract at all, nor would we extend the contract the year after that,” Weaver said.
“Because we have three vacancies now on our staff, it made all the sense in the world to move forward and change that direction of our program and hire a new staff that’s going to be here rather than bring in some staff that are here for possibly a year.”
The search for Greenberg’s replacement will begin immediately, something that will have a vital impact on whether or not current players elect to remain within the program.
“I’m not ruling out (leaving),” said senior point guard Erick Green. “ I’m just going to go in there and see what (the new coach) is about. They’re going to hire a great coaching staff. I’m going to go in there, give him a shot, see what he has to say. If we fit each other’s systems, fine.”
Gabbard sat alongside Weaver at the press conference. The two also met with the team beforehand to discuss the future of the program.
“We met with the team and promised them the kind of coaching support that they’re entitled to,” Gabbard said.
“We’re looking forward to them continuing to work very hard this summer to prepare themselves for the next
“I stressed to them to keep their academics in order, stay eligible, work very hard and stay in shape. I think they bought in on that, and we look forward to the
Green — who played for Greenberg for three years — was upset to see his head coach fired.
“He was a good guy,” Green said. “He was intense. Everybody saw the side of him where he was yelling and doing crazy things. But he cared about, not only us on the court, but off the court with our families and how we interacted with people.
“I’ve got nothing bad to say about him. He was a great guy. It sucks to see him leave and move on.”
Weaver’s focus now turns to the future of the program. Several names have been floated out as possibilities, including VCU’s Shaka Smart, while other names have already contacted Weaver about the opening.
“I happen to believe that we’ll have a tremendous amount of interest in our position because of the fact that we’re in the ACC, because of the fact that we have an outstanding team coming back, and because of the fact that we have an outstanding new basketball practice facility,” Weaver said. “I have heard from some of the bigger names in the business about potential coaches.”
The coaching search, which Weaver said would begin today, will not include a search firm. Gabbard said there has been no contact with the 2012 recruits Marshall Wood and Montrezl Harrell, nor has any current player requested a transfer.
Weaver, who has hired Ricky Stokes and Greenberg since he arrived in Blacksburg in 1997, said he will look far and wide for the next face of the men’s basketball program.
“I am not going to rule out the possibility of an assistant coach, I’m not going to rule out the possibility of a young, inexperienced head coach, nor am I going to rule out the possibility of a person who has a good deal of head coaching experience,” Weaver said.
“I’ve always believed you have to hire the right person at the (right) moment in time, and when we find that combination, I feel certain that Mr. Gabbard and I will know it.”