Seth Greenberg Fired: Virginia Tech Makes Curious Decision

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Seth Greenberg
Virginia Tech may eventually regret its decision to dump Seth Greenberg.

Virginia Tech fired basketball coach Seth Greenberg on Monday after deciding it wasn't worth extending his contract in the future in lieu of multiple assistants leaving the program in the off-season.

In a hastily called news conference, Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said he made the decision to dismiss Greenberg last week, but didn't inform him of his decision until after the news conference had already been announced.

Greenberg, 170-123 in nine seasons at Virginia Tech, had recently lost three of his assistant coaches -- Rob Ehsan and Jared Haase to UAB and James Johnson to Clemson -- but the timing of the decision is still peculiar. Weaver admitted that Greenberg, who was hosting a recruit on campus on Monday, was shocked by the news, as was much of the public.

Weaver noted that he didn't like the way things were unfolding with assistants leaving and that the basketball program didn't have the same family atmosphere as some of the other programs within the Virginia Tech athletic department. He insisted it wasn't the lack of NCAA Tournament berths -- only one in nine years -- that ultimately doomed Greenberg.

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 something to do with me wanting to change the direction and the leadership of the program.

Some have speculated that Greenberg wasn't particularly well-liked within the athletic department or the locker room, which was somewhat confirmed by former player Jeff Allen. Allen took to Twitter to share that Greenberg's firing was a long time coming.

Man I wish I was at tech 4 this news don't want to get my hopes up but if it's wat I this it is shuda happen a long time ago.

He later tweeted that he wished Greenberg had not been his coach during his time at Virginia Tech and that the players didn't like him as a coach.

That along with the assistants jumping ship -- a fourth assistant, John Richardson, was also expected to leave -- seem to be the final straw for Greenberg, but the timing is still a major issue. Many of the top possible replacements have already been swooped up by other schools, even though Weaver claims he's already been in contact with some potential big-name replacements.

Virginia Tech isn't a particularly attractive school, even if it is located in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Blacksburg, Va., university has invested heavily in its successful football program under Frank Beamer, but hasn't significantly opened up the coffers for the basketball program.

The school doesn't have a successful basketball tradition nor is it located in a fertile recruiting ground. Greenberg didn't record as many NCAA Tournament appearances as some would have liked, but still did a good job in a tough situation. It will take the right kind of coach not named Shaka Smart -- anyone that thinks he's jumping ship for Virginia Tech is insane -- to achieve consistent NCAA Tournament berths in Virginia Tech.

One name bandied about as a potential replacement is Old Dominion coach Blaine Taylor, who has been successful at recruiting in the Tidewater area. Taylor would be a great hire given the circumstances of a late-April coaching change, but it's unclear whether he'd even be interested in making the jump to Virginia Tech.

The Hokies might eventually land a quality coach -- Weaver says the search begins on Tuesday -- but the timing couldn't be more curious. It also wouldn't shock anyone if the administration longed for Greenberg's consistent winning ways in a few years after learning just how difficult it is to have considerable success at one of the ACC's least attractive jobs.

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