Having already seen one coach leave this summer to assume the head coaching position at another school, it would have made sense for USF men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg to be distressed at the news assistant coach Clyde Vaughan was considering leaving for a position at Southern California.
But according to Greenberg, that was not the case.
“We wanted (Vaughan) to pursue and get a feel for other opportunities and to get a better understanding for what’s out there,” Greenberg said. “I want what’s best for Clyde and if he had decided to (pursue other opportunities), I would have been behind him 110 percent.”
But that all became a moot point when Vaughan decided last week not to follow Mike Madagan, who left USF for the head coaching job at St. Leo, and to return for his third season on the Bulls’ sidelines.
“I sat down and thought about it,” Vaughan said. “And I decided this was the best thing for my son (C.J., 6) and myself. I like the direction this team is going in and I want to be a part of it.”
Vaughan interviewed two weeks ago for one of two vacant assistant coaching positions at Southern California. Along with former Michigan assistant Kurtis Townsend, Vaughan was considered one of two favorites to replace USC assistants Silvey Dominguez and Dave Miller. Vaughan, who coached at Long Beach State under Greenberg, had developed a relationship with USC coach Henry Bibby while recruiting against him.
“I coached at Long Beach for seven years, which is about 20 minutes away (from USC),” Vaughan said. “And (Bibby) and I would sometimes have lunch or dinner and just sit down and talk.”
Bibby even joked to Vaughan, while still at Long Beach State, that he would love to one day hire Vaughan. Their relationship brought about speculation Vaughan might be leaving USF to coach for Bibby. Guard Jimmy Baxter said he was surprised when he heard Vaughan was considering leaving.
“It was shocking to me,” he said.
“He’s an excellent coach and has a special way of coaching that makes players understand him.”
Greenberg said he “felt family and the relationships Clyde’s developed” were the main reasons for Vaughan deciding to remain at USF. Greenberg, who was an assistant at Pittsburgh when Vaughan was the Panthers’ star player in the early 80s, “has known Vaughan since (Vaughan) was 14 years old.” Vaughan then served as an assistant at Long Beach State under Greenberg for four years before reuniting with Greenberg in 1999 at USF.
“I have watched his growth and development, first from a terrific player, then to a coach and now as a father,” Greenberg said.
According to Vaughan, the bond formed between himself and Greenberg extends beyond the normal relationship shared by co-workers and is not confined to the parameters of the basketball court.
“We don’t have the typical head coach, assistant coach relationship,” Vaughan said. “I probably know him better than anyone other than his wife.”
Other than the personal ties Vaughan has developed here at USF, he said he would like to remain next year in order to help the Bulls return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.
“I believe this will be our year,” he said.
“We have good maturity, more talent and more veteran leadership this season.”