Greenberg leaves USF

USF men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg left the sunny weather of Tampa for Blacksburg, Va. — or rather a little more than $400,000.

Greenberg was announced as the new head coach at Virginia Tech Thursday.

Greenberg, who was hired in 1996 on the same date he left the Bulls, posted a 108-100 record while at the helm for the Bulls and led the team to the first round of the NIT in 2000 and 2002.

Greenberg, however, failed to win against ranked teams, posting a 0-20 record against the nation’s top 25.

“Over the years, he had a lot of quality wins, including wins over Pittsburgh and California, two wins over Ohio State (and) two wins over Texas,” Virginia Tech Athletic Director Jim Weaver said. “He has competed at the highest level, and I thought that was important at Virginia Tech.”

Greenberg recently received a contract extension to stay at USF through the 2005-06 season and received a base salary of $165,000.

At Virginia Tech, he will receive an annual salary package of $429,064, including a base salary of $158,016 and a retention incentive for television and radio shows of $255,000.

The package also includes a country club membership and a vehicle allowance. It does not include, however, shoe contracts or profits from summer camps.

“When I look at Virginia Tech, I look at a school which is a vehicle in the Big East to propel this program to a national level,” Greenberg said. “The decision to come here was an easy one.”

Despite the large salary increase, Greenberg left the Bulls and Conference USA for the highly competitive Big East.

Greenberg’s new conference features four teams (Syracuse, Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame) that were in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and the two finalists in Thursday’s NIT Tournament (Georgetown and St. John’s).

After growing up in Plainview, N.Y., Greenberg watched many games in Madison Square Garden, the home of St. John’s University.

“I grew up in New York when I was about this high,” Greenberg said. “I used to get on a train in Plainview and go to Madison Square Garden, and watch college doubleheaders on Thursday night with my father.

“There was no such thing as the Big East, just doubleheaders or the Holiday Festival or the NIT. Coaching in the Big East has always been something that really is a goal of mine, that I had a desire to do.”

The team Greenberg inherits was 4-12 in the Big East and finished last under former coach Ricky Stokes this season.

“This has been a thorough search, and I have talked to more people in the last month about potential basketball coaching candidates than I talked to in a long time,” Weaver said. “I believe we have a program coach and a person who knows how to do it at the highest level.”

The hiring of Greenberg came quickly, as he was called for the job Wednesday and flew up for the interview that night, taking a tour of the university at 12:30 Thursday morning before taking the job.

“They called me yesterday and asked me for permission to visit with Coach Greenberg,” said USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon. “That was my alertness, and if someone was seeking their services, we would not deny our staff.

“It’s a compliment to Coach Greenberg that other schools are interested in his services.”