So, does anybody really care that Seth Greenberg isn’t here anymore?
Greenberg is out as the men’s head basketball coach, resigning to take the same position at Virginia Tech.
No NCAA Tournament appearances, two first-round losses in the NIT and a sub-.500 record in Conference USA play garnered him double his salary and no more questions about making the Big Dance.
Greenberg was often ridiculed for failing to deliver an NCAA Tourney appearance during the Altron Jackson and B.B. Waldon era, but he won’t hear those complaints in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech has had one winning season in the past six years, with an 11-18 record in 2002-03, which gives Greenberg some time before the same questions about the lack of postseason games come back to haunt him.
So the search to replace Greenberg is on, sort of.
Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon has named only two candidates so far to replace Greenberg as the next coach of the Bulls: USF assistant David Zimroth and Florida assistant Anthony Grant. Several other names have been rumored, including Holy Cross’ Ralph Willard, Butler’s Todd Lickliter and Kent State’s Jim Christian.
But one name comes to mind that hasn’t been mentioned. There is one guy who’s been left off the radar, a person that regularly fulfilled the dreams of loyal Bulls’ fans.
He did what we asked of Greenberg during his six-year tenure five times in the same span: sent his team to the NCAA Tournament.
If there is one coach out there who should be rumored in all this speculation, it’s former UCLA coach Steve Lavin.
Lavin was fired after the regular season when UCLA missed the tourney for the first time in his six years. Most people believe Lavin was on his way out even if the Bruins made a run in the Pac-10 tourney and made the NCAA Tournament.
Why? Because Lavin didn’t get his team far enough in the tournament, not because he didn’t get there.
USF fans would drool over a Sweet 16 appearance. After six years of “we should haves,” they would faint if they saw the Bulls dancing at Rocky’s during Selection Sunday.
Forget the Sweet 16 for now. How about a No. 16 seed in the dance for starters?
And Lavin would fit right in with Conference USA’s big name coaches like Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Memphis’ John Calipari, Cincinnati’s Bob Huggins and Marquette’s Tom Crean, whose team is fresh off a Final Four appearance.
Lavin is the perfect choice.
Goodbye Greenbergopolis, and hello Lavin Land!
Lavin hasn’t been mentioned, and he probably won’t. Even though he said he wouldn’t mind coaching on the East Coast, we won’t get him. I’m sure Selmon and Lavin crossed paths at the Final Four in New Orleans during the weekend, but they probably didn’t talk.
The issue with USF athletics isn’t success because Lavin’s success speaks for itself. The issue with USF athletics is money because Selmon and Genshaft Inc. probably won’t fork over the amount needed to land a high-profile coach.
USF has pretty shallow pockets when it comes to coaches’ salaries. Just look at the problems Jim Leavitt faced when trying to get the money he deserved.
Leavitt took a team that didn’t even have lights on its practice field its first season and gained national recognition in six seasons (USF got votes in the AP and ESPN Top 25 last season), narrowly missing a bowl bid mostly due to non-conference affiliation. Yet, he still ranks in the middle of the conference in pay.
If it weren’t for his dedication and desire to construct USF football into another state powerhouse, USF would be facing him Week 1 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The bottom line is USF will get what it pays for.
So instead of Lavin Land, Bulls fans are probably looking at Z-Town or Grantsville.
Let’s just hope one of those guys can show the Bulls how to dance.
Contact Adam Adkins at firstname.lastname@example.org