Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Basketball Nation [Print without images]

Monday, April 23, 2012
Greenberg suddenly out at Virginia Tech

By Eamonn Brennan


Well, you don't see that every day.

That was the summary immediate judgement borne of Monday's big news, when Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg was fired after nine seasons at the school. This was not a traditional axing; surprise characterized every minute of the proceedings.

Why? Because even Greenberg himself didn't see it coming. As ESPN's Andy Katz reported Monday afternoon:
Greenberg had told ESPN.com at 1 p.m. ET on Monday that he had no idea what the purpose of the news conference was and said he assumed it could have something to do with Weaver. Greenberg said he currently was hosting a recruit and had no reason to believe that he was about to lose his job.

Most coach firings take the form of polite "resignations." The school releases a statement thanking the coach, the coach releases his own statement thanking the school, everyone puts on a happy face, the circle of coaching life begins anew. That's not what happened here. Greenberg didn't know his fate until just a couple of hours before the news conference. Frankly, some members of the media -- including reporters at the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., which broke the story Monday afternoon -- may have even known before Greenberg. And so a man perhaps most famous for falling just short of the NCAA tournament -- Greenberg went to just one in his nine years at Virginia Tech, but came close a handful of times in recent seasons -- was late to his own coaching funeral.

Seriously: You really don't see that every day.

For Greenberg, the move wasn't just a sudden one. It was also poorly timed. At this point in the college coaching calendar, there are few remaining jobs available. With minimal exceptions, the coaching carousel has all but come to a halt. Finding a new job will not be easy.

What does it mean for Virginia Tech? In the interim, it means rebuilding a program almost from the ground up. Weaver told the media the recent en masse defections of Hokies assistant coaches was a primary reason for the timing of the decision, and so the athletic director and Virginia Tech brass will have to work on filling those positions, and a head coaching spot, from the ground up.

It won't be easy. The school will have to go about selling a new direction for the program even after it just unceremoniously, abruptly and arguably rudely fired its former coach. That does not an attractive workplace environment make. But after a sudden and unexpected news conference, this is the current journey of Virginia Tech Hokies men's basketball. Next stop: who knows?