I am the sports fan who is never really satisfied with only the present. Whether it’s remembering the history, or predicting the future, either is more fascinating to me than what is happening right now.
So of course, I am already looking into the coaching carousel that will start to spin in the coming weeks, and as it begins to turn, there is the distinct possibility it could make a stop in Blacksburg along the way.
And so I speculate.
St. John’s is in the midst of its own dark age. Once an elite program in the Big East, the Red Storm have hidden in the dungeons of the conference for the better part of this decade.
In 2004, St. John’s hired Kansas assistant Norm Roberts to revive the program. In his first five seasons, his teams never finished better than 11th in the conference, and only had one winning season.
So far this season, the Johnnies are 15-14, 5-12 in the Big East. After several years of Roberts’ job being in limbo, this finally might be the year he is ousted.
Barring any miraculous run in the Big East Tournament, Roberts will be shown the door.
When he is, Seth Greenberg will be on the extremely short list of potential successors.
And he just might take the bait.
Though his career path hasn’t taken him anywhere near home, Greenberg is a Yankee at heart. Born and raised in Plainview, NY on Long Island, Greenberg graduated from New Jersey’s Farleigh Dickinson University in 1978.
While he has never indicated publicly he would even consider leaving Blacksburg for anywhere, it’s not far-fetched to think that he would jump at the chance to return to the Empire State.
Would it be a smart move? Maybe, maybe not. Virginia Tech has become a relevant program while St. John’s faces extinction in the meantime.
The reason the Hokies matter now is purely because of Greenberg. There is little to no tradition in Blacksburg, save for a couple NIT championships, but in the grand scheme of things, Greenberg’s tenure and the entrance into the ACC have brought Tech to another level.
Despite the two programs’ recent fortunes, a move from Tech to St. John’s would be a lateral move at worst.
In its history, St. John’s has made it to six elite eights and two final fours.
I would also argue that the Big East has supplanted the ACC as the premier league in college basketball. Even with 16 teams, no conference boasts as many elite teams as the Big East.
The Big East Tournament is now the best of its kind. For five days in Madison Square Garden, the tournament guarantees at least two or three games between top fifteen teams.
Recently the ACC Tournament has turned into a ho-hum affair in either the St. Petersburg Times forum or the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, where if you don’t face Duke or North Carolina, nobody really cares.
Greenberg has proven he can recruit at the highest level. He’s pulled in talent to Blacksburg that hardly anyone expected him to. He’s succeeded at three places that are far from national powers. Some of his biggest recruits in Blacksburg have come from inner cities. Baltimore/Washington D.C. and Philadelphia are the two developing pipelines Greenberg has developed at Tech.
At Saint John’s, he would have the streets of New York in his backyard to pick talent out of. The lack of nearby talent is one of the biggest problems the Red Storm have faced in recent years.
The timing might be perfect for the move. Key word: might. The Hokies return virtually all of their key players from this year’s team in 2010-11, setting up the season Greenberg dreamed of when he took the job.
However, Malcolm Delaney will certainly take a look at turning pro, and if he opts to leave school, it would knock Tech back to the middle of the pack next year.
This is far from a certainty. Hell, it doesn’t even qualify as a prediction. But Hokie fans, ye be warned of the Greenberg-to-Queens talk heating up should Norm Roberts be shown the door.