Seth Greenberg made a guest appearance on the Lefty Dreisell Show, which is featured on 102.1 'The Game' out of Virginia Beach recently. He was asked about when the Hokies and Old Dominion Monarchs would matchup again in the regular season.
The exchange went as such:
Host: Before I let you go, a lot of people ask me this all the time during our weekday show: When is Virginia Tech and ODU going to hook up again with a little series, basketball-wise?Seth: It probably won't happen.
Host: Not gonna happen?Seth: We're scheduling in the best interest of Virginia Tech and what we need to do for our basketball program. We're going to play games that we think can help us grow our brand. Games that will televised on national television and that's -- it is what it is.Host: Yeah, it's not really going to happen. And I try to tell people thisall the time, it's not a ...Seth: I'm really happy I came on Lefty's show without Lefty and you threw that curveball at me.Host: Well, no. I'm just saying is I get asked that all the time and I try to tell people ...Seth: Well that's good. That's not my problem.[Blaine Taylor Interview]Host: So what do you think about [Greenberg's comments], coach?Taylor: Well, you know ... I don't ever want to tell people how they should do their jobs or what they should do and I'd like to think that ... one opinion I had when I first got here was I said, "You know, if we could be one of the best teams in the state or the best team in the state, we could have a really good program. And that's one of the things we've aspired to do. So, you know -- one, I'd like to think that the teams that at least talk like they want to be some of the better teams in the state would open themselves up to playing some of the best teams in the state. We've won more games in the state of Virginia than anybody in Virginia the last half-dozen years. And we had a good series with Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, what happens when one team kind of gets the best of the series, some times the other team says, "Hey, there's some other people to play and some other things we want to do." You know, I get along with Seth just fine. He can do his business the way he wants. If he doesn't want to play, I can't make him, but I do think the fact we won some games in the series is something that goes into it, obviously.
There are a couple of things about the Greenberg that could certainly leave a sour taste in Tech fans' mouths. First of all, when a coach goes on a radio show (especially in the Commonwealth), it would be in his best interest to act professionally. That's not really how Greenberg comes off in that exchange. In fact, he sounds like a self-righteous coach in the mold of Coach K, despite the fact he has no reason to act that way.
If you listen to the interview, you can tell that Taylor handles himself much better. Granted, Taylor probably has more familiarity with the show and the hosts, it still doesn't diminish his professionalism. If a recruit, or his family heard those two exchanges, which coach would merit their kid's talent for four years? In one of the most talent-rich parts of the state, appearances like the one on Lefty's show can do wonders for recruiting. Greenberg was thrown a 'curveball' and in more ways than one, he swung and missed.
Secondly, one could make the argument that ODU actually is the best program in Virginia. And, if the argument was made it would be in competition with a couple schools not named Virginia Tech. Tech's basketball program has not been a hotbed of success and that is what it is. But, one may have thought that the Hokies were Texas and ODU was Sam Houston State judging by that radio clip. ODU has been to three NCAA tournaments in the last nine years, from one of the toughest mid-major conferences in the NCAA. As many of you know, Tech has been to one.
Not only is the discrepancy of tournament appearances of note, so is the scheduling the two teams have done. Just last year alone, the Monarchs played Missouri, Mississippi State, Dayton, Richmond and Georgetown. In fact, they beat Georgetown on the road last season. Taylor and his Monarchs have no fear and it has helped them in the long run. It's ironic that playing ODU isn't in the 'best interest' of Tech's program, yet playing them last year may have been enough to get them in the tournament....Or the year before....
Another interesting aspect of Greenberg's excuse is that the goal is to 'grow our brand'. Believe it or not, the knock on the coach is that he's too interested in public relations and not enough on the X's and O's. Grow our brand? What brand? The only brand Virginia Tech basketball has to fans across the country is the team who almost makes the NCAA tournament. And when they don't, their coach goes on every possible show and whines about it. Well, except Lefty's show now.
Also, it's problematic that he points to national television as the sole purpose of their scheduling. This excuse is about as weak as their scheduling has been in the past. An early season matchup of Old Dominion and Virginia Tech would probably grab a spot on ESPN 2 or at least ESPNU. And, it would probably be ODU's recent success that would get it on one of those stations.
It's a shame that the Hokies don't use the great mid-major basketball in the state to their advantage. George Mason, Old Dominion, Richmond, and VCU always field strong teams, while William & Mary and JMU are improving as well. Even with the talent in the state, the Hokies have stuck to playing state schools like VMI and Radford. It doesn't matter if the Hokies lose to one of those teams, but a nice in-state rivalry with one of them is in the fans best interest. Maybe the fear of losing to those teams is what drove Greenberg's adamant response.
That, or the fact he's 1-3 against Taylor.