I have a very simple problem with the Virginia Tech basketball program that I was willing to let sleep for the remainder of this offseason. However, with the firing of Dino Gaudio at Wake Forest, I feel the need to take a closer look at the Hokies in relation to the rest of the ACC.
With both Al Skinner and Gaudio losing their jobs on the ACC chopping block in the last couple of weeks, the question that I had on March 26th has gained some more steam...
Why did the Hokies extend Seth Greenberg?
Before I get into my questioning of Athletic Director Jim Weaver, I first would like to extend my opinion towards Coach Greenberg in its entirety. I appreciate the work Greenberg has done in Blacksburg, whether it be making the Virginia Tech basketball program a respectable entity, his recruiting, public relations, etc. He has sold us Hokies his name brand and gotten the wheels turning on giving Hokie Basketball an identity. However, after three consecutive years of missing the NCAA tournament (the last two being brutally painful), and with most signs pointing to his terrible non-conference scheduling as the culprit, there seems to be a problem. Only NC State and UVA have missed the NCAA tournament in as many or more consecutive years in the ACC since the Hokies have danced. I'm not debating whether or not Seth Greenberg is the man for the job, that is another battle for another day. What I am debating is if there was any real reason to extend Greenberg with the full body of work that he has put together.
To put the discussion in perspective, lets look at Dino Gaudio's three year coaching career at Wake Forest. In the years since Skip Prosser passed away, Gaudiotook Wake to two NCAA tournaments as well as finishing with a 61-31 record overall and a 23-16 record within the ACC in that time. Although many Wake Forest fans believe the team underachieved with Dino at the helm, his record is still fairly decent.
Another ACC coach to be canned recently was Boston College's Al Skinner. If you choose to chalk his removal up to the insanity that is the Boston College Athletic Director, I would be right there with you. Whatever personal vendetta Gene DeFilippo had with Skinner is anyone's guess, but his numbers and reputation hardly deserved a pink slip in my opinion. Skinner went 247-165 in his time at Boston College, and in the five years since joining the ACC, he was only 40-40 BUT he did have 3 NCAA tournament appearances in that time.
In comparison with Seth Greenberg's 132-92 (117-79 since joining the ACC) record at Virginia Tech, including a 48-48 record in six years of ACC play and one NCAA tournament appearance, something doesn't seem to compute to me. I understand that Gaudioand Skinner both inherited programs that have had basketball success in the past, but that brings me to the most important part of my argument against Greenberg's extension. Virginia Tech is a football school now, it will be a football school 20 years from now, and maybe even forever. All Hokie fans understand this fact. However, I don't feel that the school's football success and lack of basketball success in the past should have any bearing on where we sit today. Today, the Hokies belong to a basketball conference in the ACC (not the Metro or the Atlantic Ten), and in accordance with that, they should act like basketball success is measured in NCAA tournament appearances and not decent records with very little substance behind them.
I'm not saying that Seth Greenberg should be fired and I'm not saying that Virginia Tech should become the UCLA basketball program. All I'm asking for is some accountability from Jim Weaver and the Athletic Department in reference to as why Greenberg deserved an extension. Because the last time I checked, NIT appearances, poor non-conference scheduling and underachieving weren't invitations to a safe and secure pay day. I think as Hokies, it is essential that we understand that this is no longer the Virginia Tech Basketball program of old. In turning the page, we must demand more from the team than the comfortable confines of mediocrity. The time for the next step is now. Extending Seth Greenberg's contract didn't make that step any shorter.