The last time
searched for a basketball coach, no media outlet reported
as a possible candidate until the day before he was hired.
’s name didn’t surface at
three years ago until the very day he was announced.
So please understand that the names mentioned below as potential successors to Greenberg, fired Monday after nine seasons, may not include athletic director Jim Weaver’s eventual, or even first, choice. But no coaching search is complete without a list of logical and, perhaps, illogical candidates.
So here’s mine, in no particular order.
RICHMOND COACH CHRIS MOONEY:
advanced two rounds in the
, something the
have accomplished once, in 1967. Richmond stumbled to 16-16 this season, and Mooney’s seven-year record there is 128-103 -- his team also made the NCAAs in 2010.
A Princeton graduate, Mooney, 39, preaches the offensive principles – wide spacing, back cuts, patience -- that carry his alma mater name. He guided Air Force to an 18-12 record in his only season as the academy’s coach.
One potential hurdle: After
and others courted him in 2011, Mooney signed a 10-year contract. As a private school, Richmond is not required to reveal the deal’s terms, but the buyout could be pricey.
OLD DOMINION COACH BLAINE TAYLOR:
Universally regarded by his peers as a strategist. He’s 237-126 with four NCAA tournament appearances in 11 seasons on Hampton Boulevard. A former Stanford assistant under Mike Montgomery, the 54-year-old Taylor was 141-66 in seven years at his alma mater, Montana.
This would be an ironic hire, given that Greenberg irritated Taylor by not renewing the series between ODU and Tech. It would also be awkward, since Taylor just re-hired Hokies assistant John Richardson, who left Taylor’s staff two years ago for Tech.
MURRAY STATE COACH STEVE PROHM
: How much stock do you put in one wildly successful season? That’s the question here.
As a rookie head coach in 2011-12, Prohm guided the
to a 31-2 record and
title. They defeated
in the NCAA tournament before losing to
Prohm, 37, graduated from Alabama and is a former assistant at Southeastern Louisiana, Tulane and Murray State. So he’s never recruited at the
The Racers extended his contract through 2016 last month, but his base salary is only $300,000.
For what it’s worth, the last Murray State head coach Virginia Tech hired turned out pretty well. Fellow named Beamer.
MARSHALL COACH TOM HERRION:
In seven seasons as a head coach, five at the College of Charleston and the last two with the
, Herrion’s worst record is 17-11. His career mark is 123-64, and as a former assistant at
and Virginia under Pete Gillen, and at Pittsburgh with Jamie Dixon, he knows the high-major recruiting landscape.
But Charleston fired Herrion in 2006 despite an 80-38 record, and as
shows, the reasons mirror Greenberg’s issues at Virginia Tech.
I hesitate to even mention given the improbability, but Weaver should at least troll for college basketball’s hottest young coach. He took VCU to the 2011 Final Four and followed up with an NCAA tournament victory this season over
But even given the departure Monday of Rams athletic director Norwood Teague to
, two people close to Smart said Monday they’d be stunned if he were interested.
and Florida assistant, the 35-year-old Smart graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio. He’s 84-28 at VCU, makes $1.2 million in base salary and has seven years remaining on his contract.
Smart turned down
last year and, according to CBSSports.com, declined $2.5 million a year from
last month. I’d be surprised if Virginia Tech pays more than $1.5 million. You do the math.
WICHITA STATE GREGG MARSHALL:
He’s excelled at the so-called mid-major level, taking Winthrop to seven
tournaments in nine years, and Wichita State to one NCAA and an
championship in five seasons.
A graduate of Roanoke’s Cave Spring High, Marshall played at Randolph-Macon and attended grad school at Richmond, so he certainly knows the state. He’s 303-144 in 14 years, and this season the Shockers lost to VCU in the NCAA tournament.
Marshall declined overtures last season from N.C. State and this year from
. But like Herrion, Marshall, 49, carries a high-maintenance reputation.
DAVIDSON COACH BOB MCKILLOP:
I hadn’t thought of McKillop until reading
post on the Roanoke Times’ website. At 61, McKillop may be older than Weaver’s prototype, but he’s guided the Wildcats to a 426-271 record and six NCAA tournaments in 23 years.
Most famously, McKillop’s 2008 squad reached the Elite Eight.
, son of Hokies icon
, led that Davidson team to tournament conquests of Gonzaga, Georgetown and
. The Wildcats lost to eventual national champion Kansas in a regional final.
FORMER TECH ALL-AMERICAN DELL CURRY:
Stephen Curry tweeted Monday night that “Pops wants to coach.” In an aside to his brother, Seth, a guard at
, Stephen said, “maybe we would get that scholarship offer to VaTech.”
Indeed, Greenberg did not aggressively recruit either of the Currys, despite their maroon-and-orange pedigree. But family ties and
cred -- Dell played 16 pro seasons – aside, Weaver isn’t about to hire someone who’s never coached or recruited.
Curry, 47, is Tech’s No. 2 career scorer behind
NORTH CAROLINA ASSISTANT STEVE ROBINSON
: A Roanoke native and Radford graduate whose promising head-coaching career fizzled at
assisted Roy Williams at Kansas from 1988-95 before taking over
’s program. He coached the Golden Hurricane to a 46-18 record and two NCAA tournaments in as many years before succeeding Pat Kennedy at FSU.
reached the second round of the NCAAs in Robinson’s first season, but four consecutive losing years followed, prompting his dismissal with a 64-86 mark. Robinson then returned to Kansas under Williams and accompanied him to Carolina.
Might the past 10 seasons at ol’ Roy’s side, which include two national titles, have Robinson far more prepared to run a program? Would he be comfortable competing against Williams in the ACC? Might be worth asking.
HARVARD COACH TOMMY AMAKER:
What’s not to like about a former Duke All-American from Virginia who this past season led the
to its first NCAA tournament since 1946 and, by the way, coached
Well, prior to Harvard, where he’s 92-56 in five years, Amaker was fired at
. His Wolverines were 109-83 in six seasons, 43-53 in the
, and failed to make an NCAA tournament. In four years at
, Amaker was 68-55 and took the
to a Sweet 16.
Amaker, 46 and a Fairfax native, was the starting point guard on
’s first Final Four team, in 1986. He was an assistant coach on Duke’s 1991 and ’92 national championship squads.
Amaker interviewed for
’s vacancy last season before electing to remain at Harvard. So he’s at least willing to consider competing against Krzyzewski in the ACC. His wife, Stephanie, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a Harvard faculty member. Tough gig to leave.
DUKE ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH CHRIS COLLINS:
If anyone without big-whistle experience merits consideration, it’s Collins, a former Devils guard whose father, Doug, coaches the NBA’s
Since working under Amaker at Seton Hall for two Collins, 38, has spent the last 12 at Duke. He’s also played a key role for Krzyzewski with the U.S. Olympic team.
During a press conference prior to the NCAA tournament, when Chicago media considered Collins a potential candidate at Illinois, a reporter asked Krzyzewski about him.
“Chris is unbelievable,” Krzyzewski said. “Remember, Chris has been with me six years with the Olympic team. He does the scouts, and also when we break down working with our national team, on his end of the court he has the perimeter guys. He's got Kobe, Dwyane, Lebron, Deron (Williams), Chris (Paul), Jason (Kidd), and he's got to coach them. And he coaches them really well.
“So that level of experience and confidence, most coaches would never have that opportunity. Chris is a great basketball -- he's got a great basketball mind … just like his dad.”
I’m sure Weaver will vet other candidates, and remember, he didn’t target Greenberg in 2003 until primary targets Jeff Lebo (then at Chattanooga), Jim Baron (
), Ed DeChellis (East
(Dayton) declined his overtures.
The late date of this search is less than ideal, but Virginia Tech is among 12 ACC jobs and comes with supportive fans and a $21-million practice complex that opened two years ago. There will be no shortage of candidates.
Timetable? Weaver said he told the team his search could take five, 10 or 15 days, and his history indicates as much.
In 2003, Weaver fired Stokes on March 10 and introduced Greenberg on April 3. In 1999, Weaver fired Bobby Hussey on March 22 and introduced Stokes on March 24.
Let the sleuthing begin.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
Here’s a link to my