Seth Greenberg is someone that knows college basketball and the ACC conference.
Greenberg was a college head coach for 22 years with stops at Long Beach State (1990-1996), South Florida (1996-2003) and Virginia Tech (2003-2012). Prior to being a head coach, he was an assistant for 12 years including a three year stop at Pitt.
Since his last job at Virginia Tech, the two-time ACC Coach of the Year has been one of the major voices at ESPN for their college basketball coverage.
This morning, Pittsburgh Sports Now had the chance to talk with Greenberg to get this thoughts on the Pitt opening and the direction of the search.
PSN: What is your overall opinion of the Pitt job and the attractiveness of it?
Seth Greenberg: I think it’s a very attractive job but they need to do some things. They need to put some money into The Pete and get it back up to speed. Look, the Pitt job changed when they moved to the ACC. The geographic footprint changed from when they focused on New York, New Jersey, Philly, Washington D.C. and the Northeastern seaboard. You still have to recruit that area but you have to be able to recruit the geographic footprint of your conference meaning you have to be able to get into North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia. That’s just the way it is. To me, what Pitt’s always been able to do is evaluate up and find winning players. The ACC isn’t tougher than the old Big East so it’s about evaluating your geographic footprint, plant seeds and get old and that’s really important. Pitt isn’t a one and done program. They’ve got to do what Notre Dame does, what most schools do, what Virginia Tech is doing and what I did and that’s get old and stay old.
PSN: Does the importance of recruiting the ACC geographic footprint have an impact on the coach Pitt is looking to hire?
Seth Greenberg: He needs to understand the business of college basketball. Needs to have someone that has contacts in the geographic footprints. You need to still be able to recruit New York though but you just can’t have them play in The Garden or against Seton Hall or St. John’s. It’s definitely harder to recruit there but it isn’t impossible. Recruiting is all about relationships so you have to have a staff that has the relationships and contacts to recruit. Recruiting is about who’s recruiting for you when you’re not there. But it’s so important to be able to recruit in your geographic footprint because it gives the kids opportunities to come home.
PSN: Being a former head coach, will the firing of Kevin Stallings after just two years and now with Pitt trying to get out of paying his entire buyout, will that cause candidates to look unfavorably on the job?
Seth Greenberg: I think if a candidate thinks its a good job, he’ll look past that stuff. If they have questions and concerns about that, then they won’t look past it. It’s really that simple. That seems to be things that schools are doing now but in the end, contracts are contracts. That will be decided someplace outside the realm of the athletic department and will be decided by attorneys and negotiations. If someone thinks that’s a good job and that they can win there, that won’t have an impact. That school has a new AD and she has a new vision, you’re going to be on the same page as her. She’ll be attached at the hip with you in a lot of ways. The biggest thing they have to determine is, where are we, who are we in the ACC and how can we win. That’s the most important thing when you take over a job like that.
PSN: Many names are being thrown around as candidates, who are some coaches that you believe would be good fits for the Pitt job?
Seth Greenberg: I have a lot of friends in the business and it would be really hard for me to single anyone out, I’m just not comfortable doing that. But I think the names that they’re talking about are good. I mean, quite honestly, I think if they could sort out the situation in Arizona, I would go after Sean Miller, if they can sort through that. However, that’s going to take time and I’m not sure that they’re willing to take that risk. I’m sure they have a pool of people, whether it’s Tom Crean or [Dan] Hurley or Thad [Matta]. I’m sure they’ll find someone good but the biggest thing for everyone to realize is that it’s a process. You need to learn to lose before you learn to win. You gotta make sure that your core beliefs are there and that you get guys that can play for you and that can win in that league.