Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening. Wherever you are, it’s always a great day to be a Hokie – and an Atlantic Coast Conference representative. Always keep that thought in mind.
So, there’s been a lot of talk these days about the status of Seth Greenberg’s job. For example:
You heard lots of noise from the Virginia Tech fan base before the game with Duke. So much so, that Virginia Tech’s Athletic Director, Jim Weaver, said to the media that it is not even a topic
One of the @GobblerCountry
authors has a blog post
called the definitive case for Seth Greenberg being Virginia Tech’s coach. It’s very well thought out.
also has a post
at Hokies N’ Hoos on Seth’s tenure at Virginia Tech. Specifically, he compares Greenberg’s tenure with former head coach, Charlie Moir. It’s a great read.
I’ve also talked about Seth’s status at @TalkinACCSports
. You can see that post here
at All Sports Discussion.
I’m not going to get into all these posts, but you can see that there is considerable debate here – a bunch of opinions on both sides of the house.
What I will tell you is that Seth Greenberg is a high character guy. Last Saturday, several of the guys from the men’s basketball team – guys like @Craines4
were helping out with the Special Olympics in Blacksburg.
Today, I’m sure many of you read the George Dohrmann investigative journalism piece from Sports Illustrated – CNNSI
on the state of the UCLA men’s basketball program. It’s the most damning piece I have read in a long time. Here are a few quotes from the story
Fistfights broke out among teammates. Several players routinely used alcohol and drugs, sometimes before practice. One player intentionally injured teammates but received no punishment.
Three members of the team, not all of them freshmen, ignored Howland's orders and attended a giant rave at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. "We did what you do at a rave: We took Ecstasy," says one of the players. The trio did not get back to Westwood until between 4 and 5 a.m. and barely slept before arriving at Pauley Pavilion for an 8 a.m. practice. The players bragged about their night to teammates and commented on how they were still feeling the effects of the Ecstasy.
Once, Nelson got tangled up with forward James Keefe while going for a rebound. Keefe was playing with a surgically repaired left shoulder, and Nelson pulled down suddenly on Keefe's left arm. That reinjured Keefe's shoulder, and he missed several weeks. Later in the season Nelson hacked walk-on Alex Schrempf, the son of former NBA player Detlef Schrempf, from behind on a breakaway, knocking Schrempf to the ground. The back injury Schrempf suffered sidelined him for months. In another workout Nelson threw an elbow at Lane after the whistle, injuring Lane's ribs.
Walk-on Tyler Trapani was another Nelson victim. After Trapani took a charge that negated a Nelson dunk, Nelson went out of his way to step on Trapani's chest as he lay on the ground. Trapani is John Wooden's great-grandson. (Nelson confirmed all these incidents to SI and expressed his regret, saying, "On all that stuff, I have no trouble admitting that I lost control of my emotions sometimes. I take responsibility for my actions. I'm really just trying to learn from the mistakes I made on all levels.")
After each of the incidents, Howland looked the other way. One team member says he asked Howland after a practice why he wasn't punishing Nelson, to which he said Howland responded, "He's producing."
But at what cost? Nelson was hardly the player around whom to build a team. He was a classic bully, targeting teammates who weren't as athletically gifted as he and tormenting the support staff. At the end of practice, he would punt balls high up into the stands at Pauley Pavilion, turn to the student managers and say, "Fetch." Nelson frequently talked back to the assistant coaches. When they told him to stop, he would remark, "That's how Coach Howland talks to you."
Yeesh – that’s called lack of institutional control. Really.
I heard about the story early this afternoon on Twitter. After you read one of these investigative journalism pieces, you wonder whether someone will have a job. We’re talking about a coach who was abusive to his players, coaches, and staff. We’re also talking about a coach who left his players unchecked – he permitted his players to abuse other players – and they partied like it was 1999 every night.
So, today on Twitter, I asked, does Ben Howland have job. You’ll be interested in the response I got… see that below:
No – this is not the standard we have at Virginia Tech – I will take several years of mediocrity – heck, I’ll go to the NIT 7-8 years and have a clean program before I take Ben Howland as my coach. And that’s all I have to say on this issue. Thanks.