Saturday, April 04, 2009
Plan to save Leitao short-circuited in the end
Nothing to Greenberg-to-Arizona buzz
Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.
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- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
One of the untold stories about Virginia's coaching search - or, at least, untold by me - concerns Tulane University coach Dave Dickerson.
At one point, there was some thought that Dickerson, an assistant at Radford in the middle 1990s, might be coming to Virginia.
Here's the kicker: If Dickerson had come to Virginia, the plan was for him to join the staff of former head coach Dave Leitao. Dickerson would have been assistant.
From everything I've heard, Leitao was OK with the plan. Remember, less than three weeks ago, Leitao was still the coach.
It wasn't until Virginia determined that it couldn't get Dickerson or one or two other assistants with a similar profile that it decided to cut ties with Leitao.
If you don't think that was the plan, consider what happened when ex-Washington State head coach Tony Bennett got the Virginia job. His first hire was an active Division I head coach, Liberty's Ritchie McKay.
I never thought that Virginia could get Dickerson, who has been the head coach at Tulane for five years, unless he sensed that he lacked security in New Orleans. (Dickerson played at Maryland and was a Terps' assistant when they won the NCAA title in 2002).
A 14-17 record this year gave Dickerson a 60-62 record as Tulane head coach, but the bio on the Green Wave's athletic website credits him with the program's resurgence after posting four losing records in the previous five seasons.
If Dickerson ever gave Virginia a hint that he might agree to joining Leitao as an assistant, that plan fell apart when it became increasingly apparent that a second straight losing season in 2009-2010 would cost his Leitao his job.
My understanding is that Virginia had hoped to hire two high-powered assistants to resurrect the Leitao regime and was prepared to offer multiyear contracts to make that a reality.
In the end, it just didn't make sense for a Dickerson to leave a Division I head-coaching job of his own volition when it was possible he would be out of a job one year later, no matter how big a parachute UVa gave him.
WHAT MAKES ME WONDER is whether Virginia had sent out feelers to see if McKay would have been willing to come to Charlottesville to assist Leitao.
McKay and Bennett had a relationship dating back to their days on the West Coast. McKay can see that the Bennett staff has a future, but what stands about his decision is that he hasn't been averse to moving.
He was at Bradley for two years as an assistant, at Washington for two years as an assistant, at Portland State for two years as a head coach, at Oregon State for two years as a head coach, at New Mexico for five years as head coach and at Liberty for the past two seasons.
You can't blame McKay for leaving New Mexico, where he was fired after five seasons, including a 26-7 season that took him to the NCAA Tournament in 2005. He is an Indianapolis native who went to high school in Mesa, Ariz., and played at Seattle Pacific.
McKay probably has developed some Virginia contacts during his two seasons at Liberty, but if the Cavaliers feel Bennett needs some in-state recruiting ties in his first East Coast coaching tenure, a case could be made for another Virginian.
VIRGINIA TECH COACH Seth Greenberg was in Windsor, Ontario, visiting with other coaches in town for the Final Four in nearby Detroit when he was interrupted by a flurry of text messages Friday night concerning the opening at Arizona.
Greenberg once served as head coach at Long Beach State and was mentioned by Orange County Register columnist Mark Whicker for the opening that would have developed at Southern Cal if Trojans' head coach Tim Floyd had left for Arizona.
Greenberg headed a Whicker list that included Randy Bennett, Jamie Dixon and Dan Monson.
OK, I know that Dixon is at Pitt and I've heard of Monson, but not since Minnesota. As for Bennett, I had no clue until I just looked him up. He's the coach for NCAA Tournament wannabe St. Mary's (and Monson is now at Long Beach State).
Floyd ended up staying at SC, so media outlets in Arizona started accumulating names of possible candidates for the Wildcats' job and somehow Greenberg's name was transferred from one list to another.
Far be it from me to stir something up, but when I texted Greenberg and said Jerry Colangelo had called our office and asked about his whereabouts, he'd had enough. "I will be coach at vt for long time," he texted me, then added in a second text that Tech athletic director Jim Weaver knew he had not spoken to Arizona.
I mentioned Colangelo because he's the most prominent Arizona basketball name I know and, as it turns out, he was at the same coaches' dinner as Greenberg.