By Mike Stoller / JointMedia News Service (JNS) ~
He’s already been inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, but don’t tell Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Seth Greenberg that his Jewish sports legacy is complete.
Greenberg was recently appointed as head coach for the U.S. Maccabiah Games men’s basketball team. The 19th Maccabiah Games will be held in Israel in July 2013, when the U.S. hoops team hopes to duplicate the 2009 squad’s feat of winning the gold medal. That team was led by then University of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl.
Now the men’s basketball coach at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), the 45-year-old Greenberg’s teams have defeated perennial college basketball powerhouse Duke University four times.
The two-time Atlantic Coach Conference Coach of the Year said earning the right to coach the U.S. Maccabiah squad ranks among the top thrills of his 35-year career, during which he has amassed almost 400 wins as a college head coach at Virginia Tech, South Florida and Long Beach State.
“It’s pretty exciting representing your faith and country at the same time and have the US as the name on your chest and have that shared experience,” Greenberg, who served as an assistant coach at the Maccabiah Games in 1989 and called the experience “life-altering,” said in a telephone interview with JNS.
The volunteer Maccabiah coaching position is “something very special,” Greenberg said.
“It’s a great honor to come from a number of terrific candidates and coming off [the team] winning the gold medal,” he said. “The success I’ve had at very high level has given me the opportunity to coach this team.”
Inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Dix Hills, N.Y., in April 2010, Greenberg joined the company of such luminaries as Red Auerbach, Red Holtzman, and Sandy Koufax.
Greenberg said he expects his brother Brad, the one-time general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers who drafted future superstar Alan Iverson, to be one of his assistant coaches for the Maccabiah team. Brad Greenberg is now coaching a professional basketball team in Venezuela.
Seth Greenberg said the U.S. Maccabiah coaching staff plans to hold two tryouts in August for college players, one in New Jersey and the other in California.
“We’re putting together the roster, collecting names,” Greenberg said. “We’re looking for the best players we can find, tough and skilled players all over the United States.”