Seth Greenberg was a natural target for a St. John's basketball program in serious need of revival.
Given that comfortable fit, the issue became two-fold.
In Greenberg's mind, which is the better job?
More to the point, would Virginia Tech pay Greenberg what he considers fair market value?
The answers arrived Friday afternoon. Virginia Tech and Greenberg have renegotiated terms for the next four seasons and extended his contract for another two.
Although details won't be released for 10 to 14 days, the resolution feels right for both parties.
When the New York Post, the worldwide leader in salacious Tiger Woods gossip, first floated Greenberg as a potential St. John's candidate two-plus weeks ago during the ACC tournament, the hunch was that he would return to Virginia Tech. Nothing ever changed.
St. John's is not the national-caliber program of 25 years ago, and the Hokies are better-positioned to succeed next season and beyond. Greenberg and his family like Blacksburg, and Virginia Tech appeared willing to boost his comparatively low salary.
Absent incentive clauses, Greenberg was contracted to earn approximately $950,000 this season. That's among the ACC's lowest packages and well below the $1.6 million St. John's reportedly is offering.
Given Blacksburg's low cost of living — Clemson, S.C., is the only cheaper ACC market — and Virginia Tech's old-school arena (9,847 capacity and no revenue-producing suites), don't expect Greenberg to make as much as Virginia's Tony Bennett ($1.7 million). But he certainly merits a raise.
Granted, the Hokies have earned only one NCAA tournament bid in his seven years, and the last three seasons have ended with home defeats in the NIT, a frustrating rut to players, coaches and fans. But let's look big picture.
Hired after a search that first focused on Tennessee-Chattanooga's Jeff Lebo and Rhode Island's Jim Baron, Greenberg inherited a mess when he arrived at Virginia Tech from South Florida. The Hokies joined the ACC a year later, and basketball appeared out of their league.
In six subsequent seasons, Virginia Tech is 48-48 in conference play. Not great by any measure, but only Duke, North Carolina and Maryland have been better during the same stretch.
Now gaze ahead. The Hokies practice in a new, $21-million support complex and expect to return their top 10 scorers, including all-conference guards Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson, from a 25-9 team. Greenberg and his staff aren't signing five-star recruits, but they have a knack for evaluating and developing talent.
Meanwhile, St. John's is 40-94 in Big East games since last making the NCAA tournament in 2002. The days of iconic coaches (Joe Lapchick, Frank McGuire and Lou Carnesecca) and All-America players (Mark Jackson, Walter Berry and Dream Teamer Chris Mullin) are long gone for a program that boasts 27 NCAA tournament appearances, 19 more than Virginia Tech.
The Hokies and Red Storm are comparably mediocre since Carnesecca's 1992 retirement. Tech has advanced to five NITs and two NCAAs, endured eight losing seasons and employed four head coaches; St. John's has been to five NCAAs and two NITs, suffered nine losing seasons and soon will hire its sixth head coach since Louie.
Potential homecoming and Red Storm tradition notwithstanding, the degree of Greenberg's interest in St. John's was never clear. Equally uncertain was where he stood, if at all, on the Red Storm's wish list.
Two New York tabloids, the Post and Daily News, reported that Greenberg would interview, but Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said his St. John's counterpart, Chris Monasch, never requested permission to contact Greenberg.
Such formality is not required, but Monasch followed that protocol before approaching Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt and Boston College's Al Skinner.
Was Greenberg truly a candidate? Might his agent have been whispering to New York reporters in an effort to bait Virginia Tech?
Regardless, the Hokies and Greenberg are contracted, for whatever such documents are worth, through 2016. Now the task is to meet the heightened expectations that accompany such arrangements.
David Teel can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at email@example.com. For more from Teel, read his blog at dailypress.com/teeltime.
Show Seth the money $950,000 Seth Greenberg's salary this season at Virginia Tech. (Terms of Friday's contract agreement are unknown.) Tony Bennett made $1.7 million this season at U.Va.