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Ex-DI coach wins a title in Israel

Brad Greenberg

In this photo taken on Sunday, June 9, 2013. Maccabi Haifa basketball team coach Brad Greenberg, talks to players on timeout during the semifinal game against Hapoel Eilat, in the Haifa arena, northern Israel. Greenberg, former college and NBA coach whose career was derailed by a recruiting scandal several years ago, is on the rebound in Israel. Greenberg s bet that he could resurrect his career in the basketball backwater of Haifa is paying big dividends. He has led his Maccabi Haifa club to a historic turnaround, inheriting a team that finished dead last a year ago and taking it to Thursday night s national championship game against perennial powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. Along the way, he has emerged as a local hero and positioned himself for a possible return to the NBA. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)


Remember when the Greenberg coaching family seemed to be the kings of southwest Virginia?

Younger brother Seth was the head coach of Virginia Tech, managed to beat a couple of top-25 opponents every season, and was living a pretty charmed life as a result. His older brother Brad, a former NBA GM with the Philadelphia 76ers, had joined him as an assistant coach for a while before heading just down the road to take over at Radford in 2007.

Then it all started to unravel.

In 2010, the NCAA sanctioned Radford - which had won the Big South autobid just one year prior - and the school quickly cut ties with the elder Greenberg. Virginia Tech got tired of almost being an NCAA tournament team a couple years later and let Seth go to the TV ranks.

Nobody paid much attention to the news that Brad Greenberg had been hired as head coach of Maccabi Haifa in 2011. He was hired to turn around a team that had finished last in the Israeli pro league. Mission, as they say, accomplished: one season later, Haifa is a champion, having upset league power Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday night.

“This is the greatest achievement I’ve had as a head coach, without a doubt,” said Greenberg by phone early Friday.

Former St. Joseph’s (Pa.) standout Pat Calathes led Haifa with 22 points and 10 rebounds. League MVP Gal Mekel had 21 points and seven assists.

Cool to see a familiar Calathes involved, as well.

Greenberg’s epic, if somewhat obscure, victory has sparked speculation that he may be headed back to the big time of the NBA, where they don’t give a flying fig about a silly little thing like a five year show-cause order.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.