As a former head coach, ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg “has been there before” and “understands the pressure” that college programs face each season.
Greenberg will embark on a hefty schedule during ESPN’s Rivalry Week presented by Wendy’s with the “Behind-the-Bench” series.
The former Virginia Tech, USF and Long Beach State head coach will begin tonight at Kansas at West Virginia (9 ET, ESPN), followed by Kentucky at Tennessee (7 p.m., ESPN) on Tuesday and Purdue at Indiana (7 p.m., ESPN) on Thursday. In addition, he will make a brief stop on the network’s coverage of the North Carolina at Duke (9 p.m., ESPN) tilt on Wednesday, including halftime segments and SportsCenter from Durham, N.C.
Front Row caught up with Greenberg as he prepares for his whirlwind week.
With four stops in four days – plus a trip to Arizona for GameDay – how do you prepare?
It reminds me of a recruiting trip from my previous life; it would be a typical week in the July evaluation period. The preparation is year-round, and I don’t think you can do this job preparing week-to-week. I study the teams by reading, watching film and talking with coaches on a daily basis. I approach this in a similar manner in which I approached coaching.
Where did the idea of the “Behind-the-Bench” series start?
The concept came from a conversation I was having with [Senior Vice President, Production and Remote Events] Mark Gross this past summer. We were talking about different way to use the telecasts to give the viewers an insight and get them additional access to the teams.
– Seth Greenberg
Coaches are giving ESPN access that we have not had before, it comes from the respect they have for you. What do you attribute it too?
I am a basketball lifer and have 36 years of relationships. I understand how difficult it is to win a game, understand the pressure of February and have walked in their shoes. I feel the coaches trust me.
My goal is to give the fans insight into what really goes on during the game. There is so much that the fan does not see that impacts the fine line between winning and losing: interactions of player and coach and chemistry of the coaching staff. I also have insight from being in that seat as a head coach and the adjustments that are made that might be subtle.
What does Rivalry Week mean?
A rivalry begins with commonality. It takes time to ferment. It takes on a life of its own with the results being significant and impactful to both parties. There is no love lost.