Centennial's coach nears 400 victories

Girls basketball: The next time Dave Greenberg's Eagles win, his career victories will hit a rarefied number only two other Baltimore-area coaches have achieved. Tonight may be the night.

January 08, 1999|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Two days before Centennial was to would face Friendly in a Class 3A state semifinal game at UMBC two seasons ago, a reporter asked the Prince George's County team's coach about his squad. A few minutes later, the coach turned reporter.

"What can you tell me about Centennial?" asked the Friendly coach. "I really don't know too much about them."

Two hours later, the reporter asked Centennial sophomore Tia Richardson about Friendly. She knew quite a lot about her opponent.

"We have a [multi-page] scouting report," Richardson said.

Friendly came into the game averaging 66 points, but Centennial was better prepared and, not surprisingly, pulled off a 35-33 upset.

That happened two years ago, but it says everything about Centennial coach Dave Greenberg. No one prepares a team better then Greenberg, and that is one reason he will go for his 400th career victory at 7 p.m. today, when his 16th-ranked Eagles travel to Wilde Lake.

Greenberg's teams at Mount Hebron won 13 county titles, six state titles and went 323-68 in 16 seasons. Now in his fifth season at Centennial, Greenberg's teams there have a 76-31 record. In 1997, the Eagles shared the county title and were a Class 3A state finalist.

"He's very organized. He's very driven," said Mount Hebron girls coach Scott Robinson, who coached the Vikings' boys team for a time when Greenberg coached the girls' team. "The thing I remember when he was here was the relationships that he built with the kids on his team, and that the kids really believed in him and his system.

"Look what he did with girls soccer," added Robinson. "He really didn't have any experience coaching girls soccer. But he took them [Centennial] to two state championships [1994, 1995]. It showed that he's not only a great basketball coach, but just a great coach. He knows how to get the best out of his kids."

Greenberg will become the first Howard County coach and the third in the Baltimore area to reach 400 victories. The all-time area leader in coaching wins in girls basketball is Baltimore's Breezy Bishop, who was 424-40 over 25 years. She was 13-1 in her first season at Douglass and 411-39 at Western.

Pat Chance, who coached at Glen Burnie for three years and Old Mill for 22, was 415-150 at the Anne Arundel County schools before retiring last year. Her Old Mill teams won four state titles. Towson coach Bev Snyder, in her 26th season, is 396-92.

Greenberg said reaching 400 wins is "meaningful in that so few people have done it." But he quickly pointed out it is an honor that should be shared.

"It's kind of humbling, because it makes me appreciate all the great kids [who] have played for me and all the tremendous help I've had from people that have been involved in the program over the years," said Greenberg, also a Centennial guidance counselor.

"I almost feel guilty when they talk about it being my win," he continued. "It's really a cumulative effort on the part of a lot of people. It's kind of like our 400th win, not my 400th win, because there have been so many people involved in it."

Brad Rees has been an assistant coach for Greenberg for 17 years, and Jim Stromberg, now Seton Keough's coach, assisted Greenberg for 14 years.

Pub Date: 1/08/99

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