Teel Time: Potential candidates for Virginia Tech's basketball coaching vacancy

Could Virginia Tech eye Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor to take over its men's basketball program?

The last time Virginia Tech searched for a basketball coach, no media outlet reported Seth Greenberg as a possible candidate until the day before he was hired. Tony Bennett’s name didn’t surface at Virginia three years ago until the very day he was announced.

So please understand that the names mentioned below as potential successors to Greenberg, fired Monday after nine seasons, may not include athletic director Jim Weaver’s eventual, or even first, choice. But no coaching search is complete without a list of logical and, perhaps, illogical candidates.

So here’s mine, in no particular order.

RICHMOND COACH CHRIS MOONEY: The 2011 Spiders advanced two rounds in the NCAA tournament, something the Hokies have accomplished once, in 1967. Richmond stumbled to 16-16 this season, and Mooney’s seven-year record there is 128-103 -- his team also made the NCAAs in 2010.

A Princeton graduate, Mooney, 39, preaches the offensive principles – wide spacing, back cuts, patience -- that carry his alma mater name. He guided Air Force to an 18-12 record in his only season as the academy’s coach.

One potential hurdle: After Georgia Tech and others courted him in 2011, Mooney signed a 10-year contract. As a private school, Richmond is not required to reveal the deal’s terms, but the buyout could be pricey.

OLD DOMINION COACH BLAINE TAYLOR: Universally regarded by his peers as a strategist. He’s 237-126 with four NCAA tournament appearances in 11 seasons on Hampton Boulevard. A former Stanford assistant under Mike Montgomery, the 54-year-old Taylor was 141-66 in seven years at his alma mater, Montana.

This would be an ironic hire, given that Greenberg irritated Taylor by not renewing the series between ODU and Tech. It would also be awkward, since Taylor just re-hired Hokies assistant John Richardson, who left Taylor’s staff two years ago for Tech.

MURRAY STATE COACH STEVE PROHM: How much stock do you put in one wildly successful season? That’s the question here.

As a rookie head coach in 2011-12, Prohm guided the Racers to a 31-2 record and Ohio Valley Conference title. They defeated Colorado State in the NCAA tournament before losing to Marquette.

Prohm, 37, graduated from Alabama and is a former assistant at Southeastern Louisiana, Tulane and Murray State. So he’s never recruited at the ACC level.

The Racers extended his contract through 2016 last month, but his base salary is only $300,000.

For what it’s worth, the last Murray State head coach Virginia Tech hired turned out pretty well. Fellow named Beamer.

MARSHALL COACH TOM HERRION: In seven seasons as a head coach, five at the College of Charleston and the last two with the Thundering Herd, Herrion’s worst record is 17-11. His career mark is 123-64, and as a former assistant at Providence and Virginia under Pete Gillen, and at Pittsburgh with Jamie Dixon, he knows the high-major recruiting landscape.

But Charleston fired Herrion in 2006 despite an 80-38 record, and as this piece in the Charleston Post and Courier shows, the reasons mirror Greenberg’s issues at Virginia Tech.

VCU COACH SHAKA SMART: I hesitate to even mention given the improbability, but Weaver should at least troll for college basketball’s hottest young coach. He took VCU to the 2011 Final Four and followed up with an NCAA tournament victory this season over Wichita State.

But even given the departure Monday of Rams athletic director Norwood Teague to Minnesota, two people close to Smart said Monday they’d be stunned if he were interested.

A former Clemson and Florida assistant, the 35-year-old Smart graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio. He’s 84-28 at VCU, makes $1.2 million in base salary and has seven years remaining on his contract.

Smart turned down North Carolina State last year and, according to CBSSports.com, declined $2.5 million a year from Illinois last month. I’d be surprised if Virginia Tech pays more than $1.5 million. You do the math.