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USC Wants Greenberg Interview : College basketball: Trojans request, receive permission to meet with Long Beach State coach after the season.

February 23, 1995|JASON REID and ELLIOTT ALMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

The future of USC's interim basketball coach, Charlie Parker, was cast into doubt recently when the school asked permission to interview Long Beach State Coach Seth Greenberg.

Although Mike Garrett, USC athletic director, has not acknowledged that he is conducting a search for a new coach, he spoke to Dave O'Brien, Long Beach athletic director, on Feb. 13, Long Beach administration officials said Wednesday.

O'Brien granted the request but asked Garrett to wait until the end of the season for both teams before approaching Greenberg.

USC, 7-16 overall and 2-11 in the Pacific 10 Conference, will end its season March 11 against Oregon State. The Trojans will fail to reach the postseason for the first time in five years.

"This is the first that I've heard of it," Parker said Wednesday night at Palo Alto. "Until I've talked to Mike Garrett about it further, I can't speculate on something that has not been told to me directly. As always, I am still operating as head coach until someone tells me that I'm not . . . amid all the rumors."

Long Beach State, 15-7 overall and 11-3 in the Big West, is trying to gain a postseason berth for the third time in five seasons under Greenberg.

With the signing day for high school recruits in mid-April, USC officials hope to have their coaching situation resolved soon.

Earlier this month, Garrett said he wanted to give Parker a chance to prove himself under the difficult conditions in which he took over as coach last fall. Parker, 45, was named to the post two days before the start of the season. He replaced George Raveling, who retired after suffering serious injuries in a traffic accident.

USC officials acknowledged it was unfair to judge Parker by his record alone.

"I'm still evaluating Charlie," Garrett said then. "I told him when he took over he wasn't required to win. . . . If I felt he had promise and all that, I would hire him."

Garrett could not be reached for comment about the Greenberg situation.

Losers of nine consecutive games as they prepare to play Stanford tonight at Palo Alto, Parker's Trojans have played poorly.

Part of the problem is a lack of size. Also, Parker has only nine scholarship players on the active roster because of injuries, and at times, the team has self-destructed.

But the players have taken responsibility for the losses and have vocally supported their coach, a longtime Trojan assistant.

Greenberg would not confirm or deny USC's interest, saying he is focusing on winning the Big West title. The 49ers are in second place, half a game behind Utah State.

"It's flattering that people would speculate that a school as prestigious as USC would have (an) interest in me," Greenberg said.

Staff writer Lonnie White contributed to this story.

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