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Nevada Las Vegas Makes a Bid for Long Beach State's Greenberg : Basketball: Grgurich's departure leaves opening on Rebel bench. No formal interview has been scheduled.

March 15, 1995|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LONG BEACH — Seth Greenberg, a candidate for the USC basketball coaching job until accepting an upgraded contract to remain at Long Beach State, is being pursued for the vacant post at Nevada Las Vegas.

UNLV Athletic Director Jim Weaver said he requested permission on Sunday from Long Beach Athletic Director Dave O'Brien to contact Greenberg about the position that opened March 4 when Tim Grgurich resigned for medical reasons.

The request came after Greenberg guided the 49ers to a 76-69 overtime victory Sunday over Nevada at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center. The victory earned Long Beach the Big West Conference's automatic berth into the NCAA tournament.

Weaver said he spoke briefly with Greenberg on Monday but said a formal interview has not been scheduled.

"I did talk to him and that's the extent of that right now," Weaver said. "We won't do anything that effects his basketball team in the NCAA tournament."

Greenberg, 38, is preparing the 49ers for their second trip to the tournament in his last three seasons as coach. Long Beach (20-9) is the 13th-seeded team in the West Region and plays fourth-seeded Utah (27-5) Friday at Boise, Ida.

"The only thing I'm thinking about is Utah and advancing in the NCAA tournament," Greenberg said.

Weaver denies the job has been offered to anyone. Sources in Las Vegas said Utah State Coach Larry Eustachy and UCLA assistant Lorenzo Romar have been seriously considered. Romar canceled a scheduled trip to Las Vegas this week. Eustachy signed a contract extension Tuesday.

"We are still going through the initial stages with some people and have had formal interviews with others," Weaver said. "That's it."

Greenberg has not signed his new agreement with Long Beach but is bound by the terms of his previous deal, which has three years remaining. Greenberg could leave the 49ers if he exercises a buyout clause of about $50,000, a source said.

"We've always known Seth Greenberg is a hot commodity," O'Brien said. "By winning the Big West tournament and going to the NCAAs, he's not only on UNLV's list but many other universities as well."

Although Greenberg would not confirm his interest in UNLV, a source said he is intrigued by the position. The job pays $300,000 per year, which would be a significant increase over Greenberg's upgraded contract that a Long Beach administration source said will pay about $175,000 over the next five years.

Money was the major stumbling block in Greenberg's negotiations with USC. The Trojans did not offer a contract that would have provided the financial security he sought.

UNLV has undergone intense national scrutiny as much for its success as its long-running legal battles with the NCAA and subsequent decline in the program. Rollie Massimino was forced out as coach in October and Grgurich, former coach Jerry Tarkanian's longtime top assistant, was hired from the Seattle SuperSonics to restore the program.

But Grgurich coached only seven games and was hospitalized with symptoms relating to exhaustion Jan. 5. He said his anger about the previous problems between the program and UNLV administration contributed to his health problems and resignation.

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