Virginia Tech’s opponent for the 2011 Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be the Minnesota Golden Gophers, as announced last week by the ACC. Also, multiple media outlets are reporting that Seth Greenberg has hired former Maryland assistant Rob Ehsan as Tech’s latest staff member.
The Hokies vs. Minnesota
The Hokies and the Golden Gophers will meet on Wednesday, November 30 in Minnesota’s Williams Arena, commonly known as “The Barn”. It will be the first ever meeting between Virginia Tech and Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers finished last season with a 17-14 record, with a 6-12 mark in the Big Ten. They finished #81 in the RPI, with a strength of schedule rank of #31. They are led by former Kentucky head coach Tubby Smith.
It was an interesting season for the Golden Gophers, who started 16-4 and found themselves ranked in the top 25. They appeared to be clearly in the NCAA Tournament field, barring an unforeseen collapse.
However, a collapse is exactly what they got. Minnesota dropped their final six games of the season, and lost 10 of their final 11 games overall. The nosedive kept them out of the postseason, despite wins over North Carolina, West Virginia, Purdue and Michigan.
The Golden Gophers return the majority of their team, but they did lose starting guard Blake Hoffarber, who averaged 13.6 points per game and led the team with 126 assists.
Rob Ehsan is just 28 years old, and he has spent the last six seasons on the staff of Gary Williams at Maryland. He is a 2005 graduate of Cal-Davis, where he was a starting point guard.
He has served on Williams’ staff in a variety of roles, but is especially known for his recruiting, as well as his work with former Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez. He was also the interim head coach at Maryland between the retirement of Gary Williams and the hiring of Mark Turgeon. Turgeon elected to bring in his own staff, which meant Ehsan was on the market.
The hiring of Ehsan is expected to help Virginia Tech’s recruiting efforts in the DC/Maryland area. The official announcement of the hiring is expected to take place later this week.
In other coaching news, Greenberg announced recently that current assistant James Johnson has been elevated to Associate Head Coach. Johnson has been on the coaching staff for the last four seasons, and is Virginia Tech’s top recruiter.
Greenberg has one more staff position to fill. He must hire a Director of Basketball Operations to replace Dennis Wolff, who was named Head Coach of Tech’s Women’s Basketball program.