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Around & About / News and notes

Hokies ax hoops coach

Seth Greenberg was fired as the men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech on Monday, a decision athletic director Jim Weaver said he and basketball administrator Tom Gabbard arrived at last week as they assessed the state of the program.

The discussion came after the second assistant coach in two weeks, and the sixth in four years, announced he was leaving Greenberg's staff, this time to take an assistant's job at ACC rival Clemson. Associate head coach James Johnson, a five-year member of Greenberg's staff, was offered a salary matching the one he was to receive at Clemson, but he declined it.

"Coach Johnson came to my office Friday morning and told me that it had nothing to do with money," Weaver said.

Last week, Rob Ehsan left to become an assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He was accompanied by director of basketball operations Jeff Wulbrun, who got an assistant's position at UAB, leaving only John Richardson and Greenberg on the Tech staff.

Within three hours of Tech's announcement about Greenberg, Old Dominion announced it had hired Richardson, who spent five years on Blaine Taylor's staff before going to Blacksburg.


Razorbacks have a coach

Eager to move on from the Bobby Petrino scandal, Arkansas announced Monday that popular former assistant John L. Smith will return as head coach of the Razorbacks next season.

Smith, who left the Razorbacks after last season to become the head coach at Weber State, will be formally introduced today. The school said Smith signed a 10-year, $850,000 contract and will also be eligible for other incentives.

"I am tremendously excited to have this special opportunity to return to Arkansas and lead the Razorback football program," Smith said in a statement.


Velazquez joins Hall

Jockey John Velazquez can add Hall of Famer to a resume that includes wins in thoroughbred racing's biggest events and two years as the nation's top rider.

Velazquez, along with 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and trainers Roger Attfield and Robert Wheeler, were elected to the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame on Monday.

Velazquez has won 4,803 races, including 733 stakes, and earned more than $263 million since he piloted Rodas to the winner's circle at El Comandante in 1990. He was the nation's top rider in 2004 and 2005, and he has dominated the New York circuit, leading all riders in wins from 2001 through 2004 and taking 22 riding titles at the state's three tracks, including a record 65-win season at Saratoga Race Course in 2004.

Ghostzapper won nine of 11 career starts and earned more than $3.4 million.

From News Staff and wire service reports