High School Sports

HHH girls give Greenberg his 500th victory

This wasn't part of the retirement plan.

When Dave Greenberg moved to Hilton Head Island in 2001, he intended to rest, relax and do some volunteer work.

But less than one year later, the itch returned. And Greenberg simply couldn't turn down the opportunity to coach basketball.

Good luck stopping him now.

Greenberg added another milestone to his distinguished coaching career Thursday night, winning his 500th game as a girls basketball coach in Hilton Head High's 43-38 victory against West Adelaide (Australia). It was his 75th victory as the Seahawks coach.

"This means I'm pretty old, huh?" he joked.

Hilton Head High honored its coach with a brief ceremony following the game in which athletics director Lew Kent presented Greenberg with a jersey representing victory No. 500.

Most of those -- 425, to be exact -- came in Maryland, where Greenberg coached for 22 years. He led Mt. Hebron to six state championships -- a state public school record that stands today -- and was inducted into the Howard County Women's Hall of Fame for his work at Mt. Hebron, as well as Centennial, another Maryland school.

No matter where he has been, Greenberg's coaching philosophy has gone unchanged.

"Defense is No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3," said former Hilton Head High guard Emily Natoli, who attended Thursday's game. "You live and breathe it. It takes up half of practice. You look forward to the summer because you actually get to play offense."

Greenberg's teams have been well-known for their stingy man-to-man defense.

And this year's Seahawks, who improved to 13-1 on Thursday behind 23 points from Margo Dill, are no exception. They have allowed only one opponent to score 40 points in a game, and it resulted in their only loss of the season -- a 44-43 defeat to Class 4-A power West Ashley.

Hilton Head High is off to its best start in Greenberg's seven years with the Seahawks -- it won just one game in his first season, 2004-05 -- and heads into Region 7-AAA play Tuesday night hoping to claim its second region championship under Greenberg and just the third in school history.

Despite the accolades, that was the first thought Greenberg said he had following the game.

"I'm glad we got it out of the way so we can focus on the rest of the year," he said. "We wanted to move on."

That phrase -- moving on -- is a point of emphasis Greenberg has for current and former players.

More than 30 former players have earned scholarship money to play basketball in college, including former Seahawks guard Samantha Aiken, who was also in attendance Thursday. Three of his former players now coach at the college level.

"He really goes way beyond what most coaches would do to get those kids into college," said Jim Spiridopoulos, a Seahawks assistant coach. "He's a very sincere, caring person."

Several have returned the favor. Greenberg and his wife, Harriette, routinely go to weddings for a former player. They've been invited to dinner parities.

And if Greenberg ever needs to know where his itch came from some nine retirement-free years ago, he only needs to look at a wall in his house filled with Christmas cards.

"Seeing the kids grow and be successful -- that's what it's all about," Greenberg said. "Win or lose, if you work hard, you have a better chance of good things happening -- not just on the basketball court, but in life."

DAVE GREENBERG BY THE NUMBERS

6 -- State championships, all at Mt. Hebron (Md.), where he compiled a 323-68 overall record

75 -- Wins at Hilton Head High since taking over in the 2004-05 season

7 -- Victories HHH needs the remainder of the year to surpass the most in a season during his tenure

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