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Prolific winners Basirico, Greenberg share similar traits

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." -- Arthur Ashe

Although they arrived at the destination in the same place and around the same time, the journeys to 500 victories have been strikingly dissimilar for Hilton Head Prep boys basketball coach Rich Basirico and Hilton Head High girls basketball coach Dave Greenberg.

Basirico's route made just one stop, bringing him to the Lowcountry in 1979 to take over a May River Academy program that had never enjoyed success. He immediately made the Patriots into winners, and the foundation was laid for a career that has made Basirico something of a Lowcountry legend.

He went on to coach at May River Academy until it merged with Sea Pines Academy in 1985 to form Hilton Head Prep, and if ever one coach has personified an institution, it is Basirico at Prep.

More than a few former players have gone out of their way to ensure their paths would bring them back to Hilton Head Island for their sons' formative years, so their boys could play for the man they simply called "Coach."

Greenberg was well on his way to the same sort of status at Mt. Hebron (Md.) High School, where he averaged 20 wins during 16 seasons, but Greenberg left seeking a new challenge at cross-town Centennial High School. He quickly turned the Eagles around from a 2-20 team the year before he arrived to a team that won two county championships and a region title in his six seasons there.

He made one last stop here in the Lowcountry, and in his seventh season at Hilton Head High, his influence is apparent. The Seahawks are off to their best start in recent memory, having won 13 of their first 14 games and held all but one of their opponents under 40 points.

For all the differences in their paths to the milestone, though, there are also plenty of similarities.

Both led their teams to the pinnacle time after time -- Basirico won two state titles with May River Academy and three more with Hilton Head Prep, while Greenberg led Mt. Hebron to six titles, which remains a record among Maryland's public schools.

Both came back after hiatuses from coaching to add impressive chapters to their already immensely successful careers.

Basirico stepped aside as Prep's basketball coach in 1993 to concentrate on his other duties at the school and spend more time with his family.

Greenberg moved to Hilton Head Island in 2001 to enjoy his retirement.

Neither stayed away from the game they loved for long. Basirico was back on the Dolphins' bench after six years off, and Greenberg only lasted a year before taking a position as a volunteer assistant at Prep, a spot he held for three years before taking over the Seahawks.

Therein lies the greatest similarity, and the reason Greenberg sits atop a plateau few reach and Basirico is poised to join him with his next step.

They're both basketball coaches, above all else, students of the game who have become teachers with a penchant for passing along their passion to their players.