Virginia Tech men’s basketball assistant coach Rob Ehsan and director of basketball operations Jeff Wulbrun are leaving Blacksburg to join Coach Jerod Haase’s new staff at UAB, according to multiple Virginia Tech athletic department sources. They requested anonymity because no official announcement has been made yet.
Ehsan and Wulbrun both joined the Hokies’ coaching staff before this past season and their decision to leave for a Conference-USA school continues a troubling trend for Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg. He has now lost five assistant coaches in four years and will be on his third director of basketball operations in as many seasons when the 2012-13 campaign begins.
It was just last May that Ehsan replaced former assistant coach Adrian Autry, who was set to leave Virginia Tech for a similar position at Dayton of the Atlantic-10 Conference before he accepted a late job opening at his alma mater, Syracuse.
Ehsan joined Greenberg’s staff after spending the previous six seasons working under Coach Gary Williams at Maryland, where he was even named the interim head coach in the days after Williams retired last May. During his limited time at Virginia Tech, Ehsan was responsible for the Hokies signing Dutch prospect Joey van Zegeren, a 6-foot-10 forward who took a redshirt this past season.
Ehsan, 29, is perhaps best known for his role developing former Maryland point guard Grevious Vasquez, and current Hokies players have raved about his ability to connect with them during individual workouts over the past 11 months.
Wulbrun was named Virginia Tech’s director of basketball operations last June, filling the vacancy created when Dennis Wolff was hired as the Hokies’ women’s basketball coach. Wulbrun had spent the previous 15 years splitting his time between coaching high school teams and running a real estate development company in Bloomington, Ill.
Two people familiar with the situation said it was Wulbrun’s time as an assistant coach at California between 1986 and 1993 that led him and Ehsan to UAB. Haase played for the Golden Bears when Wulbrun was coaching there during the 1992-93 season. One person said Wulbrun will be elevated to a full-time assistant coach when his hiring at UAB becomes official.
It’s unclear at this point why Ehsan has decided to leave Virginia Tech after just one season, because he will have a similar position to the one he held under Greenberg at UAB. Haase, an assistant coach under Roy Williams at North Carolina, was named UAB’s head coach last week.
Hiring replacements could be more difficult for Greenberg this time around given the recent turnover on his staff. This is the third-straight offseason in which the coach will need to fill two positions. Before the 2010 season, Greenberg also lost two assistant coaches when Bill Courtney accepted the head head coaching vacancy at Cornell and Ryan Odom left for an assistant coaching position at Charlotte.
In 2009 former assistant Stacey Palmore left the Hokies for a similar job at Georgia.