Ricardo Greer had no direct connections to the University of Dayton when he accepted a job on head coach Anthony Grant’s staff in April.
However, as it often goes in college basketball, several threads connected Greer, 39, to UD long before he became an assistant coach on the new staff. After starring at the University of Pittsburgh from 1997-2001, scoring 1,753 points in his career, Greer took his talents to Europe. He played against Dayton great Tony Stanley for many years in France.
“We used to talk trash all the time,” Greer said. “He’s excited now that I’m here. It’s amazing. He’s still playing. He’s 40. He’s playing in the fourth division and just having the time of his life. Great guy. He told me great things about Dayton.”
Greer also paid some attention to Dayton in recent years because he knew former Dayton coach Archie Miller in high school. They were both recruits in the class of 1997. They would have been teammates at Pittsburgh, but Archie withdrew his commitment to Pittsburgh and followed his brother Sean, then an assistant coach, from Pittsburgh to North Carolina State.
On one of his first recruiting assignments for Dayton earlier this spring, Greer ran into Miller, now the head coach at Indiana, at a Nike Elite Youth Basketball League event in Indianapolis.
Miller told him, “You’re going to love it (at Dayton). If you need anything, just holler.”
Greer also got advice about Dayton from Allen Griffin, one of Miller’s former assistants. Greer and Griffin are both from New York City — Greer from Washington Heights and Griffin from Brooklyn. Like Greer and Miller, Griffin was a top senior recruit in 1997. Griffin and Greer played together for the New York Gauchos, one of the top AAU programs in the city.
Greer told of those three connections Friday during an interview at UD Arena. He and three other of Grant’s assistants — Anthony Solomon, Darren Hertz and James Kane — were on hand with many members of the UD community to say goodbye to the old Tartan court. It will be removed starting Tuesday.
Greer has never seen a game live at the arena, but his connections to the Flyers have prepared him for what he’ll experience for the first time in November.
“I’ve seen videos,” Greer said. “The hairs on my arm come up when I see those videos. It’s an amazing atmosphere. To see how this arena gets, I’m excited.”
Greer is the least experienced coach on the staff and the most experienced player. He got into coaching in 2015 as an assistant under Donnie Jones at Central Florida.
Jones knows Grant well. They coached together under Billy Donovan at Florida from 1996 until Grant left to take the head coaching job at Virginia Commonwealth in 2006. When Grant got the Dayton job, Jones recommended Greer to Grant. It didn’t take Greer long to learn about his new boss.
“He’s such a calm, cool and collected guy,” Greer said. “You learn so much from him. Being around him makes you feel good, so i’m excited about the future.”
Greer’s first coaching gig at Central Florida followed a 14-year playing career in Europe. He spent most of those years in France, where he was a five-time all-star in the top division and a three-time first-team selection. He was the Pro A League MVP in 2010 and led his team to championships in 2005 and 2008.
Greer, whose son Ricardo Jr. and daughter Maddison were both born in France, traveled to France earlier this month to be inducted into the French Basketball Hall of Fame.
“It was an amazing experience to be honored with such an award for my time there,” Greer said. “It was a great feeling to be there. I was so excited. My brother came to see me. It was amazing.”
Jeff Greer, who’s two years younger than Ricardo and played at Rutgers, just retired in France after a long playing career of his own. Both Greers made the most of their time in Europe. Now Ricardo hopes to help Dayton players who may go that route. He got to talk to two recent graduates, Scoochie Smith and Kendall Pollard, about playing in Europe before they left campus.
“For me, it’s all about paying it forward to these kids and understanding there’s a lot more than just the NBA,” Greer said. “There are so many different avenues you can go to in the professional game. I just finished playing. I can related to them a lot more. It’s not easy to play in Europe, but I can give them a pathway and help them out and make them understand what they can expect.”