COMMERCE — Former Commerce player Russ Gregg came back home five years ago to help rekindle the flame of his old program.
On Thursday, after doing exactly what he promised, Gregg resigned as the Tigers basketball coach to take a similar job at Greenwood High School in Greenwood, S.C.
Gregg made the announcement to his team after the end of the Summer League on Thursday.
Gregg has been known in his career for rebuilding moribund programs. He turned around a struggling Erskine College program in South Carolina in six seasons before returning to his alma mater.
“The process of turning other programs around and the joy it brings me was too much for me to pass up on this new opportunity (in Greenwood),” Gregg said.
Greenwood was just 10-16 in 2021-22 and has not made the playoffs the past two seasons.
When Gregg arrived back on the scene in Commerce for the 2017-18 season, the Tigers were as low as the program had ever been. They suffered through a winless season in 2015-16 and won just three games the following year.
In Gregg’s first two seasons, they won just six total games. However, in 2021 they ended a nine-year playoff drought and this past season they posted their most wins (12) since 2012, which also culminated in their first playoff win since 2010.
In his statement to the team, Gregg thanked Principal William Smith, and recalled the day he returned to take over the Tigers program.
“When I got here we had six basketballs that looked like PE balls. We had completely mismatched practice gear. We had very little money in our fundraising account and had won only 10 games in three years,” Gregg said. “Now, fast forward five years and we just raised over $5,000 with a basketball camp. We have made back to back state tournament appearances as well as a Sweet Sixteen appearance.
“To (be able to) coach at the place I played and my Dad (Rexx Gregg) coached is really amazing. Commerce will always mean a lot and will always be a special place to me. You guys have helped put Commerce basketball back on the map.”
In his last week as coach of the Tigers, they went 5-3 in the Summer League and it is expected, for now, that assistant coach Nathan Crumley will be back as they search for a new head coach.