Levick gives details of Georgia State’s coaching search

Athletic director Cheryl Levick said she hopes to hire Georgia State’s next football coach as early as mid-November. If that can’t happen because of the next coach’s commitments, she wants to make the hire no later than Jan. 1.

Levick is looking for someone to succeed Bill Curry, who announced in August that he’s going to retire from coaching after the season. The Panthers will finish the season at Maine on Nov. 10.

“For recruiting, the sooner we can hire the better,” she said. Levick said she doubts the next coach will be named before this season is over.

She estimates 50 candidates have contacted her or one of the assistant athletic directors about the job since Curry announced his decision to retire after spending the previous four years building the program.

The hire takes on added importance because Georgia State is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association, which plays football on the FCS level, for the Sun Belt, which plays football on the FBS level, next season. The team is 0-5 this season and attendance is the lowest it has been in the program’s three seasons.

Levick said she prefers to hire someone with previous head-coaching experience because they understand everything that’s required to run a program. She also prefers someone who has knowledge of the fertile Southeast recruiting area. The pay package will likely be between $400,000-500,000.

To help, Georgia State’s athletic association contracted Parker Executive Search on Monday to assist in narrowing the list of candidates. Levick said she chose Parker because they are an Atlanta-based company, which will allow her to meet with them as often as needed. She liked that they have a database of information on candidates that can be analyzed, which includes everything from where that coach recruits, to video clips of them being interviewed, as well as any potential red flags such as NCAA violations.

Levick used Parker to assist in the hiring of men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter, whom Levick said has many of the traits that she wants from the next football coach: leadership, an ability to motivate, a good recruiter and someone who enjoys their job and working with student-athletes. Hunter led the team to a 22-12 record.

“He’s a winner on and off the court; those are the characteristics that I’m after,” she said.

Levick said she has asked Curry to provide any recommendations he may have. She met with Curry, the assistant coaches and then the players to Monday to tell them about hiring Parker. In those meetings, she told the assistants that she wants to meet with them individually to gauge their interest and to hear any recommendations they may have. She hopes to schedule those meetings within the next two weeks. She said gave the players a sheet of paper with an e-mail address for Parker so that they can anonymously recommend candidates. She also asked the players what characteristics they want in the next coach. She said they want what most people want: a motivator, a leader and someone who can keep building the team.

Levick said this year’s winless results haven’t affected the search because she hasn’t spoken to any candidates. The reaction from fans and declining attendance (the program had the smallest crowd in its three-year history two weeks ago) also haven’t affected the process, she said.

“I have received as many positive e-mails and calls of support to encourage us to understand that we are building a program, to understand that we have a long way to go, but to hang in there and keep moving forward, to not be distracted and to stay on track to get this programs moving,” Levick said. “The folks who understand what we are trying to accomplish here understand.”

Asked what she would say while recruiting the next coach, Levick said she would tout the work Curry and his staff have done in its first few years, the new practice facility, with a state-of-the-art locker room and training facility, the academic reputation of the university and the quality student-athletes.

While Levick said she believes the next coach needs to have some public relations skills, she said his primary focus will be on hiring a staff and recruiting so that he put his thumbprint on the team.

“I’m looking for someone to come in and take this program to the next level, to not be afraid to roll up his sleeves and dig in and shoot this program to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” she said.

Other headlines

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GSU hires Parker to help with coaching search

How does Georgia State compare statistically with other FBS teams

Notes and observations after GSU’s loss at W&M

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

48 comments Add your comment


October 3rd, 2012
2:19 pm

This sounds sooo idealic, like that “master plan”.

John Bond

October 3rd, 2012
2:29 pm

Can someone give me the email address to Parker? I wanna recommend myself from hundreds of fake email addresses.

If I could be the head coach I could really do some damage, what you are witnessing is just the tip of the iceberg!

Master Plan

October 3rd, 2012
2:30 pm

Anyone know how I am coming along?


October 3rd, 2012
2:31 pm

Bobby Petrino

Bleed Blue

October 3rd, 2012
2:51 pm

The new coach announcement will be like Christmas morning.
I like Curry as a person, but I hope the new coach can turn this program around.

Go Panthers!!

October 3rd, 2012
2:57 pm

Well, that was pure fluff talk.

Not that we should expect to get any real details until ahire is actually announced.

But I surely hope it isn’t true that she hasn’t spoken to any candidates yet.

“Levick said this year’s winless results haven’t affected the search because she hasn’t spoken to any candidates.”

wrightsville dawg

October 3rd, 2012
3:02 pm


An Outside Observer

October 3rd, 2012
3:18 pm

I’ve never heard of players being asked for recommendations on a coaching hire. I don’t know how well that would sit with me.

Ask but ye shall not receive

October 3rd, 2012
3:22 pm

I doubt any names the players offer up will be taken seriously at all.

Sounds like she’s just trying to allay their concerns about the process by giving them the impression of having say in the choice.

Same goes for the assistants.

Jee S. You

October 3rd, 2012
4:17 pm

Jan 1. is about 6 weeks too late.

Just Sayin'

October 3rd, 2012
4:36 pm

May need to come up on those salary requirements to get the right guy in here…


October 3rd, 2012
4:39 pm

Wow, I didn’t know Levick had an e-mail address.

Bleed Blue

October 3rd, 2012
5:01 pm

To Just Sayin,
Coach Hunter has a ton of incentives built in to his contract. I will assume 500K is the minimum and built in incentives will bring the salary up to a respectable level.


October 3rd, 2012
5:05 pm

tech fan here, please hire paul johnson and al groh.


October 3rd, 2012
5:37 pm

Are you kidding me!!! “She said gave the players a sheet of paper with an e-mail address for Parker so that they can anonymously recommend candidates.” Who are they going to reccomed, their HS coaches? Who cares what the current bunch of misfits want. I say hire the one they hate the most.


October 3rd, 2012
5:47 pm

Here we go Bobo, Here we go! Clap Clap

Orlando Panther

October 3rd, 2012
6:36 pm

Is Levick in over her head? This sounds like a total fiasco

Chicken Bone

October 3rd, 2012
6:42 pm

Doug, take a look at our strength on offense and tell me would a fullback or an extra wide out make more sense? In 1980 Georgia had a running back named Hershel Walker and a QB in Buck Belue. Georgia could throw the football but Hershel made many more yards on the ground because they built their offense around their strength in Walker. Both complimented each other. Now does a FULLBACK make more sense for GSU and Russell or should we continue down the road of Bond’s failed passing attack? There has to be a potential fullback on this roster!


October 3rd, 2012
6:52 pm

Derek dooley!

Doug Roberson

October 3rd, 2012
7:03 pm

Chicken, i’m sorry but i don’t see it. Adding one now, when no one has practiced at the position, doesn’t make sense.

Doug Roberson

October 3rd, 2012
7:05 pm

Orlando: what are you basing that on? Hiring a search firm is fairly standard. The other steps are also standard.

Chicken Bone

October 3rd, 2012
7:37 pm

Keep throwing the ball and 0-11 is our destiny! Hell, take Russell out and add another receiver! I guess my days at QB in High School didn’t teach me a thing, although I was more of a runner than a passer! Glad I played College Baseball and had a awesome time doing it!


October 3rd, 2012
7:42 pm

Guys, remember Levick was behind the hiring of Ron Hunter. And she’s using the same strategy in finding a new football head coach. I agree about increasing the salary though. Maybe drop one Men’s sport?


October 3rd, 2012
8:09 pm

Enough of these bogus names that would never come to Georgia State. I will tell you who will – Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. He’s a native of Lithia Springs and played for Curry at Georgia Tech with the likes of Ted Roof and Pat Swilling on that “Black Watch” defense. He was a very successful head coach at West Georgia, going 28-7 in three seasons with two Gulf South Conference Championships and two NCAA Division II Playoff appearances – the best three-year period of success at West Georgia. In addition, he would want to be closer to home with two teenage boys after his wife Angela passed away a year ago. Spencer would be a perfect fit!!

An outside observer

October 3rd, 2012
8:44 pm

I hate to break it to ya, but Ga State isn’t going to get a coordinator from a BCS conference school. IMO, your coach will be:

1: A FCS HC that wants to make the jump to FBS.
2: A FBS non BCS coach that has been fired.
3: A FBS non BCS coordinator (My most likely bet).


October 3rd, 2012
8:45 pm

Passion of the Panther

October 3rd, 2012
9:02 pm

Send your own recommendations for the next GSU football coach to:



October 3rd, 2012
9:36 pm

@An Outside Observer

Most recent SBC Head Coach Hires:

Florida Atlantic, Carl Pelini (DC Nebraska)
Arkansas State, Gus Malzhan (OC Auburn)
Texas State, Dennis Franchione (HC Texas A&M)

So tell me who we will not be able to get?


October 3rd, 2012
10:57 pm


Out of curiosity…What were those salaries?


October 4th, 2012
12:00 am

i think we should just use the money to pay for blumpkins for everyone


October 4th, 2012
12:11 am

On 2nd thought, they are in Atlanta, so Rusty Trombones would be more appropriate.

Mary McElroy

October 4th, 2012
7:49 am

I don’t see how we’re going to get quality at that salary. This is the time to make a splash and get people interested in the program again. The Sun Belt’s making a name for iteelf this season, so get a great coach and become the next Sun Belt team to upset a big boy next season. They struck gold with Ron Hunter, but name will be much more important with thr football coach hire.


October 4th, 2012
8:06 am

This hire will make or break Georgia State Football. Better get it right!

[...] Levick shares details of Georgia State’s coaching search [...]

Doug Roberson

October 4th, 2012
9:11 am

Doug Roberson

October 4th, 2012
9:16 am

This is much more up to date:

Salaries range from 350K (La. Monroe; who is sure to get a raise after the year they are having) to 800K (Arkansas State). So it appears that GSU is mostly in line with those salaries.
I didn’t ask Levick, but I’m guessing that 400-500k figure doesn’t include any bonuses. Remember that Hunter’s contract has a lot of a bonuses. Some are more reachable than others. I would guess the football coaches’ contract will be structured similarly.

Doug Roberson

October 4th, 2012
9:21 am

Here is an up-to-date list: http://www.coacheshotseat.com/SalariesContracts.htm
Sun Belt salaries range from 350k-800k

An Outside Observer

October 4th, 2012
10:38 am


I’m not saying that BCS Coordinators or HC’s don’t go to Sunbelt programs. I’m saying that with GA State’s current situation and the amount of money they are offering I don’t see a BCS Coordinator or HC’s coming to GA State. Pelini went to FAU and is making the top of the range that GA State is willing to pay. Malzhan makes 800K and I wouldn’t count Franchione b/c he’s not relevant to what GA State is looking for or needs and he came from the brodcast booth. Hiring someone like Franchione would just be Bill Curry II: Less Personality.

An Outside Observer

October 4th, 2012
10:39 am

And what I mean by Pelini going to FAU is that the program was left in a better position than the next Panther’s coach will find himself in. Hence the need to bump the pay a little bit.

@ An Outside Observer

October 4th, 2012
11:01 am

Thank you for your concerns, but we got this. Carry on now…


October 4th, 2012
12:09 pm

Doug, is it standard to meet with players to ask what they want to see in the next coach? Did Levick do this with the basketball team before hiring Hunter?

Doug Roberson

October 4th, 2012
12:13 pm

I don’t know if it’s standard to meet with the players and I don’t know if she did it with the basketball.
It doesn’t strike me as odd.
She wanted to provide the players with an update on the coaching search, and wanted to give them a voice in the process by giving them a way to recommend a coach.
It seems logical to me.

Passion of the Panther

October 4th, 2012
12:22 pm

Asking the athletes is no big deal … political thing and most high profile hires in a University typically have some student involvement. No downside here … I would expect recommendations such as:

Nick Saban
Les Miles

I don’t think we can expect a GSU football to have insight on a hot coordinator out the midwest …

it will amount to nothing


October 4th, 2012
1:41 pm

Paul Johnson makes $2,750,000 and the head coach of Middle Tenn makes $500,000
Well that makes perfect sense to me.


October 4th, 2012
1:49 pm

That is b/c Tech is lacking in the business school dept. and CPJ and Paul Hewitt are shining examples.

[...] Levick shares details of Georgia State’s coaching search [...]

Orlando Panther

October 4th, 2012
6:53 pm

Get a life narc


October 6th, 2012
10:21 pm

Bobby Petrino?? Or how about Chuck Amato formerly NC State’s coach for a great halftime, unintelligible interview.