Any doubt about Paul Hewitt’s future at Georgia Tech was all but erased last week when his Yellow Jackets won three times in the ACC tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament. But it became more official Tuesday with the passing of an annual deadline in his contract, which rolled over as usual.
Hewitt’s contract is a six-year deal with an automatic rollover, which is triggered each year 30 days prior to April 15. Tech would have had to notify Hewitt by Tuesday if it planned to terminate his contract, or it would have cost an additional $1.375 million on top of the $7.1 million required to buy him out.
“There was no action taken, as has been the case since the contract was signed,” Tech associate athletic director Wayne Hogan said Tuesday. “Today is business as usual. We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to advance in the tournament. We move forward.”
Hewitt came under fire after a last-place finish in the ACC last year, and took his share of heat through the ups and downs of a seventh-place finish in the ACC this regular season. Athletic director Dan Radakovich acknowledged as such last week in an e-mail to Tech fans.
“Please understand that I hear all of the comments and opinions about our men’s basketball program just as I do with all of our 17 sports,” wrote Radakovich, who alluded to the financial part of the equation as well. “…There are many parts to any discussion, issues which are visible and not so visible. By now I’m sure you know that there are factors which make our men’s basketball situation unique.”
Radakovich had said both in that e-mail and in a response to a media query earlier last week, that he would “not get into a discussion regarding the evaluation of a program while there are still significant games to be played and goals to be reached.”
That discussion is all but moot now, with No. 10 seeded Tech (22-12) heading to Milwaukee to play seventh-seeded Oklahoma State Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
When asked in the midst of last week’s run to the ACC tournament finals if he took any personal satisfaction out of the success Tech was having and what it mean for his job security, Hewitt said, “No, not at all. I know what the facts are. I know what we’ve done here for nine years, going on 10 years. When somebody wants to have an honest, frank discussion about the facts, then we’ll be fine. We’re not Duke and (North) Carolina, OK. Do we want to be? And will we some day? But I’ll leave it at that.”