Hewitt says it’s highly unlikely he’d leave Tech for St. John’s

Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said it’s highly unlikely that he would leave Georgia Tech for St. John’s.

Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich has given the Storm permission to speak to Hewitt about its vacant men’s basketball coaching job. Hewitt grew up in New York, and is one of the Storm’s top targets for the job, according to several New York newspapers. St. John’s declined to comment about its search until it is concluded.

When reached on Tuesday, Hewitt said he wouldn’t rule out talking to St. John’s if athletics director Chris Monasch called.

The Storm tried to woo Hewitt  in 2004 after he led Tech to the Final Four, but former athletic director Dave Braine countered with a contract with a unique automatic annual buyout of $7.1 million. Hewitt recently said that he actually had two other college job offers at the time of the negotiations. Should Hewitt resign, the contract also stipulates that he would owe the Georgia Tech Athletic Association one-half of the remaining term of his contract, which would be $3.4 million.

The 2004 season remains the pinnacle of Hewitt’s success in 10 seasons at Tech. He is 177-144 overall at the Institute, including 67-93 in the ACC. He has led the Jackets to the NCAA tournament five times, including this year when they were knocked out in the second round by Ohio State.

With a lineup featuring two projected NBA lottery picks in Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors, Hewitt led the Jackets to a 23-13 mark this season, including a seventh-place 7-9 finish in the ACC. Tech lost to Duke in the ACC tournament championship game.

Some fans have expressed their displeasure with Hewitt the past few seasons, particularly after the 2008-09 team, beset by injuries, went 12-19 overall and 2-14 in the ACC.

The Jackets bounced back this season and jumped out to a 11-2 start and eventually rose to as high as No. 19 in the Associated Press poll.  Tech had some bad luck once ACC play began, losing on last-second shots at Miami and at Maryland that jeopardized its chances of making the NCAA tournament.

A few days after the loss to the Terps, Hewitt approved a series of tweets in which he asked people to either support his team or leave it alone. He later said that those tweets were meant for the media, and not the fans. Nevertheless, after the messages his relationship with the Atlanta media took center-stage in print, online and on radio shows as his team was trying to secure its place in the NCAA tournament.

That died down after a week or so but reignited on March 15. Hewitt’s contract stipulates that if Tech were to fire him, he must be notified at least 30 days before April 15. On March 16, he was asked if he had any comment on his contract being rolled over. He responded by expressing his displeasure that anyone would presume his contract is why he is still employed at Tech.

“I think it’s pretty cheap that anybody would make an issue out of it,” Hewitt said. “I think it’s really underhanded. It’s the lowest form of journalism there is. … I really resent the hell out of somebody trying to insinuate that it’s like I’m stealing money from somebody and that the only reason I have my job is because of this contract.”

Hewitt later said that he and his family are happy at Tech and in Atlanta.

The GTAA recently oversaw construction of the Zelnak Center, a practice facility that opened last year for the men’s and women’s basketball teams. It also recently received a donation that will help pay for as much as $15 million of a proposed $45 million renovation to Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

St. John’s reportedly offered Florida coach Billy Donovan a contract worth more than $3 million a season but were turned down. Hewitt’s base salary was $1.375 million this season.

Monasch fired coach Norm Roberts last week after going 17-16 overall, 6-12 in the Big East this season. They  weren’t invited to the NCAA tournament for the eighth consecutive season. They last won the Big East in 2000. They’ve been to the NCAA tournament 27 times, including two Final Fours.

Carroll Rogers contributed to this report.

111 comments Add your comment

kennyh

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

kennyh

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

please go hewitt..a answer to prayer!!

wesleywhatwhat

March 23rd, 2010
1:14 pm

thank u jebus.

wesleywhatwhat

March 23rd, 2010
1:15 pm

um, is the “first” really necessary? what’s the point?

Surely, you jest...

March 23rd, 2010
1:22 pm

By the way folks, Tech cannot afford to let the $3.5mil go that Hewitt will owe if he leaves – they need that money to finish paying off Gailey and THEN maybe they can find another b-ball coach they can afford.

And, 5th…

DRC

March 23rd, 2010
1:23 pm

To the Tech Nation: Pray,Pray and Pray some more.

bigboi

March 23rd, 2010
1:46 pm

ZamBonE

March 23rd, 2010
1:47 pm

I live in NY and listen to sports radio everyday. On the Brandon Tierney show this morning, he spoke about the St. Johns opening and said that he feels Hewitt is going to be their next coach. He also said that Tech fans are ungrateful for all he has done for our program (apparently he hasn’t seen a Tech basketball game the last 10 years or knew about our one-time winning record in the ACC these past 10 seasons). St. Johns apparently offered Billy Donovan over $3 mil a year to come to NYC and leave UF, so money should not be an issue as St. Johns seems prepared to make their next coach one of the higher paid coaches in college basketball. Even if the offer is for $2 mil it would be a nice salary increase for Hewitt. I think he would be a good fit at St. Johns because of how great a recruiter he is. He could potentially put St. Johns back on the map with lots of good players coming out of the NYC and NJ area. Hiring Hewitt would create some buzz around the NYC college basketball scene that hasn’t been there in over a decade. However, when it comes to coaching, I doubt he will do anything more than put players in the NBA. Tech has seen too many top recruiting classes go to waste only to see these same players have success at the next level. Paul Hewitt is a nice man and a good person, but a change would be for the better for both programs.

Go Jackets

the real Old Gold

March 23rd, 2010
1:56 pm

Prayers answered!!!!! 7,000,000 dollars saved… whew!

Buzzzed

March 23rd, 2010
1:57 pm

Go Storm! You will be my second favorite team if you pull this off. How much will St. John’s have to pay Tech to get Hewitt according to the contract.

DK

March 23rd, 2010
2:09 pm

A little reality people. Tech cannot afford to hire a coach better than Paul. And frankly he has not been all that bad. Most schools would be happy with five appearances in the NCAA in 10 years. If we think we are NC or Duke you are really dreaming.

gdub

March 23rd, 2010
2:12 pm

Way to go Red Storm

rj

March 23rd, 2010
2:13 pm

This is the opportunity we have needed. Faced with the awful buyout sum of $7 million Tech can save money by agreeing to not enforce the buyout on his part to get him to leave. hurry before St. John’s changes there mind or they find a real coach.

Buzzzed

March 23rd, 2010
2:13 pm

DK, did you like Gailey too? Have a little faith in DRad.

BeauRayme

March 23rd, 2010
2:15 pm

I’m sooo happy. I did not enjoy watching one tech game this year with his perplexing substitutions, time out usage, and turnovers. Oh yeah what about the complete lack of an offense. Good riddance, he is a terrible coach. Can Drad make a home run hire CPJ’esque?

TomB

March 23rd, 2010
2:18 pm

DK: Under Cremins we were right behind Duke and NC winning three ACC championships including a couple over those two programs. The reality is Tech’s program has regressed under Hewitt.

Buzzzed

March 23rd, 2010
2:20 pm

DK is a dawg hoping Braine’s legacy will linger around ATL as long as possible and keep Tech down.

[...] AJC now reports that St. John’s University has formally asked for permission to speak with Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt. The New York Daily News quotes Hewitt gushing about [...]

RAMBLE ON!!!

March 23rd, 2010
2:21 pm

Please Lord, curse St. Johns with Paul Hewitt.

Amen.

Howard

March 23rd, 2010
2:21 pm

I hope he goes ASAP….

Duber1958

March 23rd, 2010
2:22 pm

DK, the reality is that since the ACC expanded to 12 teams, Ga Tech has the worst regular season conference record among the 12 schools, with a whopping 28 wins and 52 losses. If you can’t do the math, that is a 35% winning record. Most fans do not think that we are Duke or North Carolina but we do think that we should be better than Miami, Boston College, etc.

Navigator

March 23rd, 2010
2:23 pm

Take the emotion out of this decision for PHewitt, Tech doesn’t hold any long term future, he gets to go home and coach the local team, and Tech will let him out of his contract. Some decisions are easier than others.

Cbah52

March 23rd, 2010
2:24 pm

Here’s what’s frustrating about Hewitt. You watch teams like Cornell, Xavier, UNI and the other mid majors compete with far less talent than GT win b/c they play SMART, FUNDAMENTAL BASKETBALL. They do things like inbound the basketball and break full court presses.
I agree that Hewitt’s a nice guy, but so was Chan. CPH seems really bitter and angry, the fans feel the same towards him. Time to go.

Can we start an online fund to buy him a ticket? Post it on the ajc?

Firkin Friday

March 23rd, 2010
2:26 pm

Bring back Dwayne Morrison!

gt fan

March 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

Could we possibly get…TUBBY?

GT76

March 23rd, 2010
2:30 pm

Christmas in March!

Mark Price?
Cliff Ellis?
?

boilerup

March 23rd, 2010
2:31 pm

Cuonzo Martin @ Missouri State would be a great fit.. He is another former Keady player and Assisstant Coach. He is much responsible for helping Painter bring in the talent they have. He is at his first year @ Missouri State but he can recruit and teaches play hard mentality. Grab him while u can. He could be another Kevin Stallings, Bruce Weber, Matt Painter, or Steve Lavin. Good luck and Boiler Up!!

Be Careful What You Ask For

March 23rd, 2010
2:32 pm

@ Cbah52. Those teams compete like they do because they are seasoned and you have not heard of many of their players so you assume they are less talented. Those mid majors teams are full of juniors and seniors that have paid their dues.With the exception of Xavier non of these teams have made multiple NCAA tournament apperances so they can not be compared to Tech.

LaylowATLN

March 23rd, 2010
2:32 pm

Well it seems as if everyone is happy that Hewitt may be leaving for St. Johns, but if he do leave who would be his repleacement & would he be better for Tech? Now that is the million dollar question!!!!

Freedom23

March 23rd, 2010
2:33 pm

Tech will not get a better coach for the money Hewitt. I believe PH’s problem is that he attracts and recruits potential NBA players and not college players. When have you ever seen a Duke player do something on the next level with the exception of riding the lumber?? Yet, Duke is a college powerhouse in BB. Cornell and the other schools have had players for 3 & 4 years something that rarely happens at Tech. When SJ coacher by PH beats the chit out Tech coached by a nobody you’ll see how good PH was.

Rick

March 23rd, 2010
2:34 pm

To the hewitt supporters who are delusional
If Paul Johnson went had a sub .500 record in the acc the next 3 years, went 2-6 in 2013 and had a stellar recrutiting class in 2013 and went 4-4 in the acc do you think fans would be fine with that? Hell no. Of course that would never happen as CPJ can coach and hewitt can’t.

Hence his horrible record.

Juan Carlos Diego Raul Sanchez

March 23rd, 2010
2:37 pm

please go – maybe we can get us a point guard that likes to share the ball and will stick around for more than 2 years…

Scott

March 23rd, 2010
2:40 pm

Hey freedom
Have you heard of
Corey Maggette 22 ppg
Carlos Boozer 20ppg 10 rbs pg
Luol Deng 14 ppg
Elton Brand 13 ppg
Chris Duhon 11ppg
Battier 8 ppg
Reddick 9 ppg

There’s a few more that are more than bench warmers. Get your facts straight before looking like a fool.

collegeballfan

March 23rd, 2010
2:44 pm

I believe Tech basketball fans are just as delusional as the UGA football fans. Both feel their program is an annual national championship challenger. Both fail to realize that they are middle of the pack players in their respective conferences/sports. And always will be.

Joe

March 23rd, 2010
2:45 pm

Tech M.S., PhD here with fingers crossed Hewitt jumps to St. John’s. (What a fortuitous break for GT admin — and us — if he does.)

WDE!!!

March 23rd, 2010
2:46 pm

GT76,

CLIFF ELLIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you are kidding.

Hey, Scott...

March 23rd, 2010
2:47 pm

…Freedom is only referring to the Hawks ineptness at drafting Shelden Williams – your points, and stats, are right on, however…

And why...

March 23rd, 2010
2:48 pm

…do you guys keep mentioning a wish for Mark Price to be the coach? I believe he has never coached anything other than a HS team for a couple of years…

Perfect analogy...

March 23rd, 2010
2:49 pm

…collegeballfan…

JS

March 23rd, 2010
2:49 pm

This seems like a great fit for Hewitt. Goes back to his favorite city and brings St Johns back to the limelight. Tech gets change with out paying millions. He has lost the fan base here at Tech and that can’t be overcome. Good luck with 1 and done player’s in NYC.

I trust DRad to hire the next great Ga Tech BBall head coach!

Kirk Frentz

March 23rd, 2010
2:50 pm

Hey Deacons, good luck dumping Hewitt and finding a new BB coach.

I thought DRad...

March 23rd, 2010
2:51 pm

…was going back to LSU when their AD retired – has that guy not left yet?

Hedgepruner

March 23rd, 2010
2:52 pm

As soon as Hewitt walks out the door get on the phone to Mark Price or Matt Harpring, bring one of our own great ALL-AMERICAN player alumni back and they will restore our sinking BB Program….these two men know about fundemental basketball for sure…THWG

Alan

March 23rd, 2010
2:52 pm

Hewitt has one been over 500 once in the acc in 10 years. He went 2-14 last year and 7-9 this year in a down year for the acc and with 2 nba lottery picks. Can it really get any worse? I think not. Heck uga has won their conf tourney more times than Hewitt.

Alan

March 23rd, 2010
2:56 pm

bad analogy collegeballfan
tech fans feel they should be at least over .500 more than one time in a decade. And we should win more than one ncaa game over a 4 year stretch. No one here thinks we should beat duke and unc every year. We just want a good team that plays fundamentally sound basketball and doesn’t turn the ball over every other possession.

JS

March 23rd, 2010
2:57 pm

Maybe we should steal Fox from UGA? After two years he realizes he’s at a cow college that doesn’t support BBall. Any good coach would want to upgrade from the sec to the mighty ACC!

oldfart

March 23rd, 2010
3:03 pm

Tech should volunteer to pay for the moving van and forgo the 3.4 million. Then thank God and Greyhound.

You guys are unbelieveable...

March 23rd, 2010
3:06 pm

…Matt Harpring???? Matt has never coached anywhere – if you guys think that just because someone PLAYED basketball at a high level he would be a good coach, then the guy at St. John’s would still have a job…

4 jacks

March 23rd, 2010
3:09 pm

Yeah, and I remember people saying we couldn’t get a better coach than Gailey too, that he had done a good job. Shows you how LOSERS think. Thankfully our excellent AD DRAD does not think and operate like Braineless and some of the other LOSERS who post here. When Hewitt said that we had a “great year”, then “very good year” he completely lost me. He has the Braineless mentality. A very good year to CPJ is a BCS bowl, and a victory in said bowl. A great year to CPJ is winning them all and being the national champions. Compare that to what Hewitt and some of these LOSERS think and you can see the Braineless mentality that has permeated our sports programs for too long. If Hewitt leaves DRAD will hire someone that will place success as being ACC titles and championships, not just getting to the dance once in a while, or to be fair 50% of the time. Not sure someone can turn it around as fast as CPJ has, but it will not be because of a losing attitude that others have.

eBuzz

March 23rd, 2010
3:15 pm

Waive his contract obligations and let him go. Please, please. A win – win situation for Tech and him (but not St. John’s).