Q&A with Dan Radakovich

It has been an interesting five years for Georgia Tech athletics director Dan Radakovich.

He has led the Athletics Association through one of the worst economic downturns in United States’ history.

Radakovich said the AA has made it through seemingly the worst part of the recession and is coming out with a better plan on how to deal with these financial times, as well as three new construction projects: a renovated basketball arena (Hank McCamish Pavilion), a new indoor football practice facility, and a renovated tennis complex is being pursued.

Radakovich sat down to talk about the projects, what could be the next sport at Tech, and the challenges of the job.

[Note: some of you may ask why I didn't ask about Paul Hewitt and his contract. Colleague Jeff Schultz covered this ground two days ago here.]

Q: How is the new basketball project developing?

A: It’s going very well. We are in various stages of design development right now with Populous, the architect, and Whiting-Turner, the constructors. Next week all three of our projects will be reviewed by the campus planning and designcommittee, which is a group on campus that looks at every construction project to make sure it meets with standards associated with Georgia Tech.

Certainly the reconstruction of the coliseum will be on that agenda. And there will be some new images that the architects will bring forward of not only the interior of the buildingbugt some of the finishes and club interior views as well as some things of outside the building.

Q: What vibe are you getting from the community about the projects?

A: They are different for all three. Certainly the basketball, because it’s going to be one of the gateways to campus, is one that we get a lot of questions about: what are you doing to the seating? How’s it going to change?

I was walking around the concourse yesterday evening and I got a few questions, “How is this going to look when it’s done?” You explain the best you can but we have a website up on ramblinwreck.com that will show some updated images as we get them. As soon as construction starts it will be a progress area, as well.

Tennis, we are still going through some cost analysis and some laying out of the exact facility given the footprint that’s there. That one’s a little bit further behind than the Coliseum reconstruction and indoor football practice facility.

Q: What could be the next sport at Tech as the female enrollment continues to rise?

A: As we talk about maintaining the proportionality between the general student body and the student-athlete population there may come a time that we do need to add a women’s sport. Women’s golf is one that we would able to bring on board in a fairly short period of time. That would be probably be No.1 on the agenda. Any future sports offerings would really need to be studied.

Q: What is your pie-in-the-sky project? What would you like to see done?

A: Once that we get these three areas down, as well as a little bit of an updating to a golf practice facility that we have off 14th street — fund-raising is underway for that particular project –  you continue to circle back and make sure your facilities are relevant. The baseball stadium will be in its ninth or 10th year this coming spring. There are some areas that we may want to improve there, probably less that you would see outside than the players and coaches would see inside the facility. There’s always something to do. You could easily spend a million dollars a year in the football stadium keeping it modern to theextent that you could make the oldest on-campus stadium in the country modern.

Q: With the projected debt of $180 million in bonds, how will the new ACC revenue help you manage that debt?

A: The way we run things, all of our revenues are put into a pile and the expenses are taken from that. We want to make sure that the moneys that have been gifted to us — and all of the gifted revenue, from the coliseum reconstruction to the tennis to the football facility — all of those dollarsare what I call single-purpose. They can only be used for those capital needs. We are going to segment those dollars with the Georgia Tech Foundation and create an account to allow those moneys to grow over time. We will take a certain amount of our operational dollars and probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 percent of the debt service will come out of that operational account. The other 25 percent will come out of this fund we have at the Georgia Tech Foundation.

We’ve run various models at various interest rates and we feel comfortable that we’ve been conservative enough in our approach to make sure that those dollars over at the foundation will in fact last long enough to continue the 75/25 number to get to our annual debt payment.

Q: How has managing the construction projects in this current economy made you a better athletic director?

A: I think you begin to look at how you can take the infrastructure that you have, the current buildings that you have and make them better as opposed to bulldozing these and making new ones. We have very good coaches who understand the value of money and the resources we have. They are creative as well.

We did a little project in our volleyball facility that made all the difference to the women and coaches, yet it wasn’t extravagant. It was worthwhile. It was efficient.

If you look at our softball facility, it could be termed not only very beautiful given its setting, but it’s efficient as well. That’s one thing we try to bring to our facilities is not an air of over-the-top, but we know we want it to look good and function well for our student-athletes to make them be the best we can be given our constraints of land, resources and time.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you have going forward? The market is improving so the endowment should improve. What’s the biggest challenge in the next three years?

A: We have a different challenge every week coming before us. We have to make sure that we continue to have great operation between the Athletic Association and the Institute,which we do with President Peterson and his staff. Those relations are critical for any athletic program’s long-term success. If we have those I think it bleeds off into the community that there is that cooperation and they feel better about investing within the athletic program. The more investment we get from our fans, from our endowments from any other business operations that we have taken, the better off we are as an athletic program and can respond to needs that come up. There are always needs that, no matter how much you forecast, something always comes up that you need to make a mid-course adjustment with.

We are fortunate now that we aren’t in the same financial structure that we were a few years ago. By no stretch of the imagination are we are out of the woods, but we have a much better plan, just as we talked about a plan to manage the debt. The current debt that we manage out of our operational accounts will remain roughly the same, even though we are adding these other debt components.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

98 comments Add your comment

Brock

December 9th, 2010
10:57 am

GT fan in MS

December 9th, 2010
10:59 am

Hey DRad, When are you going to S-!+ can Paul Hewitt?

Big Ol Stinger

December 9th, 2010
11:01 am

Should of asked him how he enjoyed the Kennesaw State and UGA basketball games this year.

Always a Jacket

December 9th, 2010
11:06 am

Doug, thanks for the interview. Sounds like we have a CPA, not an AD. Seems he doesn’t give a hoot about the basketball product, just the package.

juvenal

December 9th, 2010
11:09 am

if Tech folks are so smart, why can’t they count-the big $ hole braine dug for us…Drad for congress!

Todd

December 9th, 2010
11:27 am

Folks, stop dumping on DRAD. Don’t forget he’s the guy who replaced Gailey with a coach who won the ACC in 2 years. He’s not oblivious to CPH needing to go – but he also can’t afford to pay $7M right now to dump the guy. As juvenal said, you need to focus on moron who gave CPH the revolving contract – D. Braine-less.

superDawg

December 9th, 2010
11:35 am

My contract never expires,but I can be bought out.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:48 am

Fire Paul Johnson

December 9th, 2010
11:52 am

Who cares?

What is D-Rad planning to do about beating UGA in football?

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:53 am

Q: What are your thoughts on UGA owning Tech in Football and more recently, Basketball?

A: The best way to get over this is to pretend they do not exist. I do not in my lifetime see us beating them again in either of these two money-maker sports. I will attempt to take them off our schedules, but until then, just pretend they do not exist. They truly do RUN THIS STATE.

Bobby Cremins

December 9th, 2010
11:53 am

50% of the proceeds from the Bowl game goes to the Fire Hewitt Fund so buy em up

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:55 am

Q: Have you collected the Property Taxes that UGA owes on Northe Ave?

A: Not yet. But when we do collect, we wil use the money to give Paul Hewitt a raise.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
11:59 am

Q: Do you think Paul Johnson “outcoached” MArk Richt a couple weeks ago?

A: Of course!! We all know that instructing your team to QUIT, in order to lose by 8 points as opposed to 1 point is admirable and the true definition of “outcoaching.” Also, any coach who abandonedes the game plan to attempt the 5th Forward Pass in his GT Tenure, is a heckuva coach! Mark Richt may have scored more points and gotten the ACTUAL victory, but here at Tech we are much more concerned with the Moral Victories. The trophies sit right next to the 1990 Natioanl Championship trophy we had our woodworking class create for us.

Nerds

December 9th, 2010
12:01 pm

I couldn’t sketch a more perfect picture for the AJC Georgia Tech reporter. Maybe its the glasses, but he most certainly paints the perfect picture for a “Tech guy.” smh

TDone

December 9th, 2010
12:07 pm

And people wonder why the Muttlanders are disliked by the masses…

Jeff

December 9th, 2010
12:12 pm

WOW!!! what an interview…..pretty weak dude…were you afraid to ask him anything????????????????????????????? Seems to me you might have enough guts to at least ask some pointed questions we would all like to get his insights on. very very weak….but expected from AJC guys

9-1...42-34....73-72....

December 9th, 2010
12:19 pm

Q: Of the 9 losses in football experienced against UGA in the past 10 years- how many of those do you think we can consider “moral” victories? I would count this year as one for sure. I mean, come on we lost by 8 points when we could have played tough and lost by 1. I would much rather see this than Reggie forgeting what down it was. Also, I say we stand up to those that this we are a bunch of pusses and follow our coaches lead and smack them in the mouth! I am proud to be a Tech Guy!!!! Just be careful, when someone in our group tried to follow the coaches advice in Athens- he got decked by a UGA guy. We did the proper thing and ran away!

Dave

December 9th, 2010
12:21 pm

And we wonder why we are laughed at by our rivals…..hmmmmmm

Jesse Stone

December 9th, 2010
12:26 pm

The same UGA fan uses about 5 screen names on this blog. What a sad individual.

Jesse Stone

December 9th, 2010
12:27 pm

Nerds

December 9th, 2010
12:01 pm
I couldn’t sketch a more perfect picture for the AJC Georgia Tech reporter. Maybe its the glasses, but he most certainly paints the perfect picture for a “Tech guy.” smh
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Where do you think Doug attended college?

Captain

December 9th, 2010
12:35 pm

Doug – very “Public Relations” type interview regarding physical facilities, lot of plain vanilla and nothing about the actual programs. Where’s the meat in the questions, for instance what about this question for DRad’is there any formula of wins, losses, progress you have in mind regarding the future of Paul Hewitt as GT basketball coach?’ or what about this one ‘Why, after winning the 2009 ACC Championship and playing in a BCS bowl, does GT continue to struggle to sell season football tickets?’

Born2Buzz

December 9th, 2010
12:37 pm

Jeff, what did you want him to ask?

CT_Jacket

December 9th, 2010
12:38 pm

Sanford Drive,

You can’t make a Waterford Crystal football in a woodworking class. But I understand that you wouldn’t know since UGA doesn’t have one. You can always visit the one at the GTAA.

ga tech 92

December 9th, 2010
12:39 pm

We’ve been beyond patient, considering ONE winning acc record in TEN years:

2000–2001 Georgia Tech 8–8 T–5th NCAA 1st Round
2001–2002 Georgia Tech 7–9 T–5th
2002–2003 Georgia Tech 7–9 5th NIT 3rd Round
2003–2004 Georgia Tech 9–7 T–3rd NCAA Runner-up
2004–2005 Georgia Tech 8–8 T–4th NCAA 2nd Round
2005–2006 Georgia Tech 4–12 T–10th
2006–2007 Georgia Tech 8–8 T–6th NCAA 1st Round
2007–2008 Georgia Tech 7–9 T–7th
2008–2009 Georgia Tech 2–14 12th
2009–2010 Georgia Tech 7–9 7th NCAA 2nd Round

Overall at Georgia Tech: 67–93

Hewitt is now 4-7 against UGA

Appathy has beyond set in: I *LOVED* GT basketball more than any other sport…had season tickets for years…let them expire in discust about 3 years ago…I can’t stand to watch them for free on TV anymore (didn’t watch UGA because I knew we would find a way to Blewitt).

Some say, “We can’t afford to fire him.” I say we can’t afford not to and should have 7 years ago.
What cost more,

(a) 7 mil
or
(b) 1.4 per year, for a couple/few more years + continued destruction of the program + continued errosion of the fan base + further emptying of seats + further humiliation from loosing to Kennesaw State, UGA, etc, and THEN paying the 7 mil?
You don’t have to know advanced math to know that (a) is much less than (b), yet we pick (b) year after year.
Since we had the money to put into the arena, then we had the money to spend and our AD CHOOSE not to fire him.

Even the Wall Street Journal knew this years ago, per this article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123690294088913675.html

What is the good word? = FIRE PAUL HEWITT!!

Blue Fox

December 9th, 2010
12:39 pm

Spending millions to renovate Alexander when the current facility is only half-filled with Tech fans makes absolutely no sense, solve the current BB coaching problem and re-energize the fan base before spending a dime on infrastructure.

CT_Jacket

December 9th, 2010
12:41 pm

Sanford Drive,

You can also visit Alabama, they have 2, Florida has 3, LSU has 2 and Tennessee has 1. Auburn may be getting one soon too.

UGA=YAWN

December 9th, 2010
12:50 pm

So what that they covered it? That means you don’t? He should be asked those questions everytime he is interviewed.

Born2Buzz

December 9th, 2010
12:51 pm

Captain, the 2nd question was a good one. Doug already said he wasn’t going to ask him about Hewitt.

This most damning issue against Hewitt right now is not the wins and losses, although they still count. The most damning issue is the attendance for home games and the fact that after about 12 years of sell outs of season tickets, there has not been a sell out in the last 2 years. To see the arena about 3/4 full for the UGA game was just sad.
DRad is going to support Hewitt during the season. He is not going to condemn him in public while still trying to have a successful year and maintain recruiting.

DRad has a big problem dealing with the GTAA finances. Dave Braine, who is now dead, left the AA with about a $75M debt. Not to mention 2 poor coaches for the largest programs in the AA with huge contract buyouts. DRad had to bite the bullet on Gailey (who we will have finally paid off after this year) and when the time is right he will do with same with Hewitt.

jarvis

December 9th, 2010
1:01 pm

Doug, pretty light Q & A. I’m guessing you were given guidelines about what not to ask, but come on.

If this is all you were going to get, why waste D-Rad’s or your time?

really

December 9th, 2010
1:09 pm

I’m a Tech fan but Doug really should have asked Radakovich “Does Paul Hewitt owe you money?”, because it hard for me to understand why he would keep him otherwise.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:09 pm

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:10 pm

Q: How mutty is Paul Johnson?

A: Like that of squirrel poop, Doug.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:11 pm

superDawg

December 9th, 2010
1:12 pm

Hello macriod long time no see.

get real

December 9th, 2010
1:15 pm

You do understand that these beat writers have to tred lightly don’t you? He can’t go in there and attack the TECH AD and the coaching staff. You do know that if he does he will be out of a job becuase his title is Tech beat writer.

I can remember when fans of sekou smith’s Hawk’s blog used to complain when he wouldn’t march into Mike Woodson’s office and demand answers. Duh? Beat writers have to be somewhat diplomatic when covering a team because the team can tell them to hit the road and don’t come back!! How they gonna cover the team then?

GT fan & supporter

December 9th, 2010
1:16 pm

I could care less until PAUL HEWITT is gone.

Doug Roberson

December 9th, 2010
1:22 pm

That’s not true about asking different questions.

I focused this Q&A on the construction projects.

Talking to Radakovich on Tuesday, I asked him if he was disappointed that the team didn’t sell out any home football games this season. Paraphrasing his answer: he said it has been a constant challenge throughout the years to encourage fans to visit campus and attend games. It’s one they are continuing to try and solve. He related a story about a Fiesta Bowl committee member who lives in Atlanta who is a friend. Dan said he and his friend are constantly saying they must go to lunch, and his friend finally said that he drives by the campus every day, but had yet to drop by. It’s one of those odd things.

reggie's reason for the streak

December 9th, 2010
1:34 pm

How do you feel about UGA beating you in football, yet again?

They should! With all of the top 10 recruiting classes they get and their ability to sign any convict, regardless of intellectual ability, they should have the advantage. The bigger question is “How does UGA feel about it?” Obviously, according to any dawg fan, the ACC is an inferior conference. But look at what they did in their own conference! Got housed by Auburn (a rivalry game), lost again to a weak Florida team, lost to Spurrier. Really, the only teams they beat in conference….everybody beat. I’d say ineptitude at coach and poor attitudes from fans are at the root of the conference. Who cares if you sell out every game if you continually underachieve with the talent you have!

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:36 pm

Who on earh would want to visit Tech’s “campus” littered with dead bodies and muggers??

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:39 pm

I wish we could witnes, just for one season, Tech playing UGA’s schedule.

Geori

December 9th, 2010
1:41 pm

To the commenter who said: “Of course!! We all know that instructing your team to QUIT, in order to lose by 8 points as opposed to 1 point is admirable and the true definition of “outcoaching.””

A loss by 8 points is the same as a loss by 1. Only wins and losses matter, and by letting those morons from UGA score, we got the ball back again and had a chance to tie and take the game to OT. If we scored and made a 2 point conversion, Mark Richt would have been fired on the spot for being a freaking moron and not kneeling on the ball to win the game.

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:47 pm

And how did that plan work out for you Geori??

42-34

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:50 pm

Georgia Tech is the only fanbase in the history of college football to think they have the upper hand by making fun of their most hated rival for scoring a touchdown and beating them.

Incredible!!

Sanford Drive

December 9th, 2010
1:54 pm

42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34 42-34

SO glad it hurts!!!!!!

Waterford Crystal is not Waterford Cystal anymore

December 9th, 2010
1:55 pm

Waterford Cyrstal was produced in Ireland. Their artisans have all died, as like here, their young folks are lazy and do not want to learn a trade. No, they are not obamarons. Waterford Crystal went to Eastern Europe about 8 or 10 years ago. The issue now is the huge drop off in their high quality. Poland and Chezk Republic are inconsistent with production. It is very much like Georgia Tech however, a program once great in the 1950s. Lately? Not much.

Rich T

December 9th, 2010
2:12 pm

Doug Roberson: “What is your pie-in-the-sky project?”

D-Rad’s off-the-record response: “Finding a way to get rid of Paul Hewitt without bankrupting the AA.”

JacketSteve

December 9th, 2010
2:13 pm

Doug, you call yourself a journalist with those questions? All you did was lob him softballs. I was excited when I saw Q&A with DRad but got absolutely nothing out of this interview. Your job is to ask the questions that we want answers to but don’t have the access to ask. His friends at a holiday cocktail party will ask him tougher questions than these.

I love what DRad has done for our athletic programs, but he needs to know that the alumni is not happy with the basketball program. I’m even to the point where I don’t care about it anymore. It’s hard for me to even believe that myself. I came in as a freshman with Duane Ferrell and got to know Mark Price, John Salley, Ivan Joseph and others during my time there. We used to camp out in the freezing cold to get tickets. We were pre-season #1 in the mid 80s. GT basketball was a huge part of ever student and fan’s year, especially mine, and now I don’t even care about it. If DRad wants donor $$$ he better realize that quickly and do something about it or else we’ll have a nice new empty facility.

Dawghater

December 9th, 2010
2:15 pm

Doug,
A lame Q&A. Can’t ask the tough questions for fear D Rad will cut off your interviews.

Try this Q&a
1. How long will you allow the Men’s Basketball team to underperform before your forced to make a coaching change.
2. How disappointed our you in the football program poor performance in 2010.
3. Can Tech expect to be a contender in football year after year?

Who care about construction projects. Are you a Civil Engineer or a sports reporter.

Dawghater

December 9th, 2010
2:19 pm

Hey “Sanford Drive”

First, this is a college “game”. It’s not life, it’s not life or death it’s a game. Wow, I guess from your blogs your overwhelmed by your win over Tech this year. Yes, I can tell your surprised

Next, UGA didn’t beat anyone with a decent record this year either. And yes I know that includes Tech.

Finally, both teams are terrible. Neither won 6 games vs. Div. One opponents and neither team deserves to be in a bowl game.

Yep, you won the Toilet Bowl this year. Congrats. You can tell by your blogs you never put on a pair of pads in your life. Now go torment your grandmother or someone smaller than you!

Dawghater

December 9th, 2010
2:23 pm

Sanford Drive – one other good one. Which school has the latest Nat’l Championship

GT 20 years ago
GA 30 year ago

Fact not fiction. And isn’t UGA suppose to win one every year.