Looking at arguments against Hewitt

On every blog I post about Georgia Tech’s basketball team the comments usually turn into a roulette wheel of all the reasons that coach Paul Hewitt should be fired. Of course, that means that athletics director Dan Radakovich must pay the $7.2 million buyout that Hewitt’s contract demands, unless a settlement can be reached.

With this season drawing to a close, I thought it might be interesting to bring up some of the most-oft used reasons and do some more research to find out what has credence and what doesn’t so that the conversation might be more balanced.

 1. He doesn’t develop players/look at how well his players do in the NBA: I think these two things are related because many of you see a player like Chris Bosh, who is one of the most effective big men in the NBA, and ask “why didn’t he do more of that at Tech?”

Since Hewitt took over, seven players have made the ACC’s All-Freshmen team. Just one of those players, B.J. Elder, later made the All-ACC team in a different year(s), which is one arbitrary way to measure if players are developing. Would Ed Nelson (2002, before transferring to UConn after the 2003 season), Chris Bosh (2003), Thaddeus Young (2007) and Javaris Crittenton (2007) made a few more all-conference teams had they stuck around, in many of their cases for more than one season? Seems plausible. The same is true for Derrick Favors (2010).

On the flip side are players like Jarrett Jack and Gani Lawal, who didn’t make the all-freshman team but developed into two-time all-conference performers later.

Many of those players are having productive NBA careers.

There have been 12 Yellow Jackets drafted or signed as undrafted free agents since the 2001 NBA Draft, which would be the first draft after Hewitt had a full season to coach.

Have other coaches done more with less talent? Yes. Have other coaches done less with more? You betcha. Since many of you seem to think Tech should be the equivalent of North Carolina in basketball (and I can’t think of two schools that are more different), how many national championships did Dean Smith win compared to all the talent that came through Chapel Hill? Jim Boeheim at Syracuse is another example.  How many years before John Wooden won a title? (Again, using national championships as the barometer).

I’m not saying that Hewitt is the greatest developer of talent. I have no idea if he’s good at it or not. I can see why some of you are infuriated with the results when you look at the rosters.

I also know that it’s hard to build teams and maintain expectation levels when players can leave and start their career after just one season. Which brings us to our next big complaint:

2. He recruits too many one and dones: Of all the reasons thrown out, this is the most bizarre to me. Everyone may think they know what a 17- or 18-year old is going to do, but until they do it, you can never be certain. If Hewitt weren’t trying to recruit NBA talent he would be villified for that. When he does, and gives a young man a chance to decide if he wants to continue his education, fans come down him for providing an opportunity. Yall can’t have it both ways.

Remember that until 1995, NBA teams rarely selected college underclassmen. The next year the floodgates opened on that possibility. So those teams that are held up as examples of what is possible at Tech likely wouldn’t have done as much if the NBA’s draft rules and philosophies were different.

Why do the players leave Tech? There are many reasons, including it’s a very, very hard school that offers few majors for the “right-brained” that plays in arguably the toughest conference in the country. And please don’t think that if the NFL suddenly lowered it’s “3-year rule” to more closely resemble the NBA’s “1-year rule” that players would stay in college instead of pursuing a paycheck? Please.

3. His win-loss record in the ACC is horrible. Yes, it is. Even going against three Hall-of-Fame coaches every year in Mike Krzyzewski, Gary Williams and Roy Williams, it’s hard to understand how the Jackets are 70-102 in the ACC w ith just one season with a winning conference record, since Hewitt took over. There aren’t a lot of stats that can wipe that one away. I guess had a few of those players stuck around that record would likely be much better, but who knows?

I don’t envy the decision that Radakovich must make.

On the one hand, he’s got a fan base that is in upheavel. Paid-attendance has dipped below 6,000. It’s similar to Bobby Cremins’ last year when paid attendance averaged 6,399. There are many reasons that fans aren’t coming as they once were, but dissatisfaction with the program is a popular one. And it’s understandable.

I’ll bet there’s not more than 4,500 fans at tonight’s game against Virginia.

Plus, how difficult might it be, should he decide to go in a different direction, knowing that the team doesn’t have a home game next year. Games will likely be split between Philips Arena and Gwinnett Arena while AMC is gutted and re-built. Attendance next year will likely be even lower, I would think. If you were a potential candidate on Tech’s list, would you want to start your Tech career with no home and playing in front of potentially half-filled arenas? Granted, the next year the $45-million Hank McCamish Pavilion will open, but still.

Plus, there’s the amount of the buyout itself. To fire one man would cost the Georgia Tech Athletics Association the equivalent of 13.1 percent of its annual operating budget. That sum wouldn’t be paid out in a lump, so it’s not like there’s one big hit. But remember that the GTAA is still paying former football coach Chan Gailey. The last payment on that buyout occurs Jan. 2012.

I’m sure some of you will again say that I’m a Hewitt apologist. I’m not anyone’s apologist. I’m just trying to bring some civility and level-headedness to your conversations.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

349 comments Add your comment

Dawglasville

February 22nd, 2011
10:28 pm

Civility and level-headedness are not the stuff sports fans are made of Doug.

Gtalumna

February 22nd, 2011
10:33 pm

Well thought out and insightful comments. I don’t envy Dan’s decision.

buzztard

February 22nd, 2011
10:34 pm

so I guess his total ineptness on offensive strategy isn’t a myth

NoCoach Blewitt

February 22nd, 2011
10:36 pm

Are you comparing Dean Smith’s lack of National Championships to mediocre (that is being generous) play for 7 years in a row? Good grief you only proved everyone’s point on how big of a donkey F HEW truly is

Coach(sic) Paul Johnson

February 22nd, 2011
10:37 pm

Georgia Tech has lost 5 of their last 6 football games, only beating Duke.

Georgia Tech only graduates 43% of their football players.

agt45

February 22nd, 2011
10:39 pm

I challenge you to find a coach who has put more players in the NBA with a wose win loss record than Paul Hewitt. No one in college hoops has “done less with more” than him.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ryan N, ajcgatech. ajcgatech said: Favorite myths about Hewitt http://bit.ly/gsQm0L [...]

KL GT Alumn

February 22nd, 2011
10:47 pm

I agree with Point 3… Hewitts ACC record is deplorable and embarassing. Bobby Cremins ACC record was134–150. Maybe Bobby’s winning percentage is not much better, but at least he had 10 winning or .500 seasons in ACC play. Hewit has had one (1) winning season in the ACC. ONE is 10years of coaching. It is embarassing to even refer to him as an ACC Coach. Please let him take his Helter Skelter gameplan to the SEC where it might just work.

Georgia Fan

February 22nd, 2011
10:52 pm

Please keep Hewitt and Johnson forever!!

Ben

February 22nd, 2011
10:53 pm

Not a bad point regarding the chaos of next season’s schedule. Let Hewitt stay through that while spending the next year contemplating various replacements.

CogitatusofBorg

February 22nd, 2011
10:53 pm

Heres a Hewitt myth: He can coach in the ACC.

Biff Pocoroba

February 22nd, 2011
11:00 pm

You missed one big point. Hewitt got Tech put on probation two years ago and we lost two scholarships. He survived that because he had Favors coming in the next year. DRad should have fired him then and he could have had reason not to pay the buy out.

GT94

February 22nd, 2011
11:03 pm

Paul Hewitt is so bad, that I am embarrassed to say that he coaches for the institute that I love. I cant even fool myself into thinking what if so long as he patrols the sidelines.

thad motta seems to do just fine

February 22nd, 2011
11:12 pm

as do others year after year after year inspite of losing players early to the nba.

just another lame excuse that phew and his homers use.

just imagine….. we will have almost 30 million invested in hewitt over 11 years and for what?

and doug you need to actualy look at the real attendance at some of the games. they may show 6000 payed but we have seen gt fans pan the arena and if there was more than 3000 phew will kiss your butt……

thad motta seems to do just fine

February 22nd, 2011
11:13 pm

pan the arena using a cam corder….. oops

NoCoach Blewitt

February 22nd, 2011
11:13 pm

Doug, why don’t you add those astonishing graduation rates to the article??? I mean one couldn’t even match them even if it were their only goal.

Georgia Hoo

February 22nd, 2011
11:14 pm

Keeping a coach because you already expect poor attendance next year makes no sense and Dan knows that. You don’t continue to set back a program just because you don’t expect many people in the stands for a year anyway. You build a program for the future.

Having said that, the only reason for keeping Coach H is because you think things will get better, both in the short and long term. I would like to believe that but I think it’s painfully obvious that it’s not going to happen

GTBob

February 22nd, 2011
11:14 pm

Your point about us playing away from home next year is a very valid one and may be the only way we keep Hewitt. The record against the ACC is enough to get him fired. He doesn’t seem capable of motivating the team for road games either. Plus we are about to have our 3rd losing season in the past 4 years and 4th in the past 6. The guy just can’t win.

NoCoach Blewitt

February 22nd, 2011
11:17 pm

I am being censored because I want to discuss his graduation rates? LOL

WhiteNGold

February 22nd, 2011
11:27 pm

I don’t really agree with the comment that Tech fans compare Tech to UNC, and I don’t even understand your point in bringing up Dean Smith. We should cut Hewitt slack because Smith only won two national championships despite all his talent? That’s a pretty small part of Dean’s body of work. He is a legend of a coach. In 36 season he won the ACC 17 times. Hewitt is in his 11th year and only 1 winning record like you mentioned. No one is comparing Hewitt to Dean Smith, and no one is saying Hewitt needs to go because he doesn’t compete for national championships. It’s because we are bottom tier of the ACC.

WhiteNGold

February 22nd, 2011
11:32 pm

I mean the sentence before you mention Dean Smiths is “Have other coaches done less with more? You betcha.” Are you saying Dean Smith did less with more? That blows my mind. He did more with more, but it’s not like he squandered Jordan.

TomB

February 22nd, 2011
11:33 pm

Doug, it really comes down to point 3 in your write up actually. No apologists needed. Coaches are evaluated on wins vs loses. Pretty simple actually. Hewitt is a good man who has represented Tech well, but you must win more than 41 percent of your conference games if you want to keep your job. Like Gregg Anthony said the other day, in ten seasons as head coach, Paul Hewitt has only had one winning conference season. That’s just not getting the job done. Bye.

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 22nd, 2011
11:40 pm

Keep Paul Hewitt and Paul Johnson for life.

Got to be kidding

February 22nd, 2011
11:42 pm

only reason he is still here at tech, is that we can’t get out of his contract. period, end of discussion. 13.1% of the operating budget… in real $’s its’s well over 7 million $.

GT is a 4th rate high school team

February 22nd, 2011
11:42 pm

Hewitt and Johnson forever. Lossers, ile.

Tech Fan Since 1950

February 22nd, 2011
11:44 pm

Doug, your summary is well written. My biggest problem has been the one and dones. Yes, it certainly makes sense to have the best talent, but the problem has been that these one and dones have disrupted the building of a consistent program for Tech. The great Tech teams for the most part have had players who spent at least three years in the Tech program. Tech academics are tough, but that is not the problem. You can be what you want to be with a Tech degree. I also believe, as I have stated before, that the entire Tech athletic program needs to be mentally tougher and raise the bar for expectations. This goes for administrators, coaches and student/athletes. I think this has been especially true of the basketball program in recent years and even the football and baseball programs too. We might have the talent on some of these teams from time to time, but I am not convinced they are always trained/coached to be consistent winners/champions. Duke has made a commitment to win basketball games and they tough their way to do it. While Duke may be on the verge of making progress in football, they haven’t in the past 40 years made the same commitment as in basketball and it shows. There is no reason Tech can’t have great basketball teams in Atlanta again, but commitment has to replace mediocrity. Commitment is not just one person’s job, but must include all of us Jackets.

Wreck

February 22nd, 2011
11:48 pm

Dear Dan Radakovich,

FIRE PAUL HEWITT.

Love,
Georgia Tech fans

oldandntheway

February 22nd, 2011
11:52 pm

He’s not a good coach at this level. I can’t even watch anymore. He has got to go.

Hairy Dawg

February 22nd, 2011
11:53 pm

Seems to me that the biggest issue here is Hewitt’s buyout. Otherwise, he’d already be gone.

Paul in RDU

February 22nd, 2011
11:57 pm

Doug,
I think you have written a good post and tried mightily to keep it to facts and not opinions. Like some of the other bloggers I disagree with your comparison to Dean Smith. Dean coached in 11 Final Fours, won 13 ACC tourney titles and graduated 96.6% of his players – just a little better than Hewitt.
To me the biggest knock in Hewitt is that since the ACC expanded, not including this year, GT has the worst regular season conference record of any team.

sports

February 23rd, 2011
12:03 am

7.2 million for a less than average high school coach…what a joke!

BuzzGT

February 23rd, 2011
12:07 am

The only stat that matters now is attendence. You can’t keep letting your fan base deteriorate. How hard is it going to be to recruit top level players to come play in an empty arena?

moboman

February 23rd, 2011
12:12 am

If your comparison with UNC is intimating that Tech is a harder school academically and that is why players leave, then shift the comparison to Duke. The argument doesnt hold. Players leave because that is their intention.

William Satterwhite

February 23rd, 2011
12:12 am

The point about other coaches doing less with more is kind of hollow (at best)- I don’t think any Tech fans are demanding National Championships every year from the talent Hewitt has brought in, just a level of consistent success. After this season, Hewitt will have had more losing seasons at Tech in just the last three seasons (2) than the three coaches mentioned suffered in 99 total years of coaching (1). I don’t think Tech fans demand National Titles or even ACC titles, I think Tech fans would be satisfied with simply qualifying for a postseason tournament every year.

ghj

February 23rd, 2011
12:21 am

Please KEEP Hewitt! Great job Braine!

Old School

February 23rd, 2011
12:24 am

@RDU: thanks for pointing this out:

“To me the biggest knock in Hewitt is that since the ACC expanded, not including this year, GT has the worst regular season conference record of any team.”

And also as someone pointed out: ONE winning conference season during his ENTIRE tenure.

Championships are nice, but I just want Tech to be freakin’ competitive again!

Obviously now, the NC Game appearance was a fluke or a “Perfect Storm” of talent and high-achievers. Or both.

Consider Hewitt’s entire body of work and his non-competitiveness, save maybe two seasons, in the ACC and this is a no-brainer.

Oh—thanks Doug for pointing out that his buy-out would NOT be a lump sum. Didn’t know that. This makes it even more of a no-brainer when it comes to the financial side of the issue.

The Countdown is on! What is it, 22 days until Roll-Over or Get Lost to Paul Hewitt?

Please end the misery and disaster that Tech basketball has become. If by some incomprehensible miracle Hewitt is still here when the new place is built, the arena will be the biggest White Elephant in sports history.

BTW, could Tech do what some MLB teams do with some of their players and offer another school to pay a chunk of his salary if they take him.

Or may he will end his own humiliation, as well as that of Tech, and offer to negotiate a settlement if he leaves.

moboman

February 23rd, 2011
12:25 am

Hewitt is a fine individual with admirable qualities, but no ACC game. Sorry to say.

Paul in RDU

February 23rd, 2011
12:36 am

ACC regular season records since expansion (doesn’t include 2010-11)

Duke 59-21 – 4 winning seasons, 0 losing seasons
UNC 55-25 – 4 winning seasons, 1 losing season
MD 46-34 – 2 winning seasons, 1 losing season
FSU 43-37 – 3 winning seasons, 2 losing seasons
CU 42-38 – 3 winning seasons, 2 losing seasons
BC 40-40 – 3 winning seasons, 2 losing seasons
VT 40-40 – 3 winning seasons, 2 losing seasons
WF 35-45 – 2 winning seasons, 3 losing seasons
UVA 32-48 – 1 winning season, 4 losing seasons
NCSU 30-50 – 1 winning season (under Sendek), 4 losing seasons
UM 30-50 – 4 losing seasons
GT 28-52 – 4 losing seasons
The results speak for themselves

James

February 23rd, 2011
12:36 am

Fire Paul Hewitt after the season and bring back Bobby Cremins.

Chuck Allison

February 23rd, 2011
12:37 am

After years of disgust and embarassment, civility and level-headedness is not what we are looking for. We just want Paul Hewitt gone now or sooner! You didn’t even mention the worst graduation rate in the ACC or Paul’s extracurricular activities where he advocated that OL should not sign with schools that have white football coaches. He has also said that his passion is to help “black” players make it to the NBA, and he has never apologized for that.

Tech Forever

February 23rd, 2011
12:56 am

Doug,

Point #1 Rebuttal – Paul Hewitt has done less with more than anyone in the country. We have West and Morrow displaying talent at the professional level no one at Tech knew existed. we have two, TWO, first round big men last year neither of which averaged 14 points per game…..TWO OF THEM!!!!!

Point #2 Rebuttal – I absoultely will fault him for recuiting kids he full well knows might bail from Tech after one year. Lots of coach are very open about their attitudes regarding these type players and they avoid them at all cost only getting caught up in the kid’s decision after he’s on campus. Want names? Coach K is one; in his tenure he’s rarely has kids leave after three years much less one, and Mark Turgeon at Texas A&M has publically stated he recruits what he calls “4 year players.” Can he help it if one leaves after a year? No. But will he recruit a Bosh, Young, Favors type who openly admits in HS that the fastest path possible to the NBA is their goal? Hell no.

pcb mike

February 23rd, 2011
1:00 am

JUST FIRE HIM.

Paul in RDU

February 23rd, 2011
1:15 am

Coach K doesn’t recruit players who leave early?
Corey Magette, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Mike Dunleavey, Eldon Brand, Jason Williams, Shavlik Randolph, Carlos Boozer have all left early for the NBA in the last 11 years.
Hewitt has lost 6 – Bosh, Jack, Young, Crittenton, Favors and Lawal

GIVE ME A BREAK

February 23rd, 2011
1:21 am

Tech Forever, I agree completely. ” GO JACKETS “

uga-brave

February 23rd, 2011
1:42 am

paul johnson with his elitist attitude is going to drown your football program.

uga-brave

February 23rd, 2011
1:45 am

he is gonna drown your football program. you just dont see it yet.

he thinks he can outcoach everyone.

William Satterwhite

February 23rd, 2011
1:48 am

If I’m not mistaken only 3 Duke players have actually left school early (Magette, Deng and McRoberts), the rest all only left school after graduating early.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rachel Carney, Daniel Arlt. Daniel Arlt said: Looking at arguments against Hewitt: Since many of you seem to think Tech should be the equivalent of North Caro… http://bit.ly/eJcEHD [...]

Mountain Dawg

February 23rd, 2011
3:19 am

Here’s hoping you idiots enjoy your “7.2 Milllion Dollar Bath”. Rub-a Dub-Dub!!!

Stinger 2

February 23rd, 2011
4:13 am

Doug: You have made some good points on this post. The problem is that most GT baksetball fans are so flustrated
with Hewitt to the point they will not listen or even think rationally about any other aspects of the situation.