Q&A with Brian Gregory, part II

New Georgia Tech basketball coach Brian Gregory took some time before visiting a recruit Tuesday night to share a bit more about his thoughts on the Good Word, being a plebe at Navy and Tech’s fans.

This is the second part of a two-part Q&A. Here’s part I.

AJC: Can you sing a few bars of “(I’m a) Ramblin’ Wreck”?

BG: I’ve not been taught that. I’m also looking forward to learning that. How does it go?

AJC: I’m a rambling wreck from Georgia Tech…..[ a bar or two later]

BG: Got it.

AJC: Do you know what the Good Word is?

BG: Something  like [rhymes with few] Georgia.

AJC: [Laughs]. Close. When someone asks, “What’s the good word?” You say “To hell with Georgia” or “THWG.”

BG: OK, got it.

AJC: Do your kids play sports?

BG: My oldest one Isabella plays soccer and Elyse is in basketball. Both are involved in dance.

AJC: Do you coach them?

BG: Noooo. I never say a word about anything. I’m a distant observer.

AJC: At one point at Dayton you seemed to have a different substitution pattern, kind of like a hockey pattern where a lot of kids would come in at the same time. Why?

BG: Not so much last year, but the two years previous our strength was we had 11 guys whose separation in terms of talent and skill wasn’t that great. We played a lot of bodies. We played at such a pace …those two teams were best served by playing 11 deep. When you play 11 deep your two or three quality guys, there’s not a clear separation between them and their backups. You use younger guys and energy guys who wouldn’t play as much but would definitely provide a spark.

AJC: One of the few less-than-positive things Paul Hewitt said after he was let go was the next coach is going to grow tired of being asked, “Are you going to be here next year?” Does it surprise you that there’s already a thread on one of the boards asking how long fans should wait before they start judging you?

BG: Well that’s part of the business nowadays. That comes with the territory. Obviously the program is not where the administration and our fanbase would like it to be right now. With that said, we’re excited about undertaking the process of changing that. There’s a lot of different factors that will go into doing that.

AJC: I’ve read you left the Naval Academy because you wanted to get into coaching. But you seem to have the type of personality that would appreciate and enjoy that type of education.

BG: I loved it there, and not many people say that about plebe year. It was the first time I got a glimpse of basketball-wise, just how successful a team could be that had unbelievable chemistry and leadership. From David Robinson to Vernon Butler and Kylor Whitaker. Those guys were the stars on the team and were  the most unselfish guys I’ve seen. Everything was about the team.

Militarily I loved that aspect; the discipline, the sacrifice, the leadership skills you were taught, the camaraderie that almost becomes innate.

At  the same time, I realized teaching and coaching were what I wanted to do. I made the tough choice to follow that. It was nothing to do with basketball or military.

I hung in there academically, but I wasn’t on the dean’s list. [He did become an Academic All-American at Oakland].

AJC: What would you say to the fans of Dayton? Naturally, some fans liked you and some were happy to see you go.

BG: When you look at the full body of work, we had to more or less completely rebuild the program after the first year because it was such a senior-dominated team. The three classes that followed the senior class, two of them only had one player that was ever recognized….only one 1,000-point scorer and he was the only guy who ever received all-league recognition. We stubbornly did it. We had to create a new culture there. The four years that we had all the players that we brought in were the four most successful years in the history of the program. I think there’s only 13 non-BCS schools that have made four consecutive postseason tournaments with at least one being the NCAA tournament. We were ranked in top 25 three of those four years.

Most important to me was we got the former players back involved in the program. My wife and I really engaged ourselves in that community. We graduated every single senior.

I feel good about where that program is at and what we accomplished. In this day and age, not everybody’s going to be satisfied. The important people to me were more than satisfied. We did everything the right way and we had a lot of success.

I’m not ashamed to say I loved the place, I loved the program, I loved the kids. The challenge at Georgia Tech at this particular time was right on the mark. That’s why this decision was made.

– Doug Roberson, AJC

71 comments Add your comment

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
1:28 pm

Good interview, Doug. Thanks

spiderman

March 30th, 2011
1:41 pm

Enjoyed the int, Doug. BTW, thanks for making sure Coach knows the THWG mantra.

Big Ol Stinger

March 30th, 2011
1:49 pm

I sure hope he can win because I like everything I’ve heard him say so far.

He’s killing the press conferences, that’s for sure.

NoShamSam

March 30th, 2011
2:01 pm

Good interview. I feel that I now know the coach much better.

Headley Lamar

March 30th, 2011
2:02 pm

AJC: Tech is obviously tough academically. You talked about embracing that challenge on Monday

List of scholars that got into Tech. The greatest academic institution the world has ever known.

1. Reggie Ball
2. Stephon Marbury
3. Kenny Anderson
4. Chris Bosh

Rhodes Scholars all and I think they all currently work for NASA. I hear they are heading up the team that’s planning the first manned mission to Mars.

Headley Lamar

March 30th, 2011
2:10 pm

List of top Colleges in America.

1 Harvard
2 Princeton
3 Yale
4 Columbia
5 Stanford
6 Penn
7 Cal Tech
8 MIT
9 Dartmouth
10 Duke
11 Chicago

20 Emory

35 Georgia Tech ( you arent even the top school in Atlanta )

56 University of Georgia ( Not that far behind really )

So spare me the Academics crap. Because that is what it is …. crap.

Its also a crutch when you guys lose. You can always just say, well if not for the Academics, and make yourself feel better after losing again.

gt fan

March 30th, 2011
2:11 pm

Bosh’s Sat score was high enough to get him into any school… the other 3 not so much

ormewood

March 30th, 2011
2:20 pm

GT Fan is correct. Bosh is a bright guy. Just because a kid leaves after one season does not make him academically-challenged.

Always a Jacket

March 30th, 2011
2:25 pm

Doug,

Thanks for more insight, I think I speak for most the Alum, Gregory’s priorities are better aligned with the fan base than previous coach. If he has mostly 20 win seasons at Tech, beats UGA on home court, NCAAs every other year, top 5 in ACC every few years, he will not have anything to worry about.

Hopefully, he is not taking any advice from Hewitt about the fans. Hewitt was right about asking if he would be around another year. I think it was a testimony to the tolerance of GT fans, understanding the Braine contract, and reasonable expectations not to boycott sooner.

Tech Fan

March 30th, 2011
2:31 pm

Do you think Headley is leaning off the side of a bridge somewhere typing those comments? Geez, what a sad sack of ish. LOL

The Academic Difference

March 30th, 2011
2:41 pm

UGA is a quality institution, but the reality is that the degrees offered by UGA include Dance, Art – with an emphasis in painting, Exercise and Sport Science, and Magazines (check their website). While GT does have offerings beyond engineering, there is a significant disparity in the breadth of offerings between these institutions. The disparity is a fact that influences the type of student athlete that is: 1)initally interested in the institution and 2)can ultimately succeed.

Ramblin Wreck

March 30th, 2011
2:51 pm

Ball, Marbury, and Anderson – Granted, granted, and granted. Bosh – hold your horses. VERY smart fellow. Just because he left early doesn’t mean he was dumb (Bill Gates, anyone?).

As for school rankings. 56 is not much worse than 35? Okaaaay. Not to mention that one of GT’s limiting factors is number and type of majors. Looking at individual degree programs, GT wipes the floor with most others.

I’m sick of people saying that athletes should be held to the exact same standard as regular students. They come as a package. Part of the athlete’s package is their athletic ability. They have to be able to hang in class, but they don’t have to be top-of-the-class to be considered worthy.

Luke

March 30th, 2011
2:51 pm

Top Public Universities according to USnews

1. University of Cal – Berkeley
2. Cal
2. Virginia
4. Michigan
5. North Carolina
6. William and Mary
7. Georgia Tech
7. Cal – San Diego

17. Florida
18. Ohio State
18. UGA
18. Maryland
18. Purdue

Sorry Headley, that we can’t all be the Harvard and the Princeton’s of the world, but when trying to field a D-I athletic program and being a specialized institution in engineering, it becomes a challenge because not everyone can participate in a bowling class. And before you start knocking our business management degree (which is ranked 50th according to Bloomberg), its definitely higher ranked then your highly esteemed Terry College of Business (57th), and how many of your basketball/football players are enrolled in that?

George Stein

March 30th, 2011
2:56 pm

Couple things, Headley.

First, you’ve identified four individuals over twenty years. Congrats.

Second, it’s one thing to be admitted. It’s another to be able to hack it once you’re in. Notbone ofthe players made four years. You unwittingly (shocker!) made the point for us.

Lastly, it’s important to note that Tech does not admit athletes at the NCAA minimum. UGA does. But don’t let facts get in your way.

GT CE 80

March 30th, 2011
3:05 pm

I agree with what the others have stated here (…and talking about the ones about CBG instead of college rankings). I didn’t know much about CBG before he was hired, so all I was going on was his overall won-loss record at Tulsa. At the time, I must admit, I was hoping for the Richmond coach. But the more I hear CBG talk, the more I like. And most importantly, I still trust DRad and figure he knows more than me or the other guys on the blogs. Good luck to CBG.

GTJACKETS

March 30th, 2011
3:07 pm

Thanks Doug. Glad you got him started on the fight song and Good Word! Hope he can talk Royal and Shump into staying. Shump would be ill-advised to leave for draft now. He could be mid-late 1st rd as opposed to mid-late 2nd this year.

BYRDDAWG

March 30th, 2011
3:13 pm

Much better than phewitt!

ormewood

March 30th, 2011
3:35 pm

Luke, you list Cal-Berkeley and Cal 1 & 2 in your list of public universities. Aren’t they one in the same? Could the other be UCLA?

Luke

March 30th, 2011
3:36 pm

Sorry, I get pissed when people try to skew facts and fail. I too, am warming up to the coach. Should be in for a good season.

Luke

March 30th, 2011
3:40 pm

Yeah. Sorry. UCLA is second. I just failed at reading.

GT Jason

March 30th, 2011
4:07 pm

He understands that everyone is holding their breath waiting to see how he does. If this was Hewitt, he’d make a snide comment about starting the job and people already not liking him. CBG specifically said that he wants to make the tournament next year (in his live press conference – though I havent seen that quoted anywhere here.) If he can go .500 in conference and beat all of the teams he should crush out of conference then he has a real chance. His worst seasons at Dayton would have gotten him into the tournament in the ACC.

DRad Fan 2

March 30th, 2011
4:19 pm

Headley,
My wife was at UGA during the Dooley era. She was in a class I believe they called “Industrial Arts 340″ which was basically the same course I had in HS called 9th grade wood shop. The exam had a question like name 20 tools such a claw hammer, cross-cut saw, etc. There were football players taking that class with her to stay elligible.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
4:35 pm

There is a Tech freshman and a THUGa freshman who both go to my church in Augusta. The THUGa freshman is home every weekend; the Tech freshman (who incidentally got a 4.0 his first semester) has been home 3 weekends since September, not counting the Christmas break. I would bet that most freshmen at THUGa live a pretty carefree life, while the Tech freshmen who care about getting a degree are studying their tails off. By the way, did you note that in the two lists above, Tech was one of only three engineering institutes Headley listed (pretty damn good, I would say) and the ONLY one Luke listed, thus making it the number 1 public engineering school (overall) in the country. What do you say to that, Headley?

brandy

March 30th, 2011
4:45 pm

Doug, how about asking him if he would consider hiring a former GT player as an assistant? I know he said he wants them to be part of the program again but would Gregory actually hire one of them as an assistant? Gregory talked about David Robinson and the great players at Navy, but GT can hold their own with the bb greats that played here. Is he familiar with any of them? I’m serious, just asking

Doug Roberson

March 30th, 2011
4:58 pm

He said he would consider hiring a former GT player as an assistant.

Headley Lamar

March 30th, 2011
5:00 pm

Jesus you guys can spin better than Bill Orielly.

Bottom line is tech takes dumb athletes like Stephon Marbury and Reggie Ball just like the other schools. You would take alot more of them if they would be willing to go to Tech. Alot more.

They aren’t so you blame it on Academics. But that isn’t the reason they don’t go to Tech. Its that they wanted to go to a big time program and Tech isn’t it.

Tech really lowers its admissions standards for Athletes to the point they really aren’t that different than any other SEC school.

Again you guys have and will continue to use Academics as a crutch. Its kind of funny and sad at the same time.

BYRDDAWG

March 30th, 2011
5:02 pm

Gregory & Fox could be banging heads(clipboards) for many yrs to come,,,,

Headley Lamar

March 30th, 2011
5:03 pm

but when trying to field a D-I athletic program and being a specialized institution in engineering, it becomes a challenge because not everyone can participate in a bowling class.

Does every Tech football player major in Engineering? Reggie Ball?

Didnt think so.

chris

March 30th, 2011
5:07 pm

Byrddawg leave Coach Hewitt out of this discussion he had some good years took Tech to the championship game in 2004. It was time for a change so leave it at that. Atleast he ran a good program no sanctions……………. And no jail guys like UGA

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
5:12 pm

So Headley, tell us what outstanding fields of study the dummies on the THUGa teams enroll in? Tech had an aerospace engineering major at center last year. Did the mutts have any pre-meds? Pre-med is probably as close as any major at THUGa can come to being difficult and having any credibility.

yellowfever

March 30th, 2011
5:12 pm

headley Lamar, did all uga football players major in drunken stupor, no valid drivers license,

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
5:13 pm

By the way, Headley, you mentioned Rhodes Scholars earlier. I guess you don’t know that Rhodes Scholars only come from liberal arts programs, not engineering ones.

Coach

March 30th, 2011
5:18 pm

Headley, the point is that No One —Nooooo One!!! —flunks out of UGA, nor would any of the guys you listed. That’s really the point that you make so well, isn’t it?

I love this coach already.

surfrider

March 30th, 2011
5:32 pm

One has to know where ratings analsyst’s natural bias’s lie. Remember teh Dawgs are top 10 in recruiting every year and Tech is top 50 if lucky. Bobby Ross only had one recruiting class in the top 20 and was the program to watch in the 90’s before he left. A good coach can win and win big at Tech. Have not been that glued to basketball in recent years but like the press conferences and verbals from New Coach. To win at Tech….recruiting, attrition, character, development and scheme. As for ratings in the 70’s Tech graduates ran more business’s in the south than any other school, for whatever that is worth.

UD fanz

March 30th, 2011
5:36 pm

He sure knows how to answer the questions and say all the right things to reel you folks in…
Like all coaches, the proof will be in the pudding. and remains to be seen.

BYRDDAWG

March 30th, 2011
5:45 pm

Hewitt fan did you change your name to Chris? Besides ‘04 his teams only one one NCAA tourney game, NEVER won the ACC tourney & was just 4-7 aginst my DAWGS! I’m not a hater just sayin….

bb

March 30th, 2011
5:46 pm

Headley, I once saw the media in Atlanta brag that a UGA football player (a senior at the time) could make his own sandwich. Said player seemed very proud of himself, he even demonstated his sandwich making prowess for the cameras. That said alot to me about the education the student(sic)-athletes at UGA were getting.

On the other end of the spectrum, how many rocket scientists or mechanical/electrical engineers has the UGA football team fielded?

Randy Carson

March 30th, 2011
5:50 pm

Headley Lamar: Does every Tech football player major in Engineering?

Answer: No, but quite a few of them do.

Question: The question is: does ANY UGA football player major in Engineering?

Answer: To be fair, a few could, I suppose. But your argument beyond that is laughable. There is no question that the academic rigors at Tech (and the majority of the ACC schools) make recruiting a challenge – especially when compared to the average SEC school.

BTW, did you notice how many ACC schools were ranked in the Top 30 Public Universities by US News? Seven. And although they are private schools, would you suggest that Duke and Wake are lightweights on the academic front? Didn’t think so.

Only two SEC schools made the list. Congratulations – UGA made it just ahead of Florida.

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
5:56 pm

Randy Carson, unless you have a different US News report than what Luke posted earlier, THUGa is BEHIND Florida.

Randy Carson

March 30th, 2011
6:04 pm

Is it possible that Butler, VCU, Gonzaga, and others are showing the world another way to achieve success on the court?

John Wall was the “it” player last year. Did Kentucky when a national championship with him?

Kyrie Irving was the “it” player this year. Did Duke when the national championship with him?

Did Michigan win the national championship with the Fab Five a few years back?

And how often did the European no-name teams trounce US teams loaded with superstars before Coach K righted that ship?

Perhaps a squad of experienced, motivated B-caliber players who work together as a team can achieve more consistency year in and year out than the program that relies more on the one-and-done A-players who enter college with their eyes already on the NBA.

I think that’s what Coach Paul Johnson knows about football…it will be interesting to see what Coach Gregory will do.

Randy Carson

March 30th, 2011
6:06 pm

Randy Carson, unless you have a different US News report than what Luke posted earlier, THUGa is BEHIND Florida.

You are right. I stand corrected.

Randy Carson

March 30th, 2011
6:09 pm

Sheesh…I’m keyboard challenged this afternoon.

One other point: obviously, my post should read “win a national championship” instead of “when a national championship”.

I’m used to forums that allow me to type quickly then edit after submission…I should proof-read more carefully before submitting my comments.

:>)

GT GRAD

March 30th, 2011
6:48 pm

This Headley Lamar fellow shows his iggnorrancce (spelled wrong to get by the filter) and blind bias with every post!

He even showed that he is an uneducated “lefty loony” when he insinuated that Bill O’Reilly is not truthful and honest (for the most part)…….wow what a loser Headley must be to write this sort of garbage!!

I feel bad for him…..he sounds really frustrated, sad, lonely and pitiful. I wonder if he any true friends or if anyone really likes to spend time with him? I sincerely hope this guy finds a way to let the bitterness and hatred go………this will lead to a little peace and happiness!

Go GT!

Good luck to Coach Gregory!

collegeballfan

March 30th, 2011
6:49 pm

Academics?

“The Association of American Universities (AAU) is an association of 63 leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada.

Membership in AAU is by invitation and is based on the high quality of programs of academic research and scholarship and undergraduate, graduate, and professional education in a number of fields, as well as general recognition that a university is outstanding by reason of the excellence of its research and education programs.

A membership committee of AAU presidents and chancellors periodically reviews universities for AAU membership; institutions recommended for membership must be approved by a three-fourths vote of the membership.”

Georgia Tech is a member.

In the SEC only Florida and Vandy are members.

UGA would love to be a member and one day they will be a member. President Adams has UGA on the correct path for membership.

Of course, if all that matters to you is football, then, well you condemn yourself.

GT GRAD

March 30th, 2011
6:52 pm

I would like to see Mark Price and/or Kenny Anderson as assistant coaches. They were both very successful point guards at GT and in the NBA. They would also help tremendously in recruiting players to play at GT.

I am very impressed with Coach Gregory so far. I think he is a great hire for GT. I am also waiting to see who he brings in as assistant coaches (assistant coaches are critical to the long term success of the program).

UD Barrister Boy

March 30th, 2011
7:14 pm

Hmmmmmm… You might want to take a look at the empirical data about BG and his predecessors and what has been accomplished. While BG was a HUGE improvement over Jim O’Brien who served two coaches before Mr. Gregory (the one that recently was axed by the Indiana Pacers, not the former head coach at Ohio State) anyone could have and should have improved the program. Oliver Purnell did just that It is also fair to point out that Brian Gregory had more personality than his immediate predecessor, Oliver Purnell, and BG was a better recruiter and spokesman for the program and the university as a whole.

What is not acceptable, however, is for BG to SPIN the objective data. Take a look at the numbers: the wins, the losses and the success inside and outside the conference. I stand by my earlier remarks. Brian Gregory by ANY objective measurement did not elevate the UD program. At best, he treaded water. For BG to state otherwise in his interview—implicitly or otherwise—-is simply not truthful.

GTGreg

March 30th, 2011
7:22 pm

I’m hesitant to respond to Hedy Lamarr, because that’s just what she wants, but she still doesn’t get that Tech does impose recruiting restrictions on itself by recruiting above the NCAA minimum… an inherent disadvantage that Georgie doesn’t nearly have to contend with. In fact, as the self purported flagship university in Georgia, they’re enhancing our state’s academic profile by bringing in some of the objectively dumbest students from such academic dynamos as Alabama and South Carolina. Every year there are players that simply can’t hack it getting into Tech, let alone staying in. I had a few classes with football players, and guess what? The ones that I noticed to be struggling ended up failing out! At UGA, the ones that would struggle in a sociology class or a calculus-based physics class end up graduating Magna Cum Laude, since they can take 13 credit hours of creative writing (everyone can write a story about a cat who climbed a tree, right?) or business principles (making a business plan for a food-on-a-stick shop isn’t rocket surgery either…) per semester to cover their rather insanely obvious deficiencies. Good luck with that chip on your shoulder Hedy.

I’ve warmed up to the Gregory hire. I’m excited to see what he can do here.

Wreckmaniac

March 30th, 2011
7:29 pm

Headley, please step in here more often and give us a shot of your defective brain. One thing we can always count on from you UGA boys is a laugh.

Wreckmaniac

March 30th, 2011
7:31 pm

I will be as humble as possible, but Tech is the highest ranked public engineering school in this nation.
How did we get to academics ? I don’t know but since we have we can certainly drag out many more superlatives. So can we get back to discussing our new coach ?

Supersize that order, mutt

March 30th, 2011
7:42 pm

Headley is like most of the mutts who post on here: he gets confused by actual facts.