Gregory fills out staff; baseball, softball updates

Greetings-

Hope you’re well. A couple notes:

1. Brian Gregory filled out his coaching staff Thursday by hiring Billy Schmidt, who was with Gregory for eight years at Dayton. He was Gregory’s top assistant.

I get the feeling this has been in the works for awhile. Schmidt, 41, was reportedly in the running for an assistant job at Michigan State for Tom Izzo, for whom Gregory once worked. Gregory and Schmidt have a considerable history. Prior to Dayton, they worked together at Northwestern under Kevin O’Neill in the late ’90s.

Tech fans will probably like this. In a poll of Atlantic 10 coaches by foxsports.com writer Jeff Goodman last fall, Schmidt was named the conference’s top assistant. The uber-connected Goodman, in fact, told the Dayton Daily News that Schmidt was no less than “the most underrated coach in the country.” (Though I’m not sure how you can be acknowledged by your peers as the best assistant in your conference and also be the most underrated coach in the country.) Goodman said Schmidt is “an old-school grinder. A lot of guys don’t make it under Brian Gregory because you have to work hard and you have to have thick skin.”

A comment, I’d note, that says something about Schmidt but also about Gregory.

Gregory also hired Amir Abdur-Rahim as his director of player development. Abdur-Rahim is a former Wheeler High Star (his brother is former Hawks star Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who, if you’re wondering, is now assistant GM of the Sacramento-for-now Kings) who previously was an assistant at Murray State. He’s another hire with significant local ties, following assistants Josh Postorino and Chad Dollar. While Abdur-Rahim isn’t allowed to recruit since he isn’t a coach, there’s nothing to stop him from going to high school games and making the rounds wearing his Georgia Tech polo shirt.

2. The Tech baseball team goes to Chicago Friday for a three-game series against Illinois-Chicago that runs Saturday through Monday. It’s Tech’s final non-conference series before finishing off the regular season with series against North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Given that the Flames are estimated to be ranked No. 210 in RPI while Tech is No. 8, this would appear to be something of a breather.

However, the Yellow Jackets are in need of a return to form, having lost three of their last four.

“I see it as an opportunity to just go get ourselves right, so to speak, heading into the last two weekends of the ACC,” coach Danny Hall said.

They Jackets, ranked No. 13 by Baseball America, are 10-10 in the last 20. Tech was hitting .333 after winning its 16th consecutive game March 27. Their batting average has dropped in the last 20 games to .307. The Jackets hit .168 in dropping their series to Clemson last weekend.

“It’s a combination of everything,” Hall said about Tech’s hitting woes. “But if I had to zero in on one, we’re not doing little things well. We’re not getting runners from second to third with nobody out. We’re not scoring them when there’s a runner on third and less than two outs. We’re not getting them in. Just the idea of putting the ball in play as opposed to striking out. We’re not doing the little things that’s going to lead to better offense.”

That said, there’s still time to get set up for the NCAA tournament. Boyd’s World, which keeps baseball RPI, estimates that Tech needs to finish 8-3 to hold onto its No. 8 RPI and thus have a reasonable shot at earning a national seed that would keep the Jackets at home through the super regionals.

3. Georgia Tech softball shortstop Kelsi Weseman is leading the ACC in batting average, home runs and RBI, as well as runs, doubles, total bases, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. That is amazing. Whoever has her in their college softball fantasy league must be loving life.

Tech, ranked No. 17 in the espn.com poll, plays its final regular-season series with a doubleheader Saturday and single game Sunday against Florida State at Mewborn Field. The Jackets will host the ACC tournament next weekend.

4. I had a cheesesteak and mushroom sandwich yesterday from Cheesesteak Place in Ansley Mall. I was kind of bummed because when I walked out, I saw that Moe’s had $3 burritos for Cinco de Mayo, but it was still pretty good. Pretty creative name for a cheesesteak place.

30 comments Add your comment

ss

May 6th, 2011
7:22 am

lets go tech! That softball team needs to excute to a 3rd straight leauge title!

Baseball team has enough time to figure out the weaknees…. They swing the bat this weekend, because Carolina comes in next weekend to Rusty C for probally a birth in the ACC tourney….. Step up boys!

NorthsideJacket

May 6th, 2011
7:26 am

Thanks Ken for your complete coverage of GT sports. We brought our young softball playing daughters to see their first college game last month against UNC and Kelsi hit 3 homers in the doubleheader. She is a player. On Coach Gregory, I really like the staff he has put together. On question, you state Abdur-Rahim is not a coach — what was he hired as?

Ken Sugiura

May 6th, 2011
7:37 am

probably should have included that, huh. he’s the director of player development. i’ll edit that in.

KM

May 6th, 2011
8:10 am

What does a player development gut actually do ?? academics, social ?

KM

May 6th, 2011
8:10 am

Who cares (the original)

May 6th, 2011
8:10 am

Ken, good job on the overall coverage. Before you would have never known that Tech baseball, golf and softball teams were any good, which they were. Do you plan on covering all sports such as swimming, track and tennis??

Go Jackets!!!

Who cares (the original)

May 6th, 2011
8:11 am

Player development is a way of having another assistant coach without that title

Go Jackets!!!

T-Bone

May 6th, 2011
8:29 am

Ken, you are doing an excellent job as the beat writer for Tech. Keep up the good work. GT fans/alums appreciate it. BTW, since DOB gives us his music reviews and song of the day, maybe you can do a review of the best local dives.

gt

May 6th, 2011
8:30 am

Compare the assistant coaching staff for Gregory to what we had last year. We will see a night and day change with practically the same players next year. Brandon Reed will take the place of Iman Shumpert, probably better right now. Shumpert may not be drafted for a reason, but may be leaving for a reason too. If Shumpert had played under this coaching staff he will be drafted in the second round, he has the talent; just needed a lot more work. I cannot think of a player under Cremins that did not go in the draft as high as his talent could carry him and in some cases higher. Hopefully for our players at Tech those days of underachieving are over. The fans are not the only ones getting cheated under the last coaching staff.

spider

May 6th, 2011
8:44 am

i think we are ok in baseball hosting 1st round but a super regional is not looking good, and lets face we have not done well in hosting super regionals so lets go on the road and see if we can improve our record in super regionals if we win 1st round.

BDayton

May 6th, 2011
9:19 am

No suprise on the Schmidt hire, Billy is great. Very hard worker and the heart and soul of the program in Dayton. Great rehire coach Gregory

JM

May 6th, 2011
9:31 am

looks like a pretty good staff. I can’t wait to see th break dow of who’s working the guards and who’s working the big men, etc.

Ken Sugiura

May 6th, 2011
9:38 am

KM – as i understand it, you’re on the right track. helping players, for lack of a better word, develop themselves.
thanks for the kind words. i’ll try to keep it up. i don’t know if i’ll be able to devote as much blog space and time to non-revenue sports in fall and winter as football and basketball take precedence, but i’ll try.

juvenal

May 6th, 2011
9:50 am

Ken, thanks-you have set yourself a pretty high bar, we’re gonna get spoiled……..

GStateBen

May 6th, 2011
10:33 am

Great hires by Gregory and a smart man. The Tech and Georgia State hires both come from the MidWest but both understand the right thing to do when recruiting Atlanta.

For those confused about the Abdur-Rahim hire, this is why Georgia State football coach hired Joe Hamilton as a Special Assistant. It’s invaluable having guys that were local legends around the program and will have a direct impact in recruiting even if he’s not actively recruiting any Tech prospect.

CoolBreeze

May 6th, 2011
10:34 am

This should end the speculative questions about why CBG was not rading his former Dayton staff. Looks like good hires all. I am expecting to see the effort level go up. When that happens, usually the results do, too.

GT BBall

May 6th, 2011
10:50 am

Thanks Ken – Great GT updates. I like the makeup of this staff and can’t wait ot see the new product on the court.

Also try Woody’s cheesesteaks at Monroe and 10th street – Good Eats!

Jack G

May 6th, 2011
11:40 am

Ken
Your coverage of GT Sports is like turning on a light.—Thanks

Born2Buzz

May 6th, 2011
1:01 pm

1. Good hire for Gregory, or should I say re-hire. Agree with gt above. This staff’s assistants are night and day from the old staff.
2. We haven’t had much luck hosting the Super Regional, so maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to play away for that one, IF they can make it through the first round.
3. Ken, if anybody is actually in a Softball fantasy league, I feel sorry for them.
4. I’m liking you more and more with each post, Mr. Sugiura.

Delbert D.

May 6th, 2011
1:56 pm

Old school grinder sounds good. Put the would-be prima donnas back in the opera where they belong.

Eric

May 6th, 2011
2:30 pm

Ken – best cheesesteak in Atlanta = Roy’s Cheesesteaks off South Cobb Dr. Give it a try!

Keep up the great work Ken!

May 6th, 2011
3:41 pm

You’re da man Ken. I’m a GT grad living in NY and it’s refreshing to see Tech sports covered so well in your blog. The coaching staff that CBG has put together can go head to head with any staff in the country. The future of GT b-ball is looking bright!

BBQ

May 6th, 2011
4:12 pm

Yep, Tech’s baseball team struggling in May….familiar story. Those boys need to get over that mental hump and get it done.

Jacket Backer

May 6th, 2011
4:44 pm

GoJackets

May 6th, 2011
7:58 pm

Our baseball team annually peaks in March. Need to change that this year but it will be tough with so many freshmen in the lineup daily.

mo

May 6th, 2011
9:32 pm

just saying

May 6th, 2011
9:39 pm

I wish somebody would inform BG that most GT people aren’t that impressed with Michigan State/Izzo and to please quit dwelling on it. After all Bobby Cremins had a more successful era than they did and two, Hewitt even had more impressive years so I do not know why I am suppose to be in awe of hearing anything about that place.

And so you hired your assistant at Dayton, I congratulate you because I know how hard it was to keep you from hiring all those assistants to run the Ga Tech program. After all GT is in need of a bunch of Div IAA coaches to run the ACC. Just fyi, I do realize you won the NIT two years ago but the NCAA kind of looks at that like that makes you the 65th best team in the country and Cremins put you out in the first round this past year of the NIT so I guess that is why you limited hiring Dayton assistants to only one.

just saying

May 6th, 2011
9:40 pm

give my regards to Izzo and Heathcote and tell them Kenny Anderson says hello

Turnt_Up!

May 8th, 2011
8:12 am

@just saying: As a Tech alum here, I am wondering if you are aware of the incredible amount of success Izzo and MSU has had. They have won a national championship, and went to 5 final-fours since 1997. Um, that pretty much trumps anything Cremins and Hewitt did put together.
I hope Gregory and his staff at the very least, acquire all the in-state top studs, and go back to having our pick of the litter locally.

Ken Sugiura

May 8th, 2011
1:32 pm

thanks, eric. will keep that in mind.
and thanks for all the kind words.