Radakovich Q&A, part I

Greetings,

We ran a Q&A with athletic director Dan Radakovich last week, linked here. There were a few things he talked about that I didn’t include for space reasons that I didn’t include that I thought were interesting, including answers to questions that were abbreviated or omitted entirely, including positives/negatives of the year, the impact of the new ESPN contract, the scheduling of games at Philips and Gwinnett arenas, football ticket sales and the issue of paying scholarship athletes stipends.
I’ll post half Tuesday and the rest Wednesday, along with some comments.

Q: What was the biggest positive development and biggest disappointment of the year?
A: The biggest positive development has been that philanthropy, as it relates to the building of buildings, continues to be very strong. A year ago, while we were hoping that we would be able to build an indoor practice facility, it was the generosity of John and Mary Brock that allowed it to really get on the fast track. And now, at the end of July, our football team will have an indoor facilty and a new practice environment that’s phenomenal.
The tennis facility that we are in really deep design issues right now has moved to this point beaue of the generosity of Trish and Ken Beyers, who stepped up and made the lead gift for that particular facility. Because of the McCamish family and their forethought a couple of year ago, we’re now re-doing the coliseum and making a basketball facility that we think will be very fan-friendly and relevant and continue to have our basketball programs, from a facility standpoint, relevant for the next 25 years.
So those are all really, really positive things.
From the disappointing category, I think that in some ways, there was no way to go but down. In the ‘09-’10 (academic year), we had the best athletic year we ever had as it relates to wins and losses. So this year we kind of moved back a little bit in some of our sports, but that’s going to happen.
The other teams have coaches that they pay and student-athletes that are on scholarships. We hope that’s just a one-year aberration and we can get back to doing some of the things that we’re accustomed to and our fan base is accustomed to and our student-athletes are accustomed to.

My two cents: While I jumped in late this year, I’d agree. No one team had a phenomenal year and, in the big picture, being able to break ground on a new basketball arena and an indoor football facility (as well as start the process for a tennis complex) are pretty big.
As for the disappointment, I thought he might mention having to end Paul Hewitt’s term at Tech, but, again, his answer was bigger picture. Unrelated, while I’ve often heard the “the other guys get paid to make plays, too” line from professional athletes and coaches, I’ve never heard it at the college level. Not a judgment, just an observation.

Q: The baseball team had a strong regular season, particularly with such a young team, but had a disappointing postseason again. How do you assess the season?

A: I think that we did have a great year. This may have been one of Danny (Hall)’s best coaching jobs that he’s ever done considering the large number of first-year players that contributed to our team. I think as we look forward, there’s a lot of reason for optimism.
There are teams out there that are still playing that are dominated by people who are at a more upper-class level. There’s no substitute for experience. … I know each one of those players wanted to win very badly as did our coaching staff.
It hasn’t happened to the degree that we would have liked. We know that it can happen. We’ve been to Omaha, we’ve won ACC championships, so it’s not a question of knowledge or understanding of the game or those types of things. We have to find that little difference.
I know that Danny and his staff are going to continue to work with our players and make sure that they can achieve that because they certainly want it and we do as well.

My two cents: About as strong an endorsement of Hall as you could imagine. I think, overall, Hall does deserve a lot of credit for the season in total given how young (17 freshmen) the team was. Obviously, losing at home in an NCAA regional for the third year in a row leaves a bad last impression. But the team overachieved in the regular season, tying a school record for ACC wins. Still, in a follow-up answer, he noted that he’d meet with Hall as usual after the season to talk about how the team can improve.

Q: I’d say the golf team is the strongest in campus. What do you think?
A: I’d have to ask the strength coach. (Laughs) I think I know what you mean. Certainly, Bruce (Heppler) and his assistant Christian Newton have done a phenomenal job of pulling together a preeminent group of student-athletes. They do incredibly well in the classroom, they do great on the golf course. Third straight ACC championship, that says it all. And this is a very difficult league as it relates to golf.

I think getting through the stroke play (portion of the NCAA championships, where Tech was in second place before the match-play segment of the tournament, where it lost in the first round) in a good postion says a lot. Match play is a totally different animal and I think I’ll be interested in talking with Bruce as we sit down and have that same kind of meeting (as he had with Hall) – What are the things that he sees as a coach now that the match play is something that is moving forward, how do we take the time in either the fall season or early in the spring season to prepare to be competitive in a match-play circumstance?

[Match play] is not normal. Normal is you go out and you play you play your ball, you count ‘em up at the end and see which four guys had the best score and count them.
This is a little different. We need to be able to strategize as to how best we can maximize our capabilties as it relates to continuing to be really competitive in golf.

My two cents: This was an interesting answer to me. I expected Radakovich to rave about how great the golf team is, which he did. Tech finished the year ranked No. 2 in the country. The team certainly makes the school and the athletic association look good.
However, the Jackets had as good a shot as anybody in the country to win, but fell short in their bid to win their first NCAA title. I’d say it’s like being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and losing in the regional finals.
It’d be easy to give the team a pass, particularly since it’s non-revenue, but Radakovich wasn’t satisfied and wants better. As I noted in the blog Monday, there are already plans to convert the practice facility from a range to a nine-hole par-3 course, part of the rationale being to give players more opportunities to compete and get better at match play.

Q: Will the extra money coming from the new ESPN contract be earmarked for anything?
A: We didn’t allocate, ‘Here’s this extra, whatever it ends up being, $2.5, $3 million a year and here’s what we’re going to do with it.’ It’s really, how does it fit in? Those moneys are going to continue to come in over time, so how are those going to affect us longer term? We’re not going to take a portion of it, at least we haven’t at this point in time, said, ‘We’re going to take a portion of it and do X.’ It’s just going to become part of our revenue base moving forward.

My two cents: Without knowing much about Tech’s financial plan, it makes sense to me. You could say it would be wise to put it towards debt service on all the projects — the debt is about $170 million — but, as my friend Matt Christian likes to say, ‘You gotta spend money to make money.’ (Matt, you’ll be interested to know, is a pastor. Yes, his last name is Christian. Self-fulfilling prophecy, I guess.)
Perhaps it’s wiser to help produce a better football and men’s basketball team to increase revenues.
Further, the debt has been refinanced at a pretty decent rate. Moreover, there have been budget cutbacks in recent years. I’d think it’d be hard to tell your marketing people to sell more tickets or your swimming coach to bring in faster swimmers (hypothetically speaking) when you’ve reduced their budget and, when you get more revenue, you don’t give it back to them.
This is apropos of nothing, but I think “moneys” is a funny word. I guess you know you’ve got a lot of it when you refer to it in the plural. (This wasn’t really two cents. More like a nickel.)

Q: Do you know how you’ll divde up men’s basketball games between Philips and Gwinnett arenas?
A: We do know that. It’s our plan right now and we’ll be corresponding with our season-ticket holders shortly but we will have 10 games at Philips Arena – the eight ACC games plus the game against Alabama plus the ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against Northwestern. Those 10 games will be part of the season ticket that will be sold at Philips Arena. The other games, the other four or five games that are played, the non-confence games will be at Gwinnett, and we’ll sell those on a per-game basis.

My two cents: I imagine it might have been tempting to include all the games in a season-ticket package and essentially force buyers to pay for the non-conference games in Gwinnett even if they knew they were unlikely to attend them, based on the distance, the quality of the opponent and, perhaps, the quality of Tech’s team. From a customer-service and perhaps even a sales standpoint, I’d say it was wise to pass on that option.
There is going to be some rough sledding this winter. I think the best Tech can hope for is that this team fights hard, pulls off an upset or two and shows promise for when McCamish Pavilion opens in 2012. Also, for what it’s worth, all of the women’s games will be at Gwinnett.

Thanks for reading. The rest will be up Wednesday. Please follow on Facebook and Twitter!

49 comments Add your comment

lanier

June 21st, 2011
7:52 am

did he say anything about football in the 2nd part

GT Fan

June 21st, 2011
7:55 am

Radokovich and CPJ need to find a way to market the Jacket’s football program better to the city of Atlanta. There’s no excuse to not filling Bobby Dodd Stadium every game day considering the millions that live in the city!

CPJ – let’s put some excitement into the game.

gt4ever

June 21st, 2011
8:13 am

How about the football team….. I mean how long can you live off ONE ACC championship that was won with another coaches players…. The recruiting that is NOT happening….The football program is the number 1 revenue sport…. How long can this last going 6 and 7 or worse….

Ken Sugiura

June 21st, 2011
8:32 am

lanier and GT fan – football ticket sales are addressed in part ii.
gt4ever – how long can paul johnson live off one acc championship? it wasn’t like it was years ago. i think it’s probably fair to give him more than one season before we put him on the hotseat.

Big Macon Dawg

June 21st, 2011
8:47 am

22k season tickets sold.

More evidence that your program is closer to highschool football than college.

CPJ Supporter

June 21st, 2011
8:53 am

I agree with you Ken, and have appreciated all of the nice coverage you’ve been doing so far this summer. Paul Johnson has won everywhere he’s been, and at Tech, he was fortunate to not have a huge rebuilding effort at the beginning of his tenure.

Unfortunately, the program took a step back last yea. But hopefully, with a lot of young players stepping in this year, CPJ can get his type of guys in the action with the same mentality he tried to force onto the previous regime’s recruits. Give CPJ 2 more years, and if the boat is heading in the wrong direction, consider all of the coaching options.

CPJ Supporter

June 21st, 2011
8:54 am

CPJ Supporter

June 21st, 2011
8:56 am

@Big Macon Dawg

Worry about your program before worrying about ours.

George P. Burdell

June 21st, 2011
9:16 am

I was disappointed the golf team didn’t go further as well but they did lose to the eventual champion. I am all for improvement and trying to find ways to be more competitive but I think it is somewhat harsh to put it all on one match play loss against the national champion.

As a Tech fan, I continue to be very impressed with DRad and I think we will see many successful years under his leadership. He just seems to have the right combination of decision-making and communicating to the fans. Very pleased and I hope he stays at Tech for a long time.

Moobs Johnson

June 21st, 2011
9:18 am

Did he answer the question that every Tech fan wants to hear? Will the Two Cokes, Two Hot Dogs, and Two Seats promotion return this fall?

juvenal

June 21st, 2011
9:30 am

for many sports fans in this country, 4ever is your last at bat…….

Jacket Backer

June 21st, 2011
9:31 am

Thanks Ken……I’m a big fan of DRad and think he is doing a tremendous job.

Go Jackets!

Warren Z.

June 21st, 2011
9:36 am

I know this is “only a blog”, but it sure would be easier to read your post in a couple of spots with a little bit of proof-reading Ken.

What is the home game breakdown for women’s basketball? I’ve heard they’ll play mostly at Gwinnett, but where else? And those stand alone games at Gwinnett are going to see pretty sparse crowds. Too bad. Good program.

Love how $170 million in debt doesn’t bother DRad much. How much additional interest will Tech pay on top of that over the course of this “debt service”?

Big Macon Dawg

June 21st, 2011
9:47 am

@CPJ Supporter:

Nothing to worry about.

We’re about to make a run at the MNC.

14-0

Go DAWWWWGGGS!!!

juvenal

June 21st, 2011
10:06 am

may have to get by Boise first(35k stadium-how many season tix?)-& only if Crowell is another of Hershel’s personas….moo, who doesn’t have promos, what’s your point? thrashers had ‘em, braves have ‘em, falcons had ‘em…we can’t all promote the “great place to be a drunk” angle….

Tech Fan Since 1950

June 21st, 2011
10:15 am

Yes, the sports dollar may be stretched in Atlanta these days with three pro franchises and a weak economy, but folks that is no excuse for not filling up Bobby Dodd Stadium/Grant Field. Most sports writers and local broadcasters do not have a clue as to the impact Tech athletics had on the Atlanta community back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s (living in the past you say, well we learn a lot from history since we tend to repeat mistakes). Atlanta was approaching the million mark in population (contrary to the several million now of the Metro Atlanta area). I remember going to Sanford Stadium in Athens when the place was half full for regular games, but Grant Field was packed. Also, Tech’s enrollment did not reach 7000 until the late 1970’s and now it is 19,000 plus. Decisions by the Tech administration in the 1960’s hurt Tech’s full athletic development. Sputnik came along and the increased emphasis on academics (and that is a good thing) was used as an excuse, but it really wasn’t the problem. The problem was the backing away by the Tech administration at a critical time to not make a full commitment to support athletics at a time when the pro franchises were beginning to stake their claim on Atlanta. Baby boomers were becoming college age and the political forces in Georgia pumped money into the University System with a special emphasis on the growth in Athens and elsewhere. Tech has had some great years in athletics during the past 40 years even winning a national championship in football. Give credit to Homer Rice and DRad for bringing Tech out of the dark ages. So much has been accomplished. Tech needs to be in a situation or league where each game at Bobby Dodd Stadium has 8,000 to 10,000 visitors. The rest should be Tech folks and members of the Atlanta community. Winning consistently will increase the fan base. Tech is a good fit for the ACC, but I am hoping that one of these days the good folks in the Big Ten might come calling. It would be a marketing plus for the Big Ten to be in Atlanta and Tech would add impressive academic, research and athletic credentials. Go Jackets!

T3

June 21st, 2011
10:17 am

gt4ever = UGAG troll. Ken, do us all a favor and ban that troll.

The fact is: CPJ accomplished in Year 2,
what Gailey couldnt accomplish in Year 6.
Even with “Gaileys” players.

That simple fact alone proves how good CPJ really is, and how awful Gailey really was.

Here’s a stat that scares UGAG fans:

From 2002 to 2007 Gailey’s “pro-style” offense averaged (12) points in games vs UGAG.

From 2008 to 2011, CPJ’s so-called “gimmick” offense averaged (34) points in games vs UGAG.

Mark it down: GT will BLAST UGAG this November.

Ken Sugiura

June 21st, 2011
10:24 am

1950 – thanks for the history lesson. i’ve certainly heard and read about tech’s place in atlanta’s sports marketplace in the 50’s. hard to believe in some ways. (not that i don’t believe it, mind you)
warren – from what i understand, all the women’s games will be at gwinnett. and i’ll work on the typos. thanks for the encouragement. i thought i’d caught them all.

juvenal

June 21st, 2011
10:59 am

1950, Dodd leaving the sec was the problem…..

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 21st, 2011
11:04 am

Ken, great reading, but your 2 cents about Paul Phewitt was worth one cent.

RAMBLE ON!!!

June 21st, 2011
11:05 am

whoops, it wasn’t even worth one cent.

JM

June 21st, 2011
11:30 am

The demise of the Thrashers should tell people how the sports dollar in Atlanta is shrinking.

Even UGA is getting as many capacity crowds as they once did. However, there are still ticket brokers buying up all the used season tickets so their Athletic department isn’t feeling the pinch.

spider

June 21st, 2011
11:54 am

the baseball team did over achieve in the regular season especially in wins but did you check their very weak non conference schedule, thats where the majority of their wins came from so did they really over achieve????…check uga non conference schedule, much tougher.

Born2Buzz

June 21st, 2011
12:55 pm

spider, the baseball team set a record for acc wins. yes, they did over achieve. I knew we had a lot of freshmen but not 17. What are there, 28 guys on the roster? That’s amazing.

Getting sell outs (with 90% GT fans) for football is the biggest issue right now. The TECH fund may be having an impact. But if you are living in the Atlanta area and you are a GT alum then you need to be getting season tickets. You can still get seats that have no TECH fund add on. And this year the home schedule is a good as it’s ever been.

Ken, you are doing a great job, typos notwithstanding.

Born2Buzz

June 21st, 2011
12:58 pm

and big macon dawg, I can’t wait to see it. you better hope the doggies don’t start out 0-2.

GeorgiaDuck

June 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

Lunatic bulldog fanatics have arrived.

JT

June 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

“Moneys” is a strange word because it’s more commonly spelled “monies”. “Moneys” does come up in a quick search, but I believe it’s actually incorrect and should be “monies”.

State of GA Mental Health Hospital

June 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

Oooops, we let another one slip out the door; Macon Dawg, get back in here and finish making that wallet!

Worm

June 21st, 2011
1:55 pm

ACC needs to add some football schools…Wake Forest LOST money on its football and basketball and Duke managed a Million dollar profit on football…

Digging Out Some Tuesday Linkage

June 21st, 2011
2:01 pm

[...] Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has an interview with Georgia Tech’s Athletic Director on a few subjects including the impact of the ESPN/SEC [...]

sorry

June 21st, 2011
2:09 pm

Dan Radakovich is going to Tennessee.

observer

June 21st, 2011
2:10 pm

Who let all the U(sic)GA fans on the internet? They need to get back to stamping out those license plates…I know it really burns them having to make AU and UA and UF tags!

observer

June 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

@sorry….I went to Tennessee last week…so what?

sorry

June 21st, 2011
2:13 pm

@observer – Exactly. Who cares that you went to Tennessee?

weird

June 21st, 2011
2:16 pm

It’s funny how GT fans jump to the conclusion that UGA fans are the ones making fun of their school. Shows how obsessed they are with the school in Athens.

Geaux Tigers!

german car enthusiast

June 21st, 2011
2:17 pm

Hey fun boys, get a room!

Moobs Johnson

June 21st, 2011
3:27 pm

Nothing like moral victories to satisfy the small fan base. Keep up the great work D-Rad!

Captain

June 21st, 2011
3:37 pm

Wondering if you handed DRad an Open Records Request? Seems the AJC is very interested in everything at The University of Georgia Athletic Association but for some peculiar reason there is not similiar interest about the GTAA. Did GT have any self reported minor infractions? What are the salaries of the various coaches in the various sports programs at GT?

Cheerleader or Journalist, which is it Ken?

Sugar Hill Dawg

June 21st, 2011
4:01 pm

Tech leaving the SEC was the beginning of the Dark Ages for the casual ATL sports fan. I know talent level wise, the ACC packs quite a punch (look at the NFL draft the last 10 – 15 years), but this is an SEC market in an SEC region. There’s a reason the ACC’s considered a basketball league – their football has been viewed as AAA level to the SEC’s big league level. I imagine the average sized of an SEC game is nearly double of an average sized ACC game. Of course, Tech’s locked into the ACC now, so all Tech can do is dominate (a la FSU back in the 90s) and “they will come.”

T3

June 21st, 2011
4:59 pm

Dodd took GT out of the SEC because he was outraged at how member institutions like
Alabama, UGA, Mississippi were turning the SEC into a blatant “plantation-type” system
for college athletes.

And, if there was ANY doubt of the extent of the moral depravity to which UGA would sink,
not only did Jan Kemp show the world just how bad the academic fraud REALLY was behind UGA’s athletics, she also PROVED IN FEDERAL COURT…that it was INSTITUTIONALLY AND POLITICALLY sanctioned by UGA Board of Trustees, UGA President Fred Davison, and MANY MANY of this State’s NOTORIOUS redneck politicians like Joe Frank Harris and Tom Murphy.

In 1964, Bobby Dood and GT made a stand for HONOR and PRINCIPLE.
The rest of the SEC made a stand for racism and money.

The SEC has not changed since 1964.

East Cobb Hokie

June 21st, 2011
5:05 pm

Sugar Hill, folks in Clemson, Tallahassee, and Blacksburg disagree. But you are right on track on the other 9.

IL Jacket

June 21st, 2011
5:35 pm

George P. Burdell, adding to your point about the golf team, it was an excellent year and the loss to the eventual national champion, Augusta State, was on the first playoff hole of the fifth match after splitting the other four matches. In other words, just one stroke from the National Championship. As anyone knows who plays the game, it takes a certain amount of luck to win any championship.

GR82BAG8R

June 21st, 2011
5:36 pm

UGA fans pick on the Tech fans because they can’t accept their perennial top-10 recruiting classes talent deliver 6-7 results. Tech fans need to simply keep quiet until they can win another bowl game – - any bowl game.

Tech will never compete with UGA in football and that is by design, ever since the CFA lawsuit loosened the NCAA grip on major college athletics combined with the growth of athletically aimed fields of study – - the perfect storm of big money NCAA Football.

What state is so laden with talent, but has a school with virtually no in-state competition for its blue chip athletes? Florida (nope), Alabama (nope), Texas (nope), South Carolina (nope), Georgia (yep).

Jackets 2011

June 21st, 2011
5:43 pm

So with that recruiting advantage, why do Florida (3), Texas, Alabama, LSU (2), Tennessee and Auburn have at least one BCS football national championship while UGA has none?
Sure looks like the Evil Genius is passing you by again at a school near impossible to win at.
Maybe you can ask CMR at the next prayer session.
Prayer works to help people overcome illness.
Not for football though.

Tech Guy

June 21st, 2011
6:19 pm

Does anyone believe that having a debt of $170 million will not hurt Tech down the road?

Delbert D.

June 21st, 2011
8:31 pm

Greece has a real debt problem. Their airports, state-owned construction and maintenance equipment and even highways are up for sale.

Ken Sugiura

June 21st, 2011
9:17 pm

funny you should ask, captain. i have a few open records requests into the AA as we speak.

Wreckmaniac

June 21st, 2011
11:35 pm

UGA has only two positives to hang on to. 1. consistently beating Tech 2. having recruiting classes in the top 10 every year. The fraud is in the fact that UGA is not even among the top 10 schools in putting out first round NFL draft picks. In fact, in the top 6 there is Florida , Tennessee, FL State and Miami. So UGA may be getting the best high school players on campus but they are not getting the best NFL talent on campus. This is a great reason for their SEC futility.

jdl2

June 23rd, 2011
12:17 pm

@T3 That’s an absolutely correct statement, what you left out was that it was the college presidents that made the vote, primarily led by UGA and Alabama. Go Jackets.