The new position created for Bobby Cremins at Georgia Tech primarily involves him talking to his former players. For the gabby basketball coach, now into his first autumn of retirement, this will be something less than toil.
“I’ll play the part, because that’s exactly what I want to do,” he said. “And (coach) Brian (Gregory) will do all the work.”
With an invitation from Gregory, the silver-haired coach who led the Yellow Jackets in 19 seasons to three ACC championships and their first Final Four, has officially returned to the Tech fold. Cremins, who ended his 31-year head coaching career in March after a six-year run at the College of Charleston, will lead a project to bring back as many former players, coaches and managers back to the opening game at McCamish Pavilion Nov. 9. Following that, he has Gregory’s welcome to serve in whatever capacity he wishes.
“We’re going to invite everybody,” Cremins said. “It doesn’t matter. Anybody I kicked out of here, I’m going to invite them, too.”
Following an address to nearly the entire Tech athletic department, Cremins spoke Wednesday morning at a news conference at the school’s athletic offices. Dressed in a navy blazer, light blue dress shirt and gold tie, he sat side-by-side with Gregory and repeatedly offered praise for the man running the program he described as “my baby.” He was the Bobby Cremins that Tech fans embraced, spinning yarns and cracking jokes.
Among the roughly 200 former players and managers who have already been contacted is Lee Goza, who played on Cremins’ first team in the 1981-82 season. In a blowout loss that season to North Carolina, Cremins recalled, Goza accidentally scored a basket for the Tar Heels.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry, Coach, my mother’s going to be so excited,” Cremins said. “I said, ‘Why is that?’ He said, ‘She always wanted me to go to North Carolina.’”
Cremins, leading a committee that includes Tech great Roger Kaiser, hope to get in touch with 500 former players, managers and coaches.
The role is voluntary. Following his retirement, he accepted a part-time position at the College of Charleston as an assistant to school president George Benson. For his duties at Tech, he titled himself “a roving ambassador.”
“Now if Brian wins a lot of games, you can throw in assistant coach,” Cremins said.
Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog