UPDATED: Radakovich leaves Tech for Clemson

In early August, when he learned that Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips planned to retire, Dan Radakovich believed he could be the right man to replace him. He went home and told his wife Marcie that “there could be an incredible opportunity just a couple hours down the road,” Radakovich recounted Monday.

Monday, the Radakoviches made that drive up I-85 to officially seize that opportunity. Radakovich resigned as Georgia Tech athletic director, a position he held for 6 1/2 years, to accept the same job at Clemson.

“It’s going to take a while for me to get used to seeing him in that purple and orange,” Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson said.

It was a surprise conclusion to a tenure marked by the completion of numerous athletic facilities, financial stabilization, incessant work and, hardly least, an NCAA investigation that resulted in probation.

“I’ve never witnessed anyone that worked harder and longer and more passionately to advance a program,” said Paul Griffin, Tech’s senior associate athletic director who will serve as acting athletic director until a replacement is hired.

Peterson had known about Radakovich’s interest since shortly after the Tech-Clemson football game Oct. 6, when Clemson president James Barker called to inform him that he wanted to talk with Radakovich, a gesture made out of courtesy rather than contractual necessity.

Radakovich called Peterson soon after to alert him of the interest. The process was already well underway, though. Radakovich had initiated it by calling Phillips.

“I said, ‘Terry, I would really like an opportunity to sit down and talk with the decision-makers for this job,’ and Terry Don was very helpful and instrumental in making that happen,” Radakovich said Monday.

It was not the first time Radakovich, 54, had considered leaving Tech. His name had been linked with AD jobs at Miami, Tennessee and Texas A&M.

“He’s kept me apprised of what he’s doing,” said Peterson in response to a question about past openings. “I don’t think I want to go there today.”

Clemson may have been different. Speaking at the introductory news conference wearing an orange tie and blazer, Radakovich spoke of his first visit to a Clemson football game, as an athletic administrator at Long Beach State in 1990.

“I distinctly remember the feeling, the atmosphere, the hospitality and the passion and, yes, the rock,” he said, referring to Howard’s Rock, the stone that players rub upon entering the stadium. “I remember thinking, ‘This is a place that I want to be.’”

He’ll reportedly be paid $725,000 annually on a five-year contract. At Tech, he was in the third year of a five-year agreement that averaged out to $640,000 per year.

Radakovich’s time at Tech makes a compelling case for his ambitiousness. In a weakened economy, he led construction projects for an indoor football practice facility, a softball stadium, a tennis complex, a basketball practice facility and the renovation of Alexander Memorial Coliseum, which will open Nov. 9 as McCamish Pavilion. The projects increased the athletic department’s debt load from $126 million at the time of his arrival from LSU to $226 million.

But the decision to build at a time when interest rates and construction costs were low appears now to have been a savvy move. Due to low-interest loans and Radakovich’s fundraising and development of revenue streams, the debt service is projected to rise to 18 percent of the fiscal year 2014 budget, but ultimately return to 14 percent, the amount it had been when he was hired.

“I really think one of his legacies here is he got the financial house in order and not only did he get it in order, but he’s left us with facilities that should keep us on par with our peers for the next 30 years,” associate athletic director and chief financial officer Frank Hardymon said.

He instituted the TECH Fund, which requires a donation to the department in order to purchase prime football and men’s basketball season tickets. The added costs irritated some alumni and fans, but they have helped the department balance its budgets. For the 2012 fiscal year, TECH Fund donations accounted for about $4 million of the $59 million in revenues.

To most fans, his most visible imprints were the hires of football coach Paul Johnson (after firing Chan Gailey) after the 2007 season and men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory (after firing Paul Hewitt) following the 2010-11 season. On message boards and Twitter Monday, the disappointment of Johnson’s team this season and Radakovich’s move to an ACC rival school seemed to color many fans’ opinion of Radakovich and his departure.

“Could he take Paul Johnson with him???? I used to like him but after this season … he needs to go,” one commenter wrote on the ajc.com Georgia Tech blog.

Undeniably Radakovich’s albatross will be the NCAA investigation into improper benefits to two football players. Had Radakovich led Tech’s participation differently, the penalty could have been a wrist slap. Instead, the NCAA found in 2011 that the school failed to cooperate in the investigation and failed to meet the conditions and obligations of membership, which resulted in four years of probation and the vacating of its 2009 ACC football championship.

Barker said that he and the search committee were satisfied by Radakovich’s explanation on the matter.

“There were mistakes that were made that I can guarantee will not be made again,” Radakovich said.

Radakovich’s final day at Tech will be Nov. 15 and he will begin working at Clemson at the end of November. Peterson said that the school will interview search firms and assemble a search committee. He told department staff Monday that he expects the process to take two to three months.

“This is a great position,” Peterson said. “It has a lot of opportunity for somebody and we’re excited.”

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

443 comments Add your comment

Heisenberg

October 28th, 2012
8:27 pm

K

October 28th, 2012
8:29 pm

Smart move for him to bail out.
Wheels have come off the wagon.

The Dude

October 28th, 2012
8:37 pm

I hope ‘K’ is wrong, but it certainly looks that way, in terms of the wheels.

Should Radakovich Be Canned?? - Page 2

October 28th, 2012
8:39 pm

[...] PM #14 SEJacket Junior Member Join DateFeb 2012 Posts12 Clemson reportedly interested in Radakovich | Georgia Tech If this is true, it would mean no golden parachute worries Reply With [...]

SeasonTickets-done!

October 28th, 2012
8:39 pm

“Can the Dan!” Please say it’s so, maybe then this mess gets straightened out ’cause whoever follows Dan will maybe have a clue that CPJ is the wrong man for our program. But it really doesn’t matter at this point… I will not renew my tickets until CPJ is out.

GT s crumbling

October 28th, 2012
8:41 pm

The rats are jumping ship. when the AD wants out, the institution has big issues.

GT needs to move down to the level of Appalachian State and Catawba College and Samford and Obviously, D Rad wants no part of that downward spiral.

Highly Respected Southern Troll

October 28th, 2012
8:41 pm

Will they take Paul Johnson as a package deal?

Joe

October 28th, 2012
8:43 pm

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Techster

October 28th, 2012
8:45 pm

He’ll be gone before our next two losses…

ToeMeetsLeather

October 28th, 2012
8:49 pm

Well it would certainly be easier to be the AD at a location that does not have to compete with true student athletes, kinda like UGA with a lake.

Tech insider

October 28th, 2012
9:02 pm

I can’t believe our luck. Ah, I mean our bad luck. Please don’t take him! Our sports teams are doing so great. It would be awful to lose him.

Bill from Dacusville

October 28th, 2012
9:07 pm

I live in Pickens County,SC {home county of Clem and Son},I have a Granddaughter @ Clem and Son–I pull for Clem and Son when they aren’t playing my Yeller Jackets—I hope the Powers that be, don’t hire Dandy Dan, who will replace the man who gave Clem and Son Dabo (which is the best hire in the ACC in recent memory)–Dandy Dan gave GT, Pitiful Paul—-

Stalin's Ghost

October 28th, 2012
9:09 pm

they deserve each other.

spider

October 28th, 2012
9:09 pm

Same Old

October 28th, 2012
9:13 pm

The uga homers on the Board of Regents have formulated a plan
where there will never be football at Tech again!
Can’t get majors that dumb football players can take, like uga!
Look what they did to Med College of Ga and Augusta State.
Idiots!!!!!! Forget football at Tech ever again!!! We are now Duke!
uga homers… just like the writers of this fish rapper!
The Atlanta Urinal and Constipation! Your uga slanted newspaper!

BobDawg

October 28th, 2012
9:20 pm

SAME OLD… maybe you need a New Old Lady… sounds like she blames you for everything?!

OkieDawg

October 28th, 2012
9:21 pm

It’s great, to be, a Georgia Bulldog…It’s great, to be, a Georgia Bulldog…

Poor Same Old, so bitter and so misguided.

ylojkt

October 28th, 2012
9:22 pm

Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

This is great news, maybe he can ruin the athletic program at Clemson now.

Bobo

October 28th, 2012
9:29 pm

Looks like we just got really lucky, on the surface anyway…..and then I stop to think…who is going to replace him? Bill Curry is the only possibility I can think of that might work, unless we go for an unproven commodity. Our facilities ARE improved, but our teams are in shambles. I can’t think of a period in Tech’s recent history where we had so many bad teams across the board.

I like Paul Johnson, but if this continues, it’s time to go. I’m not even sure he should get another chance unless he can get us into a bowl this year. The recruiting just isn’t happening at the level we need. I’m in favor of bringing Ralph Friedgen back for a 3 year contract with a ‘coach in waiting’ like several other schools have done.

I’m really skeptical of Brian Gregory too. I think we really sold ourselves short on that hire and we should’ve been more patient. Heck, I think even Matt Harpring or Drew Barry, young as they are, would be a more effective coach.

OkieDawg

October 28th, 2012
9:35 pm

Techies…Upgrade your offense, hire Bobo.

Avg uga fan

October 28th, 2012
9:36 pm

Its great, to be, a georgia bulldog, and have never gone to school there… Its great, to be, a georgia bulldog, and have never gone to school there…

OkieDawg

October 28th, 2012
9:41 pm

Its great, to be, a Yellow Jacket…Its great, to be, a Yellow Jacket…

Nah, Man!!!!

KBP

October 28th, 2012
9:52 pm

Tech Fans: I am a Dawg fan who has rooted for Tech since the Pepper Rogers days. CPJ has to throw the ball more, especially on 1st down. I know he says no one has stopped his offense yet, but clearly teams slow it down enough to where the losses are mounting. You have to be able to throw the ball against defenses that are good against the run but the O-line is not very good at pass blocking because they run block 90% of the time. Also, it’s hard to imagine top level players coming to Tech in enough numbers to build the depth needed to compete in the ACC with this offense. Gailey drank the Reggie Ball kool-aid too long but he recruited much better talent CPJ. CPJ was most successful with Gailey’s players. Hope you guys turn it around and only lose 1 more game.

Bobo

October 28th, 2012
9:52 pm

There’s something to be said for attending school at a place where you can be reasonably sure that most of your fellow fans actually WENT there. Can’t really say that about UGA can you? Also, it’s nice not to pass trailer parks and see the flag of my alma mater flying overhead of old washing machines and car axles. It’s also nice not to have the ugliest mascot in all the land who just needs to have a bullet put into his poor mutated skull for mercy and decency.

fan

October 28th, 2012
9:55 pm

Laugh now dawgs ..what goes around comes around. GT has hit bottom in football but will rise -up again. Bet on it. Just like Basketball under Hewett was at bottom but this years team will be very good.
Unlike most fans I pull for both schools. I’ve seen the bottom for both schools…it will come around.

KingBee

October 28th, 2012
9:56 pm

I hope this is true. DRad is an idiot. When he came to Tech, he gutted the AT Fund and instituted the Tech Fund. He justified this seat license by saying it was necessary to pay for the football stadium expansion that preceded him. Since then, he has spent money like it is going out of style. So which is it? Are we broke or are we flush with cash? If the latter, do away with the Tech Fund. If the former, stop being fiscally irresponsible. I was raised with the philosophy that if you don’t have any money in the account, stop writing checks.

I hope he goes to Clempsun and takes his Big Boi halftime show with him.

OkieDawg

October 28th, 2012
9:56 pm

Remind me again which team is ranked #95 in the BCS standings. #95 out of 120. I am a huge CPJ fan, really.

Start packing DRad

October 28th, 2012
9:59 pm

Perfect time for him to bail on his mess (probation, questionable financial decision making, football and volleyball coaching hires that are looking worse every day). Doesn’t his contract at Tech run out after this season? Better to leave than be fired.

CrackHead

October 28th, 2012
10:00 pm

Same Old………Hit the nail on the head! As long as the “UGA Board of Regents” GT will never be able to compete. We can’t get dope smoking 101 like UGA has as a major for FB playa.

Old Gold

October 28th, 2012
10:08 pm

Take Johnson with you!

Truth

October 28th, 2012
10:11 pm

Dan, Don’t Leave !!!!!

Truth

October 28th, 2012
10:13 pm

How quickly do you “D-Rad” haters forget the words “David Brane ??????” Hellloooooo? Do you remember what he did to Tech athletics? Any tech fan with a brain would know that losing D-Rad would be a huge blow to the GT Athletic Department

OkieDawg

October 28th, 2012
10:13 pm

@CrackHead…dope smoking 101? Really? Do you realize how simple that makes you sound? Embarrassing comes to mind.

1 4 GT

October 28th, 2012
10:22 pm

Much like you do here quite often OkieDwag.

What about the gentleman's agreement...

October 28th, 2012
10:22 pm

…that does not let conference schools go after another conference member’s AD or HC in any sport?

What about the gentleman's agreement...

October 28th, 2012
10:23 pm

…or did that go out the window when the ACC decided to raid the Big East for new members?

Tech93

October 28th, 2012
10:31 pm

Yeah, D. Rad helped get GT athletics where they r now. Now he can leave the program behind in a mess he helped create with a large buyout on CPJs contract if we want to fire him.

Ga Tech Old Timer

October 28th, 2012
10:32 pm

D Rad was also responsible for the Coach Johnson / Coach Gregory hires. Their failures or sucesses fall squarely on him. Part of the Athletic Directors job is rebuilding programs – not just facilities. If the football program had been sailing along by now, I think D Rad would have left before now headed to some of those other offers. My bet is that he sticks around to straighten out the football mess and then takes off.

zgoldatl

October 28th, 2012
10:39 pm

Tech fan here who didn’t go to Tech. Family did, I went to State.. The whole trailer park ”dope smoking 101” comments are just tired… Regardless, I hope Dan stays. It would be sad to see him jump ship. He’s an A.D. that thinks big and I appreciate that.
Good win for UGA a couple days ago and my Panthers even looked better. Tech has got to get better athletes plain and simple. I’m a believer in the option, however it seems like CPJ thinks he can outsmart everyone and it’s not working anymore. CPJ has to bring in a defensive coordinator that is young and on the rise. Hopefully Tech can keep their bowl streak going.
Go Jackets, Go Panthers

GTGirl

October 28th, 2012
10:41 pm

@BoBo. Hilarious comments about the inbreds from Athens on your post at 9:52. Thanks-we needed the humor!

billyBobjacket

October 28th, 2012
10:45 pm

Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out! And Bobo, it would be nice if WE could field teams competitive enough that a few non-alums would be interested in contributing money, buying tickets, etc. Are we also going to start recruiting only sons and grandsons of alums, so we can be 100% insular? You,sir, are an idiot!

Tech Forever

October 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

Why does everyone think the BOR is such a huge hurdle? You ASSUME Tech’s administration has even TRIED to expand the curriculum and/or move for more relaxed requirements for some of the degree programs. I’d betgood money they NEVER HAVE. And there are far too many alums of Tech who’s head would explode if a kid getting a degree in Management could do so without taking two calc class during his core or God forbid Tech offers Kinesiology, Sports Management, or, dare I say it, a School of Science and Math Education.

I mean you guys call Rad “an idiot” and CPJ even worse yet you can’t even recognize that the NCAA and college football are leaving schools like Tech behind with every decision they make. The graduation progress report???? A JOKE!!!!! Just go look at the courses schools like Alabama, Georgia, and LSU have set up to get their football players a “degree”. Tech either needs to move with the times in order to compete, drop down to FCS, drop football altogether, or BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT.

Now I know the “yes we can compete” and “we don’t settle for anything less than exceptionalism” posts are about to hammer me. So I will go ahead and respond to you all the same way I always do; HISTORY IS ON MY SIDE……NOT YOURS. We haven’t been relavant save for the blind squirrel finding a nut season every blue moon since the early 60s…..nearly 50 years…..and there is NO REASON to think Tech will be in the next 50.

KBP – I respectfully disagree. Tech didn’t get the talent when we were running a pro-style offense under Gailey (oh Lord…..here comes the “Gailey was an amazing recruiter” and “we had Calvin” group) so there is nothing in the last 15 years to show Tech can CONSISTENTLY get the talent. Seriously, if you were a top 200 recruit would even give Tech a glance? If you say “yes” then it means you want to be an engineer, period…..or you’re not being honest. The school is brutally hard, there are few women, even fewer hot women, serious lack of social atmosphere, small fanbase, and we don’t win. Yeah…..I’d pick THAT over an education degree so I could coach football if the NFL doesn’t work out from Bama all day long. Please.

1 4 GT

October 28th, 2012
10:52 pm

On a lighter side….Dwyer (in that hideous retro uniform=entire team looking like a bunch of Keystone Cops chain gang members) had 2nd good game in a row as the starting RB & drew words of praise from the Fox TV/NFL crew. BeyBey Thomas having a good game on SNF for Denver & getting good reviews from Al & Chris in the booth.

Tech Forever

October 28th, 2012
10:55 pm

zgoldatl

I didn’t go to Tech either but have been a fan since birth as I’m one of the few who didn’t. I agree with you that those kind of comments are tired. I’ll also say when I was a kid I always felt welcome at Tech games and around the “Tech Family”. Mostly because my family is the Tech Family. But for he last 20 or so years that has changed dramatically. Tech graduates doa great job of insulating themselves from sidewalk fans and whether they know it or not openly communicate a “we don’t need you because we made it through Tech” attitude to the typical sidewalk fan. I haven’t been to a game in a good long while, and although I miss watching the guys play I don’t miss the highbrow gameday atmosphere at all. Truth be told, you and I are about as welcome as a visiting fan and about as missed as a boil.

Tech Forever

October 28th, 2012
10:58 pm

billyBobjacket

Tech’s problems with getting non-alum fans has very little to do with winning.

Ouch!

October 28th, 2012
11:00 pm

Has Clemson lost it’s mind? If they hire Rado, that’ll be the end of their football program. Will he take the triple podunk genius with him if he goes?

Excuses are easy.

October 28th, 2012
11:03 pm

Funny. Stanford doesn’t seem to need excuses for their football team, which beat USC again this year. Face it, CPJ was not a great hire for you. Every year with fewer of Gaileys recruits has resulted in fewer wins.
After UGA’s engineering school gets up and running, students will not have to go into a war zone to get
an engineering degree in our state, and the downward spiral into the Big East, followed by Div 1AA, will truly start as the mausoleum on North Ave will be lucky to draw 15,000 a game. The good news is that CPJ has proven himself to be a fantastic 1AA coach!
See you in November!
Go Dogs

Ouch!

October 28th, 2012
11:06 pm

Really Tech Forever??? Gailey’s last two recruiting classes were strong and also included Jonathon Dwyer. If Tech had hired Cutcliffe rather than the triple podunk genius, they would be a top 25 team right now. They might not be in a top BCS game but they would be competing for a conference championship.

ToeMeetsLeather

October 28th, 2012
11:08 pm

No OkieDawg, a team allowing a dude that beat up young female a few months ago to play should be embarrassing.

Excuse yourself Excuses are easy

October 28th, 2012
11:10 pm

Uhhh – Excuses are easy. If you really think that UGA engineering will challenge one of the top school in the world in engineering and cause it to lose the best students, think again. That world does not revolve around football.