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

GT1990

October 29th, 2012
7:37 pm

@14GT

HAHAHAHAHAHA Are you butt hurt because you PREDICTED TECH to be so good and their not? Face it CPJ is taking the program into the dirt!

tigergruff

October 29th, 2012
7:41 pm

nice suthern name. Wonder how many sillibuls. At least he don’t have two first names ….. wait a clem and son minute we don’t know dat fo sure.

ToccoaDawg

October 29th, 2012
7:52 pm

This can only be GREAT news for Tech. Now if they would just find a REAL football coach that will help UGA keep Georgia players in Georgia. The is NO reason for Tech to be this bad with all the talent there is in this state, NONE. Tech should be challenging for the ACC title EVERY year. Keep your head up Tech things are looking up.

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
7:58 pm

Agreed ToccoaDawg. Unfortunately people are shunned if they’re not a UGA fan, even at a very young age, by their peers. Saw it going on Saturday night at a restaurant here in PTC. Pretty sad that people have that sort of mentality to flat out pick on others over a school.

Reformed Toady

October 29th, 2012
8:00 pm

“their” should be “they are” or” they’re”. 1990 or GT joe or GT schmoe or whatever you go by this hour.

“HAHAHA” indicates you are juvenile and “butt hurt” indicates experience on your part. Sorry for you child. Get the parents involved before you’ve been corrupted beyond redemption.

The dwag blog offers lollipops. Take advantage

GT1990

October 29th, 2012
8:01 pm

Charleston Jacket

October 29th, 2012
8:02 pm

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
8:04 pm

Are you referring to me, Reformed Toady?

Reformed Toady

October 29th, 2012
8:08 pm

Dawgone Dan—No such word “irregardless.”

Hilarious! That is UGA “fan” all over it! They get those words mixed up!

Reformed Toady

October 29th, 2012
8:10 pm

Not unless you are GT 1990 Clyde. You used the word correctly.

Reformed Toady

October 29th, 2012
8:13 pm

Ask yourself…
regardless?
Irregardless?
What makes one of them different?
Use both in a sentence.

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
8:17 pm

No, I use on handle, my great-grandfather’s name.

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
8:19 pm

papa doc

October 29th, 2012
8:24 pm

What’s the good word? DRad made a FEW good moves during his tenure. The football program hasn’t been one of them. The next move would require admitting he made the wrong hire in CPJ. His exit indicates he couldn’t admit it. Hate it for him when gets to place where fan expectations include double digit wins every year rather every decade.

I’ll still be sitting in the north end zone, though; a GT fan no matter what or how bad. And next year the elevator line won’t be as long. :-) Still pulling for the players.

whiskey clear

October 29th, 2012
8:37 pm

To Bill in Dacusville.. I’m on the other side of mud hole Hartwell from you. We should get together and discuss GT over some skins hot dogs in Seneca sometime….

Reformed Toady

October 29th, 2012
8:37 pm

Certainly would love “The Goose” as HC but he’s still young. I doubt Whisenhunt would leave the NFL unless he’s on the way out. I’d also love to see the “Fridge” back on GT’s sideline. Too much speculation. I’m not sure he would be good at recruiting except maybe getting JUCO transfers which is hard for Tech.

I’m afraid the team has quit on CPJ. Sorry, that’s my perception. Having said that the dogs should just overlook this Tech team because they don’t care about beating UGA. That’s called sarcasm but please continue with the insults. Please give it all you’ve got. Go Jackets!

Gr8 2B aFuzzyB

October 29th, 2012
8:46 pm

I checked in hoping to see if johnson mighta been fired but this is the next best thing. I don’t envy johnson’s position at this point but he brought it on himself. He should have started Lee after the Miami game but is still struggling with it now. Guess what paul, it is too late. The ship is nearly under and you as the captain had better go with it. Bon voyage!

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
9:02 pm

They have to buy an AD and a DC now.

techie

October 29th, 2012
9:15 pm

Well at least UGA will never win a championship with Richt as their coach.

Clyde

October 29th, 2012
9:20 pm

Yeah, hate for those Dawgs but getting whooped by SC closed their shop for the year. They’ll have a great bowl though, good advertising (if they win). I love it when they win, the women I date are always in a good mood.

whiskey clear

October 29th, 2012
9:33 pm

GT vs BYU on direct TV 374.. “its like deja vu all over again…..”lol

Dawg89

October 29th, 2012
10:21 pm

Now you have to wonder who is going to fire CPJ at the end of the season? CPJ is such a genius he may fire himself (without using a play sheet).

Ekim56

October 29th, 2012
10:37 pm

Dave Braine: “Georgia Tech can win nine or 10 games. They will never do that consistently. That’s my feeling … because of the type of program this is.”

He was right, and he was basically fired for it. And I’d rather Tech have “the type of program this is” than be a football mill. Or basketball mill. Or puppy mill.

Go ahead, haters. Pile on.

1 4 GT

October 29th, 2012
11:10 pm

Ekim56….I have said it before & I’ll die believing it. All any of us as fans us have the right to expect of our chosen school or team is that they be competitive on a fairly consistent basis. That they put themselves in a position to win. That they be competitive enough to win the occasional title, maybe the big ‘un, the Crystal Football. To do this takes focus, determination, dedication, desire & heart. If a team does this & plays up to near their potential consistently, how could we dare ask for more. I, for one, would be very pleased to watch, support & cheer for this type of team. It would be nice to be on top of the heap. But what goes up comes down, Even the mighty Alabama can not hope to stay on top forever. All I ask is that I see my team play hard, be competitive and give thier best effort. If one does that, there is no shame in not winning. If one gives his best effort, he can stand tall & proud! This is all I have the right to ask for, TRY!!!

Tech93

October 30th, 2012
12:16 am

He may have made some decent capital improvement decisions in reference to facilities, but he made some bad hires and locked Tech into some very expensive contracts to get out of. The football program under his watch has gradually sunk into the abyss under his watch and will take a few years to come back. A terrible D, an inconsistent O and no recruits coming in to speak of(especially on the D line). Also, the talent will continue to dwindle due to the fact the better athletes don’t want to play in the option and I can’t blame them. Thanks Dan for jumping ship once you helped sink it!

ESPN reporting this mornng that Johnson is out as GT HC

October 30th, 2012
12:40 am

OK, OK, so I was dreaming. But it was such a nice dream.

ESPN reporting this mornng that Johnson is out as GT HC

October 30th, 2012
12:48 am

I, too, would rather win with dignity and high standards like a Stanford, for example. An occasional conference title and consistent wins without NCAA violations and bad behavior is fine for me, and I suspect, a large number of Tech supporters. NO top-tier academic university in the last three decades has produced a consistent top-tier football program (regular NC contender) and under the current NCAA, no school will. But CPJ needs to step up and represent the Institute better, and also field more competitive teams. We have looked sloppy and even a bit like quitters, and that is never acceptable.

ESPN reporting this mornng that Johnson is out as GT HC

October 30th, 2012
12:53 am

Never mind the option, just execute! The offense was producing points, but we have not made good adjustments during games on either side of the ball, and the players have not been executing well at all. Missed blocks, dropped passes, consistently horribly thrown passes, and repeated missed tackles are both bad coaching and bad playing. Do your jobs, coaches, and reclaim your team. You’ve obviously lost it this season.

ESPN reporting this mornng that Johnson is out as GT HC

October 30th, 2012
12:54 am

As I said, I’m just dreaming.

Washington & Lee

October 30th, 2012
1:15 am

Good ol’ southern university. Lousy QB tandem. Can’t we recruit better?

Washington & Lee

October 30th, 2012
1:16 am

Great news! Who is the interim HC? Any names for permanent replacement yet? How will they do this with no AD? Will griffin do the hiring?

Techboy23

October 30th, 2012
7:22 am

Fine with me! We need another Homer Rice!
In 1990:
Football-> Undefeated Nat’l Champions
Basketball-> Final Four
Baseball-> Top Five with Nomar/Varitek
Golf ->Top Five…loaded with AA’s
That is what I expect every year;nothing less!

An Ear To The Ground

October 30th, 2012
9:19 am

I hear Tech is interviewing Damon Evans for the vacancy.

Washington & Lee

October 30th, 2012
10:10 am

Sure hire Evans…..undress ‘em in white and gold

Washington & Lee

October 30th, 2012
10:10 am

pay him in red undies

Peterson on Radakovich | Georgia Tech

October 30th, 2012
10:11 am

[...] Radakovich leaves Tech for Clemson [...]

[...] at the desks. Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich was introduced Monday afternoon as the new AD at Clemson, replacing the retiring Terry Don Phillips. Tech’s associate AD Paul [...]

[...] job. #SomebodyElesOpinionCountedMore— Bart Wright (@bartwriter) October 29, 2012Two requests by a Atlanta Journal Constitution for criticism from Radakovich left Sunday dusk were not returned as of Monday morning.While [...]

dry dirt road

October 31st, 2012
4:58 pm

was wondering why Radikovich did not hire Mark Price, why he allows PJ to run an offense that is not like all the other offenses that run shotguns exclusively

dry dirt road

October 31st, 2012
5:13 pm

maybe Curry’s last game coaching at Ga State and Radikovich leaving is designed to coincide with getting Curry hired as AD

Vett

November 1st, 2012
10:55 am

Student perspective on GT Athletics and DRad resignation: http://www.rcsoatl.com/2012/11/hopeful-for-change-in-gt-athletics.html

icons pack

November 4th, 2012
11:04 am

icon set

November 4th, 2012
4:40 pm