Groh tears into Tech

In an interview with the Roanoke Times, former Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh left little doubt about his feelings about his 2 ½ years coaching the Yellow Jackets.

“Just to say it briefly, this circumstance here was the most unprofessional, divisive and negative environment in which I’ve ever been,” Groh said. “To say more would be unprofessional of myself. It was just a bad cultural match.”

Tech coach Paul Johnson hired Groh in Jan. 2010 after Groh had coached at Virginia for nine seasons. He made the decision to dismiss him Oct. 8, six games into the season, after the Jackets had allowed 40-plus points in three consecutive games.

“I’m sorry to hear that Al feels that way,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m surprised he would stay here for 2 1/2 years if he felt like that it was that bad.”

A statement released from Groh at the time of his firing was decidedly more diplomatic.

“I appreciate all the help and input from (assistant defensive coaches) Charles Kelly, Joe Speed and Andy McCollum, and the effort of all the players,” part of Groh’s statement read. “I aimed to give the best that I had every day. It’s been an honor to be a part of the legacy of Georgia Tech football.”

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

428 comments Add your comment

Spohedus

January 2nd, 2013
3:02 pm

First. Mr. Groh is just positioning for work. Wish him the best, and thank him for his service.

Pea Ridge Rambler

January 2nd, 2013
3:05 pm

Just to say it briefly, you sucked.

GT Fan 4Life

January 2nd, 2013
3:05 pm

I’m surprised that it took Al this long to say something negative. He just doesn’t like the fact that our defense has looked great the last 6 quarters of play and he couldn’t develop any of the players that he coached at Tech. He’s just a sour old man…. enjoy retirement Al

NOVAJacket

January 2nd, 2013
3:08 pm

“To say more would be unprofessional of myself”

Sorry, Al, you failed on that one. Classic case of someone who failed to adapt to the newer offenses and blaming everyone else. If it was such a bad environment why not leave since UVA was already paying him not to work – doesn’t match up.

Supersize that order, mutt

January 2nd, 2013
3:15 pm

Good riddance to him

GTJason

January 2nd, 2013
3:16 pm

It was unprofessional for him to not step aside when he realized that the job was too much for him to handle.

juvenal

January 2nd, 2013
3:22 pm

jets would be perfect for him…

GTJoe

January 2nd, 2013
3:22 pm

All parties are better off now and have been since the split. Good luck in retirement CAG!

Jacket Man

January 2nd, 2013
3:23 pm

Well, if any employee’s job production was as bad as his, they should expect their employer to have some “discussions” with them, as well, with expectations they improve immediately or risk their job. As the “supervisor” of GA Tech’s defense, Groh’s “job performance” over the past 2 years never improved, thus his employment was terminated.

To be perfectly honest, if a supervisor was tasked with running a department as he chose, no questions asked, but it was failing miserably, then the CEO of the Company came to him and said he need him to make a few changes but you can still run the department like you set it up, you would expect the supervisor to try to improve the production of the department and accommodate the CEO, not ignore him to the detriment of it.

Paul Johnson is GA Tech’s Head Football Coach and he gave Al Groh free reign on running the Jacket defense. When things went to heck, Coach Johnson sat down with Groh and said things had gotten too complicated and that he needed to make some minor changes to the defense. Groh totally ignored him and GA Tech’s defense got worse, giving up 40+ points per game 3 games in a row. PJ demanded Groh follow his instructions because things hadn’t worked since the season before, and Groh said he ran the defense and that’s the way it was. Whose the Head Coach at GA Tech?

Toxic situation? If Al Groh could have produced a decent defense for GA Tech, Paul Johnson would have LOVED to stay out of his way; he offered Groh the DC job because PJ doesn’t want to have to worry about the defense. But when things began to go south, and PJ saw where some issues were (after hearing from players and assistant coaches), he had no choice but to step in and ask that some minor changes be made. Insubordination by Groh was the cause for any toxic conditions at Tech.

1 4 GT

January 2nd, 2013
3:24 pm

My respect for Groan has fallen even further! The defense has performed better each game after he was dismissed. They may have started slowly in the remaining games, but half time adjustments helped them play better in 5 of the 6 season games & then in the ACCCG game and they played a hard hitting complete 4 quarter game in the Sun Bowl. He has joined the “who, not me crowd”. Sounds like a lot of hot air & sour grapes to me.

George Stein

January 2nd, 2013
3:25 pm

I had high hopes for Groh and hope he finds a position that makes him happy. I wish he would elaborate on the unprofessional and negative aspects of his comment. We should isolate the criticism from the performance of the defense and try to learn whether the criticism is legitimate and whether there should be changes made.

TDone

January 2nd, 2013
3:25 pm

Al Groh should have never been hired. I live in Northern Virginia and the UVA folks hated him. They laughed at us for hiring him. Johnson realized the error in his ways and decided to cut his losses. It worked. I say addition by subtraction.

juvenal

January 2nd, 2013
3:27 pm

our culture is definitely against underachieving……

South GA Jacket

January 2nd, 2013
3:29 pm

Who says he’s not relevant to 18 year olds? He sounds like a teenager to me.

www

January 2nd, 2013
3:37 pm

ken, have you spoken with groh since his firing?

chas_jacket

January 2nd, 2013
3:40 pm

Timing is interesting. Groh evidently can’t find work and Kelly just turned in the best 6 qtrs the D has played since Groh was hired.

[...] I think I’m going to have to award Johnson with a touché here. “I’m sorry to hear that Al feels that way,” Johnson said in a statement. [...]

GT in CT

January 2nd, 2013
3:43 pm

Can CPJ hire a DC without the new AD?

White&Gold

January 2nd, 2013
3:44 pm

Negative environment? That probably had something to do with the 44 second prevent meltdown against VT, the 90 something yard drive in the final two minutes against Miami, the 49 points given up to MTSU, and the inability to stop Clemson from moving up and down the field on us. We didn’t like losing Al. We also didn’t think it’d be best to run a defense more complicated than an M. Night Shymalan movie.

Axl

January 2nd, 2013
3:49 pm

was Al Groh still the DC when Georgia put up 28 points in the first half?

Chan

January 2nd, 2013
3:51 pm

Does anybody doubt that CPJ is an ahole?

bb

January 2nd, 2013
3:53 pm

If Groh had had even a small amount of success at Tech, his comments might reflect badly on the Institute or CPJ. But, as it is, having been given more than an adequate opportunity to produce and failing to, his comments just come across as sour grapes.

Holy Guacamole

January 2nd, 2013
3:54 pm

Hate to say it (I am an UGA fan) but Tech’s defense has looked a lot better since Groh left. I thought that they did an admirable job in the bowl game and frankly, ever since he left. Maybe he was trying to complicate it too much. I never did think that he had or could recruit the players for his system and seemed to stubbornly insist that they play his system instead of devising one to work with what he did have. That said, I am surprised that he would lash out this way. Must not be able to find a job.

Tech Man

January 2nd, 2013
3:55 pm

Sour grapes from an old man who has seen his days come and go. Your recliner should look real good to you because no one in their right mind would ever hire you now. Good luck in your assisted living home.

Anti Communism

January 2nd, 2013
3:57 pm

I really thought Groh was a classy guy. Seems not the case. He should had just said ” I gave the Tech job my best. They decided to go in another direction. I wish them the best.” That’s all he needed to say. Nope, he takes the road less travled. Stay classy Groh.

Anti Communism

January 2nd, 2013
3:57 pm

I really thought Groh was a classy guy. Seems not the case. He should had just said ” I gave the Tech job my best. They decided to go in another direction. I wish them the best.” That’s all he needed to say. Nope, he takes the road less travled. Stay classy Groh.

Tech Troll 13

January 2nd, 2013
3:58 pm

It was Tevin’s fault CAG got fired. Right VL Joe.

Navy?

January 2nd, 2013
3:59 pm

Yeah, I’m sure our Naval Academy put up with such unprofessionalism and toxicity for so long. {/sarcasm}

Mark

January 2nd, 2013
4:02 pm

Even Monte Kiffin could see the college game was going places his defense was not equipped to handle. He left before his son had to fire him – Groh couldn’t see the writing on the wall. He should have stepped aside after the Sun Bowl and gone back to the pros, like Monte did. Being his age, I understand his reluctance to admit the game as passed him by, but in another 10 years the pro game will have too.

Supersize that order, mutt

January 2nd, 2013
4:08 pm

@ Chan…..I for one don’t think CPJ is an a-hole. I like him, and his players obviously like him. In spite of his getting in their faces if they screw up, not one of them has left the team because of that.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 2nd, 2013
4:18 pm

Seeing how the D gave up an average of 14-1/2 points per game against FSU and USC, it appears the “most divisive and negative” portion of the equation was shown the door in October.

Al, I think the Univ of Phoneix offers an online course in “How To Take The High Road” buddy.

He's right

January 2nd, 2013
4:20 pm

He was made DC and not allowed to bring in his own guys. The defense was time and time again made a public scapegoat even when they played well (VT) or when the offense was just as much at fault (Miami and MTSU). We have a head coach who wants to do nothing more than call plays. He cares little for recruiting, and acts like it’s some huge burden whenever he has to actually help coach the defense, as if it’s not a HC’s responsibility.

Johnson is a great OC. He’s a mediocre HC at this level because he doesn’t do anything other than play calls well. It doesn’t make a difference who we pick up at DC. We aren’t in a situation where a DC can succeed and maybe DC #3 will open some of your eyes, especially if it’s Kelly.

Surprised?

January 2nd, 2013
4:24 pm

I’m surprised he lasted 2.5 years and I’m not sorry for feeling that way at all. Of course, you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken $hit. If you are holding a coordinator accountable for the players already here, then I could see where it might be negative and divisive. If you are honest, you’ll agree that there are not many athletes on that side of the ball. Changing coordinators is not going to remedy that situation.

Tech needs someone with a successful recruiting background and technique. Put your feet under the table sort of thing.

Mulk

Born2Buzz

January 2nd, 2013
4:28 pm

“It was just a bad cultural match.”
Yea Al, we want a culture of winning and you are a proven loser. Thanks for reinforcing that fact for us.

What a douche.

Holy Guacamole

January 2nd, 2013
4:29 pm

@He’s right – If you don’t think that recruiting can make a difference, look at UGA. Two years ago they we 6-7. They just ended their season at 12-2, just two years after the “dream team” (yeah, I know it was a hokey handle) was recruited. I also doubt that Johnson wouldn’t let him bring in “his guys”. As far as the criticism is concerned, he got what his defensive scheme earned, criticism. Happens every time you don’t play well game after game.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 2nd, 2013
4:33 pm

Maybe he is right “He’s right”, but to say this after the team has played much better WITHOUT your services is just plain sour grapes. He just needs to accept that he stunk it up at TECH and move on.

I’ll be the first one to admit that next year is a huge one for CPJ at TECH. The team will be full of upperclassmen that he recruited and he will finally have his QB in place so the offense can reach it’s full potential. Big year for coach in 13′.

Alright, now let’s watch CBG do his thing in roundball!

Delbert D.

January 2nd, 2013
4:35 pm

Super – I think you may have overlooked Phil Smith. He started at tackle for UCF this year. CPJ was in his ear for 3 years, a lot of times publicly on the sidelines. I don’t think the rest of the team missed him, either.

5150 UOAD

January 2nd, 2013
4:37 pm

It is Always the Bosses fault when the employee can’t do their job. Hey Groh here is the D fix it and I’ll be in my office working on the Offense if you need anything just ask.

stalin's ghost

January 2nd, 2013
4:41 pm

frankly I don’t blame AG. considering how hard and how often PJ tossed his under the bus after he was fired. CPJ continues to deny any of this meltdown is his fault.

yeah, AG’s defenses stunk -still do- but who hired him in the first place…..
CPJ

Middle of the Road Team

January 2nd, 2013
4:43 pm

Enter your comments here

Old Dawg

January 2nd, 2013
4:44 pm

Could it be that Al is mad at something else and he is taking it out on GT/Paul Johnson?

Middle of the Road Team

January 2nd, 2013
4:44 pm

You guys face it! Tech sucks no matter who they bring in for any position!!! LOL!!!!

Holy Guacamole

January 2nd, 2013
4:44 pm

Groh’s defense underperformed and he couldn’t recruit. How could you expect it to turn out well? But to blame the environment is just wrong and only serves to make yourself look small. If he did have any class, he would have just kept his mouth shut.

Tech looks like they are going to have a monster year in 13. Improve the D and who knows?

Born2Buzz

January 2nd, 2013
4:45 pm

Mulk or Surprised?, yea, we looked totally over matched against VT and USC the last 2 games. I don’t think so. There is talent there and more in the pipeline.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 2nd, 2013
4:46 pm

Delbert, Smith was asked to take his services elsewhere after he screwed up for a second time before the bowl game last year. He was able to play at UCF because he graduated from TECH in May.

Kiffen

January 2nd, 2013
4:47 pm

OMG are you jackets drinking the kool-aid already after one victory. USC’s QB couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and you call Ga Tech on the way back. What a joke. Your defense sucks no matter who you have coaching it because your players stink, PU!

stalin's ghost

January 2nd, 2013
4:47 pm

one win over a pitiful USC team and all the sudden CPJs underachieving and behaving like a classless toad are forgiven?

GTJohn2

January 2nd, 2013
4:49 pm

I guess it took two and a half years for Groh to figure out his opinion. Now I can understand the awful defense he coached. MTSU had him befuddled.

Best of luck to you anyway Al.

ToeMeetsLeather

January 2nd, 2013
4:49 pm

“midldle of the road”, not a smart place to stand with that “Slow/Stop” sign dude.

Concerned

January 2nd, 2013
4:50 pm

How many points did Tech give up in November?? Why just using the last six quarters to compare?