Paul Hewitt confirms he’s out as Georgia Tech coach

Paul Hewitt's Jackets struggled to a 13-1 record this year (5-11 in the ACC). (AP photo)

Paul Hewitt's Jackets struggled to a 13-18 record this year (5-11 in the ACC). (AP photo)

(UPDATED at noon with Tech announcement.)

Paul Hewitt is out as Georgia Tech’s basketball coach.

Hewitt confirmed this morning that he has been fired, telling our Doug Roberson:  “I’m no longer the coach at Georgia Tech. … I feel very fortunate to have 11 years at Georgia Tech. They’ve been more than fair to me and my family. I wish them all the best. I think Tech is in good hands.”

Hewitt met this morning with athletic director Dan Radakovich, who returned from the ACC tournament Friday night following conference meetings. Multiple reports leaked out this morning that Radakovich fired him at that time, but school officials would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

Tech has finally confirmed the announcement, posting a news release on its website. A press conference has been called for 2 p.m. An excerpt of the news release:

ATLANTA – Head men’s basketball coach Paul Hewitt has been relieved of his duties after 11 seasons at Georgia Tech.

The announcement came today from Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich, who said that a national search for Hewitt’s replacement would begin immediately.

Hewitt’s team concluded the 2010-11 season Thursday night with a 59-43 loss to Virginia Tech in the opening round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. The Yellow Jackets finished 13-18 overall, 5-11 in the ACC.

“I am very appreciative of Paul Hewitt’s dedication to Georgia Tech for the last 11 years,” Radakovich said. “Paul is an outstanding person who has made a positive impact on so many of our student-athletes.”

Hewitt’s firing had been expected since the Tech lost its ACC tournament opener to Virginia Tech Thursday night and finished the season at 13-18.  The Jackets have been expected to move quickly with the decision rather than let the announcement linger past the weekend.

Hewitt is due a $7.2 million balance on the five years remaining on his rollover contract, unless the two sides negotiate a lower buyout. Hewitt needed to be informed by next Wednesday that the rollover contract was being terminated, otherwise it would automatically renew and a sixth year would be added.

We’ll have more as this develops.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

102 comments Add your comment

FullMetalJacket

March 12th, 2011
11:00 am

If true, then good news and good luck to Hewitt.

Not a shocker

March 12th, 2011
11:00 am

Great recruiter, not that great of a coach. Too bad.

FullMetalJacket

March 12th, 2011
11:02 am

Let’s see the short list of replacements. While few of us revel in anyone’s disappointment, we can at least take a little pleasure and interest in the hiring process.

FullMetalJacket

March 12th, 2011
11:06 am

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is gone and was urging Radakovich to pull the trigger two years ago. But during his first several years at Tech he continued Tech’s tradition and status as an upper-middle-tier ACC program, and coached (yes, coached) them to the championship game. Now, however, it is time for him to go pursue other successes and definitely time for Tech to attempt to rebuild it’s program and aim for even greater things.

Bobby Brown

March 12th, 2011
11:06 am

Maybe the excuses and the blame game can stop now. We may not get all 5 star recruits, but atleast we will get someone who can teach players to make free throws.

AlabamaRamblinwreck

March 12th, 2011
11:07 am

Nuff said…..

AlabamaRamblinwreck

March 12th, 2011
11:07 am

and this decision is 3-4 years late, but better late than never.

Boobie Bowden

March 12th, 2011
11:08 am

Good luck Coach Hewitt. Thanks for what you did, and now lets move on to better things.

Cheese

March 12th, 2011
11:11 am

Jeff can we get an article about potential head coaches to replace hewitt?

Jacketbacker

March 12th, 2011
11:11 am

About time! I believe DRad will get the right guy…….Basketball will be back in a hurry. Everything is in place for the right coach to come in and win big.

Go Jackets!!

coondawg69

March 12th, 2011
11:13 am

I think Mark Fox is available for an interview!!

PureEvil

March 12th, 2011
11:16 am

Paul Hewitt’s record is 70-99 in the ACC in 11 seasons. His first 5 years his record in ACC play was 39-41 with 3 NCAA appearances and 1 NIT appearance. In his last 6 seasons his record is 31-58 with 2 NCAA tournament appearances. How much proof do you need that its time for GT basketball to have a new leader? It was clearly time, hopefully this report is true!!

TechLoyalist

March 12th, 2011
11:17 am

The replacement process is over with. The new staff is in place and Tech fans will love it!

kbp

March 12th, 2011
11:18 am

I am a Dawg fan and I really liked Hewitt and not because the Jackets lost a few games to us either. I liked what he stood for as a Coach and according to others he is a very good man. I think in some ways he is a victim of good recruiting. Bosh, Young, Favors, all one year players. Heck, Favors and Aminu should still be there. It is very tough to recruit NBA caliber players and get championship results in one year. Boeheim did it with Carmelo as a one and done player but he already had a very good team and Carmelo put them over the hump. Is there any other Coach out there that has won a championship with one and done players. Not Calipari at Memphis with Evans first and then Rose and not last year at Ky with 5 first rounders and four of them were freshmen. I wish Hewitt well and hopes he gets another big time gig.

UGA REALLY STANDS FOR JOE DIRT

March 12th, 2011
11:19 am

Action taken and confidence restored people!!! Hewitt should have been gone years ago! This is a great day for our hoops program!! We can hopefully return back to our glory days of being a contender in the nations best basketball conference! The ACC in hoops is what the SEC is in football. The GT job is a high profile job. We will get a good coach.

PureEvil

March 12th, 2011
11:20 am

I think Mark Fox is available for an interview!!

NO!!!! but how about Mark Few Gonzaga’s head coach?

Bill

March 12th, 2011
11:20 am

No doubt it is time to move on. Hope people do remember and appreciate what Hewitt did the first 6 years or so. Sad truth is he may have been gone 2 years ago if Favors chose Ga instead. Everyone knew he should have taken St John’s last year….except his family. Wonder if he will still coach the Junior team? Can’t recall a coach being picked to coach a national team that was fired.

Hope Rad does give a call to Stevens to see if their is interest.

PureEvil

March 12th, 2011
11:21 am

Thanks Paul for 2004!!

HelluvaEngineer

March 12th, 2011
11:21 am

Good man, good recruiter, terrible terrible X’s & O’s guy. He’ll be fine either as an ESPN analyst or a lower-tier D1 head coach. Hope DRad and the search committee has some good leads, and can afford a good candidate.

I hope the AJC can interview that jackwagon David Braine and do a story about the aftermath of the most egregious contract ever written.

HE’S GONE! WOOOOT

Techster

March 12th, 2011
11:22 am

This makes my day. Let the birds chirp and the flowers burst forth.

Techwood1

March 12th, 2011
11:23 am

Great News.

Best of Luck to Hewitt. He was a great ambassador for the school everywhere but on the court.

Go Jackets.

PureEvil

March 12th, 2011
11:28 am

If Julian Royal decides to stay commited the new coach will have a great roster to be able to win right away.

Americus Jacket

March 12th, 2011
11:28 am

Yes, I think it was time. But no, I don’t “hate” the guy or want to pile up personal attacks against him. I think Hewitt is a nice guy in a position where he needs to go find greener pastures — and Tech will be better off as well. But I do think he ought to negotiate the best package available to him and his family. He didn’t force Tech to offer him a very stupid contract. How many of you would void a contract with your employer that agreed to pay you money if fired?

And I think we all have to remember that there was no scandal, his players generally liked him, and he seemed to follow all recruiting rules that are frequently broken just due to the complexity of them. I’m pretty sure I am happier with Hewitt than I would be with Pearl at UT right now.

I’m not as confident as many that suddenly Tech will become relevant again in the ACC quickly with a new coach. We may lose some of Hewitt’s players and recruits, and the relationship for recruiting in basketball seems to start very early as opposed to football. OTOH, a new coach may bring new recruits.

So the question: Up and coming coach or someone established? I often say Craig “Noodles” Neal from New Mexico, but really, is an ACC job really going to be given to an assistant coach at a less prestigious program? Bring back Bobby? He was the Southern Conference coach of the year. (And always my favorite coach of any sport.) My only fear: Some guy who played at another ACC school I grew up hating!! PLEASE, no ex-Dukie or Heel!!!

Good luck Hewitt.

acowa

March 12th, 2011
11:31 am

It’s the best thing for both parties.

Hewitt’s final game on campus:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vk5NUvlAv3E

[...] Paul Hewitt out as Georgia Tech coach, according to reportAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Tech officials would neither confirm nor deny a report via college basketball blogger Jeff Goodman on the website Yardbarker that Hewitt was fired this morning. Hewitt was expected to meet today with athletic director Dan Radakovich. … [...]

wreckmaniac

March 12th, 2011
11:31 am

Since this is being done quickly, it may well mean that DRAD already has his man in mind. He certainly has had a lot of time to review potential candidates and put forth some overtures. Bobby Cremins would the first man I would talk with not to become Tech’s coach but to obtain opinions on who good candidates may be. Bobby knows everybody in the business and he certainly knows what it takes to beat Coach K.

groundfog@rocketmail.com

March 12th, 2011
11:32 am

Hewitt is a likeable guy, just didn’t get it done. I quit watching Tech basketball 2 years ago.Look forward to returning my support

Americus Jacket

March 12th, 2011
11:32 am

Quick thought: Bobby with Noodles as “coach in waiting”? To keep Noodles happy, we can offer him a roll-over contract… (OK, just kidding.)

RETIRED

March 12th, 2011
11:33 am

Good man great contract negotiator, enjoy your golden parachute. No tears for Paul! May Tech move on now!

Sad Jacket

March 12th, 2011
11:34 am

Whenever you have to change directions in a program, its a sad day. For all the criticisms of Paul Hewitt as a game coach, he ran a clean program, recruited kids who could play without using illicit tactics and provided some good memories for GaTech fans. He just couldn’t get the most out of his kids and was a sub-par game strategist (witness his amazing ability to call the most unstrategic timeouts maybe in the history of the college game). Moreover, he surrounded himself with terrible assistants which may, silently, have been his ultimate downfall. Shumpert, for example, would be a much more complete and mature player had Hewitt found an assistant who had the primary job of turning Shumpert into a big league superstar. Look even at the Lawal and Favors – they would have been even better with a coaching staff that had a more holistic approach toward college basketball. (Think what Danny Manning did with Cole Aldrich at Kansas under Bill Self). I wish Hewitt all the luck in the world – he is a good man and deserves another shot. He seems to me to be the type of coach and person who will learn and grow from the Ga Tech experience.

The question now: Who is next? While this is a plum market (Atlanta) within a good basketball conference (ACC, albeit down this year) and with good history, it is by no means one of the premier jobs in the college basketball. Radakovich is going to have to be aggressive (can he afford to be?) to find a top-notch coach, especially given the fact that support for the program will be hard to rebuild given the lack of an arena in which to build fan cohesion in the next year. Chatter already is that he has his eye on Kevin Stallings at Vandy. . .that would be a tough grab but it does move him from the mid-SEC (yawn) team to a mid (with potential) ACC team. While he is only one year on a major conference bench, I would look at Tad Boyle (Colorado) who may have a reason to bolt because of Colorado’s move from the Big-12 to the Pac-whatever it is. BIlly Gillespie keeps popping up – baggage but probably deserves another chance after a bizarre stint at Kentucky that really shouldn’t count – he did a great job at Texas A&M. Speaking of A&M, current coach Mark Turgeon is, in my view, one of the best and brightest “younger” names in college basketball. Not sure he would leave the Big-12 but Atlanta could be a draw.

All that said, bet money it will be either a top assistant at a major program or a mid-major head coach. Several coaches in the Mo Valley, Colonial, etc. could probably make the leap. . .probably avoid the MAAC because of the Hewitt/Siena connection. And, finally, a name I have heard a bit of chatter about is Tommy Amaker who has done a great job at Harvard rehabilitating his career after only mediocre success at Seton Hall (one sweet 16) and Michigan (no NCAA appearances but NIT 3x in 6 years). It would get him back into a major conference and also close to his beloved Duke. The beef is his Michigan teams consistently underperformed (the same reason Hewitt is gone). And, finally, someone said Larry Brown isn’t done coaching. . .Ok, probably not. . .Cremmins. . .Hmm. . .An interesting side issue – there is compeittion in the ATL with Ga State also searching for a new coach.

If nothing else, it will make the offseason interesting to watch.

groundfog

March 12th, 2011
11:35 am

David Braine, the worst AD in college history

GonzoConbonzoFlapjack2/3rds

March 12th, 2011
11:36 am

Hooray! This is way overdue. That guy was a cancer and a problem, and his ridiculous contract was even worse. And his comments about football recruits not coming to Tech because of the color of the coach were even more insulting to the Institute. Finally!

ga tech 92

March 12th, 2011
11:37 am

Thank goodness. Best of wishes to Hewitt in his future. Let’s all move forward and hope for the best for all parties.

cra3ze

March 12th, 2011
11:38 am

When Hewitt came to Tech from Siena, he brought with him assistant coach Clint Warren. Hewitt was the recruiter, Warren was the bench coach, the X and O man. When Warren left for Jacksonville, Tech stopped winning.

burdell68

March 12th, 2011
11:38 am

You can blame Braine but Clough pushed it and The Atheletic Board went along like sheep.

SilentCC

March 12th, 2011
11:39 am

I would be appalled if his conscience allows him to run off with the $7 mil. He may be a “good guy” on a personal level, but he’ll lose ALL my respect if he pockets the dough.

Mark Bradley

March 12th, 2011
11:39 am

gt

March 12th, 2011
11:39 am

The great recruiting was done on a previous reputation of the ACC and Tech. I know players that are starting in the ACC that wanted to go to Tech but no offer. Cremins did the same thing, but Cremins usually won with what he kept. I remember the story of Matt Harpring and how Bobby’s son begged his father to give a scholarship to one of the all time greats at Tech, against Cermins better judgement. In college and pro coaching ,I think, the real talent of a coaching staff is to recognize talent, both in recruiting and playing for them. Anthony Morrow was a player barely noticed at Tech, but is now considered one of the best pure shooters in the NBA.. He went undrafted out of Tech. I am thinking there was other talent underused at Tech and left parked at a high school wanting to come to Tech. I don’t think Hewitt realized the damage he was putting on not only Tech but the ACC which showcases in Atlanta. I find people have literally forgotten about the Cremins era at Tech and have thought the school and the league are over hyped. If it had been football and this had been the SEC he would have been gone years ago, you can’t middle class a brand like that that once was worth millions. You can’t use the Gailey, Dave Braine excuse that Tech is just not a winner and never will be. Instead of taking a loser and keeping it a loser, Hewitt took a winner and turned it into a loser, and in doing so about wrecked the ACC on the way.

groundfog

March 12th, 2011
11:39 am

Great coaches, or even good ones get their teams to win on the road. Was there anything more indicting that Hewitt’s road record? Guilty

gt

March 12th, 2011
11:40 am

The Dave Braine mediocrity has left the building.

GTsnakes

March 12th, 2011
11:44 am

Cole Harvey has confirmed it with Hewitt.

down and out

March 12th, 2011
11:44 am

hewitt’s legal camp will sue for big money–book it.

5150 UOAD

March 12th, 2011
11:45 am

There WILL be DANCING DANCING the Streets Yes there will be DANCING Dancing in the streets.

GonzoConbonzoFlapjack2/3rds

March 12th, 2011
11:46 am

It is about timt this change was made. Hooray for Bronco!

The Dude

March 12th, 2011
11:47 am

Good to hear. For the last 3 years Tech has just looked sloppy and unorganized on the court. The talent has been there, but the team never played together.

I just hope GT doesn’t let a 3 year old negotiate the next contract. The Hewitt auto renew was just rediculous.

Dan

March 12th, 2011
11:47 am

Sad Jacket

Although he would be a good fit for recruiting players at a school with academic standards, i doubt Tommy Amaker would come back into the ACC unless he gets to sit in the big chair at Duke once K retires. While Amaker is rehabbing his reputation with his performance at Harvard after some sketchy work at Seton Hall and Michigan, Coach K does not like playing against his former assistants (Duke’s home and home with Michigan was ended after Amaker ended up at U of M and Duke has not played Notre Dame in the regular season since Mike Brey became the HC) and probably would be “disappointed” if Amaker came back into the ACC..

Sad Jacket

March 12th, 2011
11:48 am

As for the contract, why would anyone begrudge Paul Hewitt what Geogia Tech’s adminstration agreed to with their eyes wide open. There are few people in the world who wouldn’t take what the buyout if they are completely honest. There was no fraud, no duress and stupidity of the guy on the other side of the table is not a legal reason to invalidate a contract.

While there may be plenty to blame Paul Hewitt for on the court, his ability (and that of his lawyers and representatives) to negotiate this contract with supposedly really smart administrators (Ga Tech’s Braine, for example, WINK!) is a Paul Hewitt attribute, not a criticism. In this case, the criticism is all pointed in a single direction, at the Georgia Tech administration. PERIOD!

just saying

March 12th, 2011
11:49 am

yes surely DRAD will consult with Bobby Cremins on hiring the next coach, who better? Maybe you AJC writers can also contact Cremins along with former GT greats as Mark Price, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, etc…and also ask their opinions. That would make a great article. Also AJC, why not ask the former GT players, if any of them are interested in applying for the position.

Americus Jacket

March 12th, 2011
11:50 am

What the heck is Hewitt’s camp suing for???

Most coaches settle because it gets a little complicated to coach when under contract to another school. And why the heck would we be disappointed with someone receiving what he is contractually entitled to receive?

Let’s say it had gone the other way. Hewitt signed the big contract and started winning everything. I also would have expected him to honor his contract.

PureEvil

March 12th, 2011
11:50 am

SilentCC

You’re an idiot!!! Thats the point of having a contract. You know DAMN well if you had a contract like his and you were FIRED you’d hold them to every dollar. He’s getting FIRED. It’s not like PH hasn’t been trying as hard as he can to win. He gave up leaving for another school to stay at tech. GT gave out a really stupid contract why is that his fault?