Pearl out at Tennessee — will openings hurt Tech search? (Updated)

Bruce Pearl is out of a job at Tennessee ...

Bruce Pearl is out at Tennessee, which means ...

(UPDATED: 4:30 p.m.)

Tennessee is looking for a basketball coach after firing Bruce Pearl. Finally.

They also should be looking for an athletic director because how Mike Hamilton still has a job after allowing Pearl to keep his job for the past six months boggles the mind. (Hamilton is the same guy who hired Lane Kiffin as football coach, so it’s safe to conclude he doesn’t think clearly under pressure.)

There is a potential ripple effect with the Pearl firing — and it’s not good for Georgia Tech.

The Yellow Jackets have significant company in their job search. Even with Texas Tech hiring Billy Gillispie, there are still at least six programs from major conferences with basketball openings:

... that's one more potential opening for Chris Mooney

... that's one more potential opening for Chris Mooney

Georgia Tech (ACC), Tennessee (SEC), North Carolina State (ACC), Oklahoma (Big 12), Arkansas (SEC) and Providence (Big East).

There is good and bad with the Tech situation. The good is that, even with the program down right now, the Jackets’ basketball coaching position still can be a top five job in the ACC, and therefore a top 25 job in the nation. The bad is that athletic director Dan Radakovich is dealing with a tight budget and the school already is paying Paul Hewitt $7.2 million over the next five years to not coach.

It’s a world of supply and demand, and Radakovich likely can’t afford to get into a bidding war with other schools. He also is facing increasing competition for potential top candidates like Chris Mooney (Richmond),  Brad Stevens (Butler), Shaka Smart (VCU) and anybody else that might be high on his wish list. (Personal viewpoint: Mark Price is not a serious candidate and certainly would not be central to a bidding war. The first call should still go to Stevens, the second to Mooney.)

Now let’s take a look at those openings again. Tennessee, Oklahoma and Arkansas all have mammoth athletic budgets and have the resources to outspend Tech. North Carolina has shown a willingness to make a splash in the past, and would like to do so with this hire. Providence is smaller and can’t compete with Tech in the big picture, but the basketball program has a strong tradition.

According to a financial database by the U.S. Department of Education for equity in athletics, Tech is a distant fifth among the athletic programs in annual total revenue (based on 2009-10 information). Tennessee leads all six at $100.730 million. It is followed by Oklahoma ($98.662 million), Arkansas ($78.072 million), North Carolina State ($50.336 million), Georgia Tech ($46.983 million) and Providence ($18.527 million).

Obviously this doesn’t take into account current economic situations at each school, nor what each school will choose to allocate for the hiring of a new coach. But the big picture isn’t in Tech’s favor.

If Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas or possibly even North Carolina State  want a candidate as much as Tech, what are the Jackets’ realistic chances of getting their top choice?

Radakovich will need to sell Mooney (or whomever) on the ACC’s tradition, Atlanta as a recruiting base and the impending renovation of Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Money likely won’t sway things in Tech’s direction.

Then again, the Jackets have at least one significant advantage over Oklahoma and Tennessee. NCAA investigators aren’t knocking on their door.

By Jeff Schultz

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

360 comments Add your comment

WKH

March 21st, 2011
2:55 pm

Harry from da Burn

March 21st, 2011
2:58 pm

Any chance we (Tech) bring in Pearl? The guy has learned his lesson (hopefully), and he is a good coach.

Obama's Teleprompter

March 21st, 2011
2:58 pm

D A DoubleU G

March 21st, 2011
3:01 pm

Since the ajc would never report anything positive about the UGA football team, I would like anybody who is interested to read the following article from bleacherreport.

http://bleacherreport.com/tb/b8Bt6

Thanks.

And I think Pearl out will have zero effect on Tech landing a quality coach. Tennessee has grown to a respectable job, but I am sure a young talented coach would prefer to be in a big southern-hub city coaching in the ACC than to be coaching at a football school. And let’s face it, Georgia Tech is FAR from a football school.

lanier

March 21st, 2011
3:01 pm

Teck wont take a back seat to anyone when they decide their on man

Speedygurl

March 21st, 2011
3:02 pm

Bill Lewis

March 21st, 2011
3:02 pm

Hire Ron Jirsa!

Jeff Schultz

March 21st, 2011
3:03 pm

Harry from da Burn — I hope Tech hires Pearl because it would give me about 12,000 easy columns. But no, I don’t think that’s happening.

Buckeye

March 21st, 2011
3:03 pm

Tressel’s not and our basketbsll team is the # 1 seed and on to the sweet 16.

Buckeye

March 21st, 2011
3:04 pm

Tressel’s not and our basketball team is the # 1 seed and on to the sweet 16.

Tom C

March 21st, 2011
3:05 pm

What Pearl did was wrong, not sure he deserved to be fired. I would like to see Mike Hamilton get fired, what he did was wrong as well.

Richard Dawson

March 21st, 2011
3:07 pm

The fiscal irresponsibility that governmental universities demonstrate is appaling. My alma mater, UGA, is even worse. We’re probably still paying Ray Goof. Quit signing coaches to long-term contracts. Look at the track record. Someone should conduct a study of the average salary remaining on a coach’s contract when he is fired. I bet the average major college, major sport (football/basketball) coach is fired with 3-4 years left on his contract. This is a GOVERNMENT activity. I realize it is bringing in big bucks, but it is fiscally irresponsible to sign coaches to such long-term contracts when there is such a high likelihood that you will fire them during the contract. Asinnine.

SmyrnaJerome

March 21st, 2011
3:07 pm

GT can have Bruce. Plenty of good coaches out there who wont lie to the NCAA and then get parents to cover his tracks. UT will be fine without Bruce

SOUTH GA DAWG FANS

March 21st, 2011
3:08 pm

Enter your comments here

Road Scholar

March 21st, 2011
3:08 pm

He’s a scumbag! And Tressel should be fired also! Oh but he wins!!! Too bad.

Ray Goff

March 21st, 2011
3:09 pm

I played Basketball in High School! Hire me!

SOUTH GA DAWG FANS

March 21st, 2011
3:10 pm

so thats what happens when you accidentally hit the enter button.
Tech does not need him
it would be like UGA with Harrick
stay away from the pearl

AlwaysAVol

March 21st, 2011
3:10 pm

Rick Petino (?) Jr. was on campus at UT last night…

Dan Radakovich

March 21st, 2011
3:10 pm

This job sucks.

Ray Goff

March 21st, 2011
3:10 pm

@ Richard Dawson

Lighten up Francis!

joe

March 21st, 2011
3:10 pm

Pearl deserved to be fired, but Tressel and Calhoun deserve it more…NCAA hypocrisy…

lazydawg

March 21st, 2011
3:12 pm

Wherever he lands be assured the NCAA will follow. If he lands at Tech maybe he can take off his shirt and paint himself like a bumble-bee. If I could just find that Genie in a bottle.

Honky Talkin'

March 21st, 2011
3:12 pm

Tech is the 3rd best coaching job in the ACC. The money may not be the most important factor.

AAA Man

March 21st, 2011
3:12 pm

What moron at Tech agreed to a $7.2 million dollar buyout for Hewitt?

George Stein

March 21st, 2011
3:13 pm

You’re right, Double. No one ever pays attention to UGA football at the AJC.

Anything else you’d like to hear yourself say?

JoeFan

March 21st, 2011
3:14 pm

Atlanta as a recruiting base, ACC membership and the fact that DRad has stated money will not be a roadblock in hiring a new coach, leads me to believe that GT will hire a top shelf coach. The other openings should not a hinderance to the search process. I also have to believe that based on DRad’s comments that the hiring is a matter of formalities and that the new coach will come from the remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament.

Gordon Gee

March 21st, 2011
3:15 pm

I’ve modified Coach Tressel’s “suspension”. Instead of missing the Miami and Michigan State games, he will miss the Indiana and Purdue games.

I trust that the NCAA will accept whatever we decide is fair. We’ve already proven that we want to do the right thing.

blazer

March 21st, 2011
3:15 pm

stay away from him tech

Tech Fan

March 21st, 2011
3:17 pm

I am amazed how tight lipped the whole Mooney situation has been. Good for GT.

George Stein

March 21st, 2011
3:19 pm

Uh, what is the NCAA supposed to do to Tressel or Calhoun, Joe? They can’t fire the coaches.

And if you think the punishments from the NCAA are disparate, then it would be a double standard, not hypocrisy (not that either are substantive charges).

FACTS

March 21st, 2011
3:20 pm

If Tennessee had enough guts to fire Pearl, then Ohio State needs to step up as well & give Tressel the boot!

4 eyes

March 21st, 2011
3:21 pm

I hear it’s Screech’s job to lose.
Might as well have the leader of the team be a representation of the student body, right?

george

March 21st, 2011
3:21 pm

tech is the 3rd best coaching job in the acc? in what universe? md, vatech, uva, ncs, bc and even wake forest are demonstrably better jobs in the league. tech fans got spoiled by cremin’s one and done success and that has clouded the judgement of what is a very well educated alumni base. of course their fans are rarely alums rather like notre dame.

Happy Dawg

March 21st, 2011
3:22 pm

Good riddance cheater! AD should also go bye-bye. Kiffin and Pearl…some real class acts right there.

TechFaninVR

March 21st, 2011
3:22 pm

I know it has nothing to do with this post but Schultz. How are you feeling about that column last week on the Sec passing the Acc in hoops. The Acc is 7-1 in the tourney.

Tucker T

March 21st, 2011
3:23 pm

No way Stevens comes to Tech. He can hold out for a premiere job. Going to Tech would be taking a step backwards.

joe

March 21st, 2011
3:24 pm

@ George…ah, tomato, potato…now go bail someone out of jail.

PMC

March 21st, 2011
3:24 pm

Ha, no, if they let Mike Hamilton do the deciding tech won’t be picking from the same pool of felons.

yeah

March 21st, 2011
3:24 pm

No way UT is a more attractive job than GT. I actually would not have a problem with Pearl coming to GT…he battled us for many recruits in recent years and it would be nice to see more in state talent staying in Atlanta. George your an idiot if you think VT, UVA, BC and Wake are better jobs. GT and NC State are on the same level…your GT envy is clear. Jay Bilas agrees as do many other ACC fans/alumni.

Bobby Knight

March 21st, 2011
3:24 pm

Rad, I’m still available.

Kenny Powers

March 21st, 2011
3:25 pm

Bruce Pearl
You’re F—–g Out
Cheater
Nice Athletic Program UT
BBWAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHAAAAAA

StraightJacket

March 21st, 2011
3:25 pm

UCLA, Kansas, UNC, Dook, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, and maybe Michigan State are your “elite” schools in college basketball. Despite the large crowds, big money, and other factors, schools like Georgetown, Syracuse, Texas, Florida, and Ohio State just don’t belong in the “elite” group.

Neither do Oklahoma, NCSU, Arkansas, or Tennessee.

If any of the Top Elite schools open up, then they present a huge challenge for DRAD.

As for these others? It is simply a matter of a mutual fit. Tech has advantages … and disadvantages … just like everybody EXCEPT the “elite” group.

DRAD will land a quality “fit” for Tech, whether it is Mooney, or somebody else.

Harry from da Burn

March 21st, 2011
3:26 pm

Why am I the only one who believes D-Rad when he says money is not an issue? But yea, people who give coach’s buyouts like 7 mil are stupid after they were runner up to the national championship…You talk about coach’s who deserved to be fired? How about the coach who has the most arrest in NCAA division I last season?

Who Cares

March 21st, 2011
3:27 pm

Tech is the 3rd best coaching job in the ACC???? That is a joke i hope. Tech is the 3rd best coaching job in the state of Ga. This firing shouldn’t hurt Tech, they have already decided that their next coach only needs to have high school coaching back ground, A.E. (Mark Price). Besides, Tech can only afford a former highschool coach with all the money they owe Hewitt. The reason for the tight lip regarding Mooney is because he is over qualified for tech and there aren’t even any whispers going around about Tech.

Buzzzed

March 21st, 2011
3:28 pm

Jeff, rumor has it that Mooney is a “done deal”. I would take this to mean that he has already signed on the dotted line and if anyone wanted Mooney, they would have to pay Tech a chunk of change.

EndoLAAAAYTER

March 21st, 2011
3:29 pm

Brad Stevens is not a candidate. Hes as likely to leave his school as Coach K is.

Kowalchuck

March 21st, 2011
3:30 pm

GT is prepared to spend what is necessary to get their guy. The tight budget concerns are blown out of proportion in the media. To spend 7.2 million on a buyout of Hewitt and 40+ million on the new arena, the AA and boosters / supporters understand that money can not be the obstacle when it comes to getting the RIGHT guy at Tech.

Mooney to GT hopefully locked up before the final 4.

Dan F

March 21st, 2011
3:30 pm

Tech was in the same hole before the Pearl firing. With the payout to of $7.2 million of five years, it’s like paying two head coaches. Tech needs to find a young Mid Major Coach who would kill for an ACC job

PMC

March 21st, 2011
3:31 pm

Any coach at UT will always be secondary to thier football coach and thier womens basketball coach until she retires.

A rare situation for sure, but you’re always 3rd in line at UT in mens basketball.

J W

March 21st, 2011
3:33 pm

Integrity – both personal and for the program – should be as high on the GT requirement list as any other reason for ANY coach to be offered a position.