Georgia Tech’s whiff at Chris Mooney doesn’t look good

Georgia Tech apparently couldnt show Mooney the money. (AP photo)

Georgia Tech apparently couldnt show Mooney the money.

This doesn’t mean Georgia Tech is not going to get a good basketball coach when this is all over, and it certainly doesn’t mean the program is doomed for all eternity.

But what happened Sunday doesn’t look good.

Georgia Tech couldn’t hire away the Richmond coach. A program that should be top five annually in the ACC couldn’t hire away a coach from the Atlantic 10. The biggest reason most likely is financial. What does that bode for the future?

Richmond coach Chris Mooney, believed to be the Jackets’ top choice to replace Paul Hewitt, decided to remain at Richmond for a 10-year contract extension. This comes after Buzz Williams, another potential Tech

Dan Radakovich shouldn't have problems selling Tech.

Dan Radakovich shouldn't have problems selling Tech.

candidate, decided to stay at Marquette for a new contract. Missouri State’s Cuonzo Martin, who was interviewed by the Jackets, was hired at Tennessee (although it’s not known if he would have received an offer from Tech).

That leaves Dayton’s Brian Gregory (who has one NCAA tournament win in eight years) and Tulsa’s Doug Wojcik (who never has coached in the NCAA tournament) as the known candidates.

This should not have been a difficult hire for athletic director Dan Radakovich. Atlanta is a desirable city, the ACC is a conference steeped in basketball tradition and the Tech campus sits in the heart of one of the top basketball recruiting bases in the nation. Getting a basketball coach to come here should be a lot easier than getting a football coach to come here.

But the tight economic situation in the athletic department and the $7.2 million payoff given to Hewitt clearly is hindering the process. That’s not going to leave a good impression with fans, alumni or possibly recruits.

It should be noted that Mark Fox was not Georgia’s first choice, and he certainly turned out OK. Former athletic director Damon Evans wanted Jeff Capel (who took the Oklahoma job), and Anthony Grant (who went to Alabama) and Mike Anderson (Missouri) also were both considered ahead of Fox in the pecking order.

But it was easier to understand the doubt at Georgia because basketball so many viewed basketball as the ugly step sister on campus and the school never had fully committed to the program before.

That’s the case at Tech. The Jackets have a resume. But right now Radakovich seems to be having trouble selling the program.

By Jeff Schultz

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

142 comments Add your comment

Outside Observer

March 27th, 2011
8:23 pm

Good year to be a mid-major coach, bad year to be looking to hire one of them

CW

March 27th, 2011
8:23 pm

CW

March 27th, 2011
8:24 pm

dang, 2nd and 3rd.

GT81Lawyer

March 27th, 2011
8:28 pm

It’s not a bad thing to wait this out. Patience.

Rafe Hollister

March 27th, 2011
8:29 pm

Hire Kenny Anderson. He made 700 on the SAT on his third try.

cattle dawg

March 27th, 2011
8:31 pm

Radako has got some thick eyebrows.

John

March 27th, 2011
8:32 pm

There are so many rumors going around about who was interviewed/offered that nobody has a clue what’s going on. That includes this newspaper.

DRad is doing this in a low profile way and the person he hires will be a pleasant suprise.

And….waiting on ignorant trailer-trash UGAg fans to chime in with their stupid comments in 6 5 4 3 2 1

GT Letterman

March 27th, 2011
8:32 pm

Concerning Mooney, let’s consider the facts. While he did get a better contract, he signed on to stay in Richmond for 10 more years. Who does that? Richmond? Nice town, but 10 years?

Maybe Tech dodged a bullet if that is his logic.

GT81Lawyer

March 27th, 2011
8:32 pm

I’m not a big believer in taking the “hot” coach, but that Smart fellow seems like a coach the players really believe in. His defense looked like Tech’s in the mid-80s. Guys flying all over the place. Kansas could not get a decent look most of the game. He certainly has some bombers, which bodes well for VCU in the Final Four. He’s energetic. He’s funny. Now, can VCU hold him? On the other side, our recently departed coach had a spectacular run 7 years ago too. But he was always kind of staid. IMHO.

cattle dawg

March 27th, 2011
8:33 pm

Is it just me or does radako look like mike dukakis?

cattle dawg

March 27th, 2011
8:40 pm

Jeff, who do you like for the tech job?

BigdaddyJ

March 27th, 2011
8:41 pm

Great to be a Georgia Bullldog!

Tech86

March 27th, 2011
8:41 pm

I keep saying it, the best choice is Donnie Tyndall, he has all the requirments we need. Built a program up from rock bottom, (beat Louisville with the nuts to go for the win and not the tie) his players believe in him. He has always increased academics at each school he has been, he recruits Atlanta, so he is known by the locals. He could be the next Bobby Cremins. If not him, then go with Craig Neal, as an Alum I would take either one.

Woody Bass

March 27th, 2011
8:44 pm

Wow… Brad Stevens isnt even being considered? BADDDDDD move if not. Tech should back a bank vault up to his door and beg him to come to Tech.

Vain Jangling

March 27th, 2011
8:44 pm

Face it, Tech basketball is going to be a hard sell, even with any supposed ACC clout. Everyone knows by now that good young coaches can win big at smaller schools. Tech is cash strapped, and moneyed alumni simply do not belly up to help pay off a fired coach, which is where the scratch is needed most. Plus, as everyone knows, Tech doesn’t have they academic majors in which to stash marginal qualifiers. Finally, the “one and done” history of Tech’s hot shot recruits has ended up killing any hope of continuity and team development. And yeah, the state of Georgia is a recruiter’s dream, but Tech, one of the in-state, flagship institutions, has to take a back seat to everyone else coming in and cherry picking the prize recruits. In short, the bloom is off Tech’s rose. Winning big would cure many of these ills, but to do that we’re right back looking at the ACC thing again, and any year-in-and-year-out ACC schedule is a mighty tough row to hoe.

Who would have ever believed that UGA was be a better basketball job than Tech.

William Satterwhite

March 27th, 2011
8:46 pm

I’m not sure I understand why a coach decided to stay at his current school and getting a 10-year extension in the process makes Tech look bad. It would be one thing if Mooney “spurned” Tech to go to some other school with an opening like NC St or Mizzou but staying at a place where he was already comfortable and has built a successful program already and is getting an amazing bit of job security? I don’t see anything there as a knock against Tech.

William Satterwhite

March 27th, 2011
8:46 pm

I’m not sure I understand why a coach decided to stay at his current school and getting a 10-year extension in the process makes Tech look bad. It would be one thing if Mooney “spurned” Tech to go to some other school with an opening like NC St or Mizzou but staying at a place where he was already comfortable and has built a successful program already and is getting an amazing bit of job security? I don’t see anything there as a knock against Tech.

Dawgfan0711

March 27th, 2011
8:47 pm

You would think money wouldn’t be a problem. A coach that wins, pays for himself and then some.

Loran, Whatayagot?

March 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

Since Tech’s gonna be turned down by a series of coaches who recognize that the basketball program is in a downward spiral, the only name left is George P. Burdell. (Techmites know who that is).

Rafe Hollister

March 27th, 2011
8:50 pm

William, press submit just once.

Outside Observer

March 27th, 2011
8:52 pm

Can we go ahead and abandon the excuse that Tech has been ruined by one-and-dones? Ohio State has been a title contender every year with one-and-dones like Oden, Conley Jr, Koufos, and Mullins. Whatever team Calipari is coaching seems to do well with the freshman competing for a year then reloading. I admit teams like Kansas and Duke have benefitted from never having freshman leave after a year (Kansas losing its first last year in Xavier Henry, who originally committed to Calipari and Memphis, and Duke likely losing it’s first this year with Irving), but they are bringing in other top talent and it is sticking around. Guys who aren’t rated as top ten players but are in the elite recruiting rankings upper echelon. Let’s face it. Tech hasn’t had to deal with things other top teams haven’t dealt with already. We just didn’t use the talent to the best of its abilities.

@DanWeiner

March 27th, 2011
8:53 pm

Georgia Tech should follow the Butler model. Find a young, hungry coach who stresses defense and basketball IQ. Clearly, going out and recruiting freak athletes got Hewitt nowhere. It’s evident you can win in the game today with smart basketball players who aren’t the super athletes.

William Satterwhite

March 27th, 2011
8:54 pm

Rafe, I did, don’t know why it posted twice. Usually a little warning will come up if a comment is about to be double-posted somehow.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
8:54 pm

GT81Lawyer — Shaka Smart would get people excited, but it’s only his second season. Definitely a risk, but maybe worth it.

Hoopster

March 27th, 2011
8:55 pm

Jeff, how did Tech whiff if he was never offered the job? Just curious. Get your facts straight.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
8:55 pm

Cattle Dawg — The guy I liked just said no.

5150 UOAD

March 27th, 2011
8:55 pm

Better to be told “No I Want Marry You” than to go through the Hewitt Divorce again.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
8:56 pm

Woody Bass — You kidding? I’m sure Tech would jump at Brad Stevens. But if Chris Mooney won’t come here, why would arguably the most sought-after head coach in America come here?

5150 UOAD

March 27th, 2011
8:56 pm

Neal over Shaka Smart. Neal Loves TECH. Shaka is on 2 yrs in as a HC.

Bad Journalism

March 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

I’m a Georgia fan, and think this is bad journalism, no offer was made, and he was only a candidate that had agreed to an interview. We have no idea that he was a lead candidate, and there are a lot of great candidates that are remaining. How do you know that there are not candidates still in the dance or just now out of it? VCU’s coach would be great! The AD is smart to not publicly talk about the top candidates. Several of the ones mentioned in the media are obligatory interviews because they are part of the Tech family. Mark Price has to be interviewed if he is interested, even if he has no shot. UGA would give Domonique Wilkins an interview for the same reason.

Bad Journalism

March 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

I’m a Georgia fan, and think this is bad journalism, no offer was made, and he was only a candidate that had agreed to an interview. We have no idea that he was a lead candidate, and there are a lot of great candidates that are remaining. How do you know that there are not candidates still in the dance or just now out of it? VCU’s coach would be great! The AD is smart to not publicly talk about the top candidates. Several of the ones mentioned in the media are obligatory interviews because they are part of the Tech family. Mark Price has to be interviewed if he is interested, even if he has no shot. UGA would give Domonique Wilkins an interview for the same reason.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
8:57 pm

William Satterwhite — If Mooney was going to stay at Richmond, you knew he’d get a raise and long extension. But the initial decision to say no Georgia Tech was his.

Atl Resident for Athlete

March 27th, 2011
8:58 pm

For a 7.2 million buyout, Tech AD needs to hire Hewitt back, should have never bought him out to soon anyway, just keeping it real cause that’s exactly what they are now finding out.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
8:58 pm

Hoopster — Oh right. The he-never-got-offered-the-job argument.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 27th, 2011
8:59 pm

I have a feeling this isn’t going to turn out so well.

Huh?

March 27th, 2011
8:59 pm

Jeff, please explain how you can factually categorize this as a “whiff” for GT? Isn’t it quite possible that GT did not offer Mooney following the interview? Or that Mooney was not the right fit? It would be the fair and responsible reporting for you to say that this could have equally been a whiff for Mooney, but oh wait, I forgot this is not the place for fair & balanced

DS

March 27th, 2011
9:00 pm

Wait.. did you say they gave hewitt a 7.2 million dollar payoff?? 7.2 MEEELION???? Dear Lord, i will coach it for 25% of that when I get fired…. really.

Who Cares

March 27th, 2011
9:01 pm

Schltz is such a loser. Why he is still writing blogs for this pathetic paper is a mystery to everyone. Tech strikes out three times and this nerd of a so called writer brings up UGA and it’s attempt to hire a coach 3 years ago. If it makes the loser shultz and the loser tech fan base to compare the Fox hire with whoever the losers from north ave hires, so be it. UGA has a decent coach, and Tech has nobody, but tech can always count on this loser Schutz to try and make Tech look good at UGA’s expense. Bottomline is UGA has beaten the nerds 2 years in a row, and who cares who the losers hire, and who cares what this joke of a writer thinks. This guy has been wrong on everything he has predicted the past two years, and the only thing he can get right is his desire to trash UGA’s program, but he want be around when UGA gets back to the top of the SEC, and he certainly want be around when Tech wins another ACC title in anything

Hoopster

March 27th, 2011
9:02 pm

Ummm Jeff……if he never got offered, then yeah it’s that arguement. He never got offered. Kinda simple isn’t it?

Rodney Dangerfield

March 27th, 2011
9:02 pm

I mean with those two remaining names being leaked. Yuck, that does not energize me. Go for Wojcik, sounds more compelling than Gregory. Both don’t “energize” me. Both almost make me feel that keeping Hewitt may have been a better idea.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 27th, 2011
9:04 pm

Who Cares you are an idiot. He is making the comparison saying don’t run around like the sky is falling when UGA didn’t land it’s first choice either, but turned out OK. And UGA basketball is a joke.

Buzzzed

March 27th, 2011
9:04 pm

Don’t think this guy was offered. Just went interviewing for a raise apparently.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
9:05 pm

DS — They had to pay balance of contract. Not sure that qualifies as a “buyout” in my view. More a payoff.

Rodney Dangerfield

March 27th, 2011
9:06 pm

I wonder how many more coaches are going to take this opportunity to get a raise on Tech’s account.

GT in CT

March 27th, 2011
9:06 pm

St. John’s didn’t get its first choice for coach either. How did that work out?

5150 UOAD

March 27th, 2011
9:08 pm

I think you interview a few candidates before you offer a job to any of them. I don’t know if he was offered or not, but I am thinking he was not. Tech had others they wished to talk with before any offer was made. I am sure some general details as to the Time and Compensation was going to be offered. That is all.

Jeff Schultz

March 27th, 2011
9:10 pm

Huh (and others) — Let me tell you how it works. Sought-after coaches don’t officially get offers unless the team/school offering know that coach is going to say yes. Why? Because they don’t want to be publicly rejected. Many Georgia fans made the case that UGA never made an offer to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart last year, even though logic screamed the job was his if he wanted it. If you would like to believe that Tech did not want Chris Mooney as its basketball coach, that’s fine. I’m sure he had no leverage whatsoever, which is why Richmond gave him a raise and 10-year extension and Tech is still looking for a basketball coach.

William Satterwhite

March 27th, 2011
9:13 pm

Jeff, do we know for sure that he was offered the job after the Sunday interview? And on top of that, do we know for sure that he didn’t already have the Richmond extension in his pocket when he interviewed with Tech? Unless the answer to the first question is yes and the answer to the second is no, then I don’t think it’s fair to spin this as a defeat for Tech. For all intents and purposes, Mooney just got what amounts to a Hewitt-like extension- that kind of job security at a place that’s not too far below a non-Duke/UNC ACC job is pretty tough to beat no matter how much money you have to play with.

Hoopster

March 27th, 2011
9:14 pm

I’ll let GT’s AD tell me how it works. Not Schultz. Trust the decision makers, not the journalists.

Gah Lee Moses

March 27th, 2011
9:16 pm

It sucks to be a Georgia Bulldog :)