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
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