(UPDATED: 8:56 a.m.)
Sometimes you don’t get the buzz hire (and in this case we don’t mean Buzz Williams). Sometimes you don’t sell tickets or get anybody to run through a wall at the news conference. But sometimes all of that is overrated.
Georgia Tech has hired Brian Gregory of Dayton as its next basketball coach, and we’ll find out soon enough if it was the right decision.
Does he get a lot of people excited? Judging by the reaction when his name leaked out on Twitter a few days ago, no. But that really doesn’t mean anything, unless athletic director Dan Radakovich was hoping to sell season tickets this week.
Georgia didn’t get buzz with Mark Fox. The Falcons didn’t get buzz with Mike Smith.
Excitement from coach hiring last only until the open tipoff or kickoff. After that, you have to win. Gregory has done that. He was 172-94 in eight seasons at Dayton, including 97-46 in the last four. He went to the NCAA tournament in his first season in 2003-04 and lost, and five years later went 27-8 but lost in the second round.
His greatest postseason success: Dayton won the NIT last year.
In the Atlantic 10, Dayton went 22-10 in conference play in Gregory’s first two seasons, but only 48-48 in the next six years.
Shaka Smart, Chris Mooney – and certainly the sudden king of the hill, Brad Stevens — probably would have gotten more people excited. But that doesn’t mean Gregory can’t win everybody over.
By Jeff Schultz