Radakovich’s exit won’t affect Paul Johnson (for now)

Dan Radakovich fired Paul Hewitt but he hired Paul Johnson. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Dan Radakovich fired Paul Hewitt but he hired Paul Johnson. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

(UPDATED: 1:30 p.m.)

Dan Radakovich is leaving as athletic director at Georgia Tech, where he had thousands of empty seats at football games and needed to search between couch cushions for funding, for the same job at Clemson, where he won’t have to worry about either.

So don’t blame Radakovich for leaving. He has been rumored for previous vacancies — most recently Tennessee and Texas A&M — and the wonder is that he didn’t leave before for a more lucrative option. The fact Radakovich is filling a position at another ACC school may upset some Tech fans, but it’s a slam dunk of a career move.

The question many already are asking is: What does this mean for Paul Johnson?

The answer: Probably nothing. At least in the short term.

Nor should it.

Tech is having a bad season: 3-5 overall, 2-3 in the ACC and coming off a 41-17 home loss to BYU. This follows going 2-5 down the stretch last season after a 6-0 start. Johnson has fired two defensive coordinators during his tenure and the fact the Jackets failed to score an offensive touchdown against BYU just raised the volume level of those who never liked his offense to begin with.

Radakovich recently gave Johnson a vote of confidence. That vote obviously means nothing now that he’s not on campus any more. But in declaring Johnson “the right person for the job,” Radakovich also said a few weeks ago: “I know there’s some erosion in support right now, but the Falcons are 5-0, and there was erosion in their fan base last year, too, when they didn’t win in the playoffs. That’s the thing about sports now. People can express their opinion quickly.”

He is right, of course. Ask Mark Richt.

In any profession, there is a level of discomfort when the boss who hired you leaves. But no matter who takes over as Tech’s new athletic director, he (or she) is going to be dealing with the same situation that Radakovich did. That person is unlikely to make an immediate coaching change, and there are at least two significant reasons:

• 1) Johnson’s four-plus-season resume is largely positive, even if the records are going in the wrong direction: 9-4, 11-3, 6-7, 8-5, 3-5. He won 20 games in his first two years and an ACC championship in his second season. He had no role in the NCAA’s decision to void that conference title based on its investigation. In short, it’s too early for anybody to jump ship, even if so many people commenting on message boards and blogs believe the world would be better off if they were running it.

It doesn’t take long for the “Fire him!” inferno to start in today’s media world — about the time it takes to type seven letters on Twitter. But it would be premature to make that move now. The new A.D. will want at least one year to evaluate the health and direction of the program.

• 2) Firing Johnson would cost way too much, particularly at a school that is barely in the black in athletics. (Radakovich did a good job just getting the Jackets out of the red and in fundraising for new facilities.) Remember, the athletic department is still doubled-over from Paul Hewitt’s $7 million buyout, and it’s not like either the football or basketball teams are selling out.

Johnson’s contract was rewritten twice in his first two seasons. It runs through 2016. His salary averages out to about $2.6 million annually. A firing after this season would cost the school in excess of $10 million.

That’s not happening.

The Jackets will need to go 3-1 in the last four weeks just to become bowl eligible. Projecting: a win over Maryland next week; games at North Carolina and home against Duke that can go either way; a loss at Georgia. That’s anywhere from 4-8 to 6-6, nothing for a Tech fan to cheer about.

But making a change isn’t a subject the new athletic director will, or should, visit for at least another year. If even then.

By Jeff Schultz

• EARLIER TODAY: Here’s how Georgia can get to BCS game (step by step)

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Short Takes: Jarvis Jones rules, Aaron Murray escapes

Georgia has a chance to alter perceptions with one win

Weekend Predictions: Sorry Doggies, Gators look too good

Georgia has one edge on Florida — it’s Aaron Murray

Pessimism reigns by Georgia fans on Twitter

Georgia Tech stops the bleeding but assumes nothing

Larry Drew is prepared to work without a parachute

Weekend Predictions: Bulldogs, Jackets rise from the dead

Falcons are NFL’s last unbeaten team: Here’s fate of others (with video)

163 comments Add your comment


October 29th, 2012
12:38 pm

"Chef" Tim Dix

October 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

New AD should require the use of a tight end.

Scott Case

October 29th, 2012
12:49 pm

Paul Johnson’s MOOBS for new coach!


October 29th, 2012
12:53 pm

DRad’s legacy will be the improvement of the infrastructure and the debt generated to do so. His coaching decisions are average. What we need now is an AD that can fill all those new and/or refinished seats.


October 29th, 2012
12:55 pm

So, what is Dan’s legacy at Georgia Tech? In the two major programs, we cannot fill the stadium/coliseum with fans. We have programs in decline (who knows what will happen with basketball). But we have great new facilities for the smaller sports. That sounds like Division I schools not Georgia Tech. I can’t blame him for going either but I don’t really see what his accomplishments have been at Georgia Tech. CPJ has done a great of creating an apathetic fan base now with his lack of wins and the lack of excitement around the program. Even his offense is boring and although has kept us close at times, it has not allowed us to win a big game in several years. I am hoping that he leaves on his own because of his stubborness and arrogance.


October 29th, 2012
12:58 pm

Gotta love it! Can Tech do anything right? They can’t fill their high school stadium. Can’t beat UGA. Can’t win a bowl game. Can’t play defense. Can’t play offense. Can’t find a good QB. Can’t find a good head coach. Maybe they can again reduce the size of their stadium? Maybe make it hold 20,000 total?


October 29th, 2012
1:03 pm

People forget how bad things were before Radakovich.

He was a good hire.


October 29th, 2012
1:05 pm

Here’s a suggestion for the new AD. Gdt rid of those horrible looking uniforms, patterend after the first that came out with that style, the University of Miami. Tecj does not need to have anything in common with ‘The U’. Go back to the traditional uniforms of Boby Dodd—-the old gold and white. Blue is a color that doesn’t belong on a Tech uniform.


October 29th, 2012
1:06 pm

Time to get out of this dump and not letting the screen door hit me in the rear.

This place is going down hill. I need to get somewhere decent.

You are welcome for Paul Johnson and hey, only three more years of NCAA probation.

See you, suckers.


October 29th, 2012
1:08 pm

I fault Radakovich for 2 things:

1) After the administrative sloppiness that caused violations in 2003, it happened again in 2009. In neither case was there intent to cheat, but the effect was the same. It should never have happened the 2nd time.

2) He went overboard with CPJ’s second contract extension. CPJ had a great first 2 years, but did not warrant such a huge raise so early in his tenure. At least Braine waited until Hewitt had all his players before he got a ridiculous raise.

Other than that, he did a great job. I think his greatest accomplishment was getting Tech’s finances in decent shape while still upgrading our facilities. It is a bit too early to tell, but he seems to have made a good hire with Gregory.

George Stein

October 29th, 2012
1:09 pm

I have to chuckle at the UGA trolls commenting on the departure of Radakovich. We have a trump card on ADs leaving, you know.


October 29th, 2012
1:10 pm

Dan Radakovich signed Paul Johnson’s 100% guaranteed contract. Paul Johnson cannot be fired because he is due over $10+ million. No school should be placed in that position. Especially a school like Tech. (UGA was far smarter limiting Richt’s buyout.)


October 29th, 2012
1:11 pm

DRad has done and an excellent job as an AD is most all respects of financial, facilities, and hires, though you could say the jury is still out on a couple of the coaches, but the one thing that is at his doorstep is the mishandling of the 2009 ACC Football championship. That is the greatest embarrassment in my 60 years of supporting Tech athletics, much more so than recent on field debacles against MTSU, and BYU.
Any probation should be attached to Radakovich and take the ride up I-85 with him.

Ted M

October 29th, 2012
1:13 pm

yep he is not gonna get fired. Like you say… they can’t and that’s unfortunate.

Plus it cost more money to replace his assistants and hire a whole new staff.

Did Johnson have the same UGA atty...

October 29th, 2012
1:14 pm

…that Hewitt had? Surely DRad was not as dumb as Braine…and just why is Hewitt smiling in this picture – was this the same day DRad fired him and he knew what HIS buyout was?


October 29th, 2012
1:15 pm

You’re correct Jeff, it won’t affect Johnson but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t.

Stein you’re correct as well, only thing is Damon’s indiscrection ended up being a major positive for UGA. McGarity knows how to run an athletic dept not just save money. Time will tell if Tech can make a positive hire. Tough situation for Ga Tech for sure.

Northwoods Dawg

October 29th, 2012
1:17 pm

Moobs is only 90 points below his career winning percentage at Teck. Give him another year (or 4 to make up the $10M) to get his players in the system. There are plenty of players looking for a college education who don’t mind accepting the blame when things go wrong and watching their coach take the credit when things go right.


October 29th, 2012
1:19 pm

Good move on Rad’s part….what with the great budget and all the major gift donations to the AD Dept at Clemson…hey, Techies…take note!

GT man

October 29th, 2012
1:20 pm

GT was up with Army, Navy, Vandy, Duke and Notre Dame—-No NCAA infractions !!!! GT was known as a clean-no bending the rules school. Rad got GT on probation, now take PJ with you. Homer Rice never had any NCAA problems; Rice even got us a National Championship coach as Bobby Ross.

Ted M

October 29th, 2012
1:21 pm

I’ll still be pulling for the Jackets but it looks like it is gonna take many years to recover.

I don’t really have a problem with the triple option, other than you can’t recruit QB’s & WR’s, I have a problem, must of all, with practically non-existent recruiting, his abysmal special teams play for 4 years now and his crappy defenses.


October 29th, 2012
1:24 pm

The Falcons are 7-0, the national media doesn’t care. Bradley AND Schutlzy both write articles about GT? Not sure what to say about that.


October 29th, 2012
1:26 pm

Wait till his wife has about 6 months under her belt living in Clemson….after these years in Atlanta….Whoa nelly………

Technically Correct

October 29th, 2012
1:29 pm

Winning solves everything…


October 29th, 2012
1:30 pm

Yep about the Falcons. 40 years of mostly being awful gets them little respect around the country. Back to Tech….If I’m a Tech fan, I would worry about the talent level Johnson has allowed the program to get to. They can’t stop anyone and he has a whole lot less offensive talent than when he got there, and I don’t care how any Techie spins it, he was left something to work with….and it showed on the field….His players, not so much.

Joe Phillips

October 29th, 2012
1:31 pm

I love Paul Johnson and hope he’s our coach even when we get kicked out of the ACC.


October 29th, 2012
1:34 pm

dogs don’t care. they run this state.

big dawg is eatin

October 29th, 2012
1:41 pm

Wow….. Clemson is certainly an upgrade from GT for the AD job but my question is why is Clemson even looking at this dude. he hired CPJ who is about to be fired and he has really done nothing to deserve a better job. Is Clemson that desperate… can’t blame DR for leaving but as they say ” the grass ain’t always greener” know what I mean!!! Expectations will be much higher. As a dawg fan I am not a Tech hater except a couple of times a year but this is an eye opener for a lot of reasons.


October 29th, 2012
1:42 pm

not sure about anyone else, but i’m ok with radakovich moving on.

i hope his emphasis on building facilities pays off in the near future, so thanks to him for that, but he made his share of mistakes and i think we can do better.

i’d like to see GT hire an AD with a strong enough personality to hire a good young defensive coordinator AND an offensive coordinator, both of whom have a reputation as good recruiters.

i like cpj but … 1) the recruiting must improve 2) the defense needs major help, including a move back to a 4-3 base defense 3) the offensive playcalling needs to be opened up, with more short passes and fewer runs up the middle

also, i hope the players WAKE UP and finish the season strong.


October 29th, 2012
1:43 pm

Hope D’rad’s wife likes dollar tree. I think they have a new one on the bypass up there.


October 29th, 2012
1:44 pm

GT has their AD hired by competitors, UGA’s has their AD fired after red panties and a mug shot.


October 29th, 2012
1:48 pm

Ted, Evans getting canned was a GOOD thing for UGA. Radakovich decided on his own to leave and to go to a rival ACC school. Says a lot about your awesome Tech program, ha ha.


October 29th, 2012
1:50 pm


October 29th, 2012
1:51 pm

If CPJ comes back Tech would be lucky to have an average attendance of 20,000 next year…….10,000 of which would be students. The other 10,000 would be faculty, players parents, coach’s families, and people who got free tickets.


Always a Jacket

October 29th, 2012
1:57 pm

Good Riddance
The only thing that made Drad look good was his predecessor. Let’s make Homer Rice the benchmark for next AD.

Mike S.

October 29th, 2012
1:58 pm

The buyout is the only reason Johnson will likely keep his job. Fact is, this is year 5. Things dropped off sharply after Gailey’s talent mostly left for the NFL. Now they are getting even worse, and these are all Johnson recruits. He is running out of excuses. He fires Al Groh, then the defense gets worked by a very average BYU offense. Meanwhile, the offense turned in one of its worst performances. He switches to Vad Lee in the 3rd quarter only to muster a FG for the rest of the game.

I know the records overall dont look any worse than Gailey, but this is a worse ACC conference than 6-7 years ago. Gailey also faced Mark Richt during his best years, not the hot seat years, and gave UGA all they could handle. If Tech were even playing on the same level as the Gailey years, they would be winning more games and would have beaten the 6 win UGA teams Johnson lost to.

Mike S.

October 29th, 2012
2:02 pm

Bottom line, its clear the issues are much deeper than Washington’s play and Al Groh. He’s had 5 years to recruit his guys which is more than enough time. I dont think this is a situation of a fan base being spoiled or rattling the fences at the first sign of trouble.


October 29th, 2012
2:04 pm

don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya. And take Johnson with you. You both give me ulsers

Mask of False Bravado

October 29th, 2012
2:06 pm


October 29th, 2012
1:48 pm
Ted, Evans getting canned was a GOOD thing for UGA. Radakovich decided on his own to leave and to go to a rival ACC school. Says a lot about your awesome Tech program, ha ha

…..or it says a lot about the quality of the standards of GT hiring DRad, as opposed to the UGA standards hiring Evans.


October 29th, 2012
2:08 pm

Love how some of you Tech fans are so Jealous you try to equate your AD leaving with Georgia’s AD getting fired. No relation. Our AD got fired for cause and yours is leaving an obviously Sinking Ship.

Mr Smiley

October 29th, 2012
2:09 pm

@ coachx…better than having 20,000 convicts, 30,000 future unemployed, 30,000 AA members, and 10,000 bail bondsmen fill our stadium on game day.

Technically Correct

October 29th, 2012
2:11 pm

It doesn’t matter what offense you run, as long as you win games. It doesn’t matter what defense you run, as long as you win games. And, of course, winning is a function of having either the best athletes or the best game plan. Since everyone knows CPJ’s game plan now, it is down to the athletes. Do we have the talent to win now? Or, are we still waiting on the talent to arrive?


October 29th, 2012
2:15 pm

I wonder who the other AD candidates were. GT’s football team is ranked #92 in the BCS standings. That is one position worse than Western Michigan and one better that North Texas. The stadium is small and constantly under sold, the program went on probation under his watch, he signed CPJ to a contract that contained an incredibily penalizing buyout clause and the future doesn’t look particularly bright.

Not much of a resume from what I can see. But, I’m just not that close to the program. If I were, I think I would be upset. Seems kinda sad from the outside looking in.

Basic GA Fan

October 29th, 2012
2:21 pm

One works with my wife. The family has their water and electricity turned off at least 3 times per year. Has filed bankruptcy with-in the past 2 years, owes a big settlement to the IRS for not paying taxes. They live in double-wide given to them after the death of a grandparent. However, they buy 3 to 4 UGA football tickets a year, but can’t pay their bills. Yes, your typical UGA fan. Ones I don’t care to have associated with GT athletics or attendee the GT games.


October 29th, 2012
2:25 pm

Smart move for Radakovich. Clemson athletic program is an upgrade. Article is right isn’t a slam dunk career move. Paul Johnson shouldn’t never gotten the job to begin with. That gimmick triple option offense is obsolete. It might work at Georgia Southern but not for a major D-1 program.

Damon Evans

October 29th, 2012
2:25 pm

Read this, and it’s no surprise that DRad was encouraged to look elsewhere. http://wap.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1240453


October 29th, 2012
2:30 pm

Jeff: Easy for you to say that the next guy will probably not fire Johnson “nor should he.” Well, reading Steve above, he just about hit it on the head. Tech cannot fill the seats, can’t play defense, can’t play offense, can’t find a QB, can’t win a bowl game. Isn’t any of that up to Paul Johnson? I cannot think of a single coach in the country that is as abject a failure as PJ. And you say “nor should he.”


October 29th, 2012
2:31 pm

Jeff, were you also a big defender of Paul Hewitt? I only ask because a better description of Johnson’s record would be how similar it reminds me of Hewitt. Johnson’s early success with Gailey’s players, trouble recruiting quality players especially a quarterback(point guard for Hewitt), no defense and a lousy 17-17 record over the past three seasons. The past two seasons it has been obvious that its not only the lack of talent that is plaguing Tech, but also the coaching. In too many games we have been poorly prepared lacking in a decent game plan with terrible execution. The special teams have never looked good which is always a sign of coaching. Unfortunately, the wheels are coming off.

Ed Pilcher

October 29th, 2012
2:39 pm

Looks like that Bowl game streak is in serious jeopardy.


October 29th, 2012
2:47 pm

Georgia Tech is an average NCAA football program. Their record since 1960 is 329 – 269 – 10. Winning percentage of 54%. Average. Why? Recruiting.

The recruiting is average. Here is the recruiting under Gailey and Johnson per both Rivals and Scout: (The number is the National Ranking for that recruiting season)

2002 …..51………63

Average. In ACC football Georgia Tech fits into that group that includes BC, Duke, NC State, Virginia and Wake. Add Pitt and Syracuse to that group when they are fully members.

It is what it is.


October 29th, 2012
2:47 pm

To the guy referring to the ” typical Georgia fan” doesn’t have a clue. I sit around School teachers,coach’s and administrators, Lawyers, Bankers, business owners,Veterinarians, pastors etc, who are all good people and Georgia grads and fine citizens. Don’t paint with a broad brush. It really make YOU look small.