Kennesaw shocks Tech, leaving a basketball lifer in ecstasy

Tony Ingle hugs Spencer Dixon. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Tony Ingle hugs Spencer Dixon. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

In the spring of 2004 Kennesaw State won an NCAA basketball championship — in Division II. About that same time, Georgia Tech was playing for the Division I national title, the “One Shining Moment” version. We mention this to put a score from Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, in full perspective:

Kennesaw State 80, Georgia Tech 63.

Since taking their Division II banner, Tony Ingle and his Owls have made the long uphill slog to Division I. In 2008-2009 they went 7-22. Last season they were 13-20. On Monday night they outclassed a team from the high-falutin’ ACC, a team that only 10 months ago beat Duke, which would go on to claim the national championship (in Division I). And Tony Ingle and his Owls not only won but never trailed.

“If you’re going to upset a team,” Ingle said afterward, “you can’t tiptoe into it. You’ve got to take it to ‘em.”

Then: “We shocked them. We call that our ‘Wendy’s offense’ — get it to go, cheese on the fries, let it fly.”

Tony Ingle isn’t a glamor guy. He doesn’t get to talk with Dick Vitale and Mike Patrick on ESPN on a weekly basis. He doesn’t have a contract that will cost his school $7 million to make him go away. The man’s a basketball lifer, one of those pure coaches you’d love to see get a chance just once to coach a roster as talented as, say, Georgia Tech’s.

“It was the biggest game ever on this campus,” Ingle said. And then: “I told the guys they just weren’t playing for themselves — they were playing for anyone who had ever worn this jersey.”

At the end, the KSU Convocation Center was up for grabs. A packed house — a record KSU crowd of 4,784 — was standing and watching its team dribble out the clock against Tech, which in March had played for the ACC title in Greensboro. It was one of those moments that have “history” written across it, a moment that a man like Tony Ingle can never be sure will actually arrive.

“I’m tired of the bus rides,” Ingle said. “With reclassification, we went from the penthouse to the outhouse.”

His team now plays in the Atlantic Sun, which is a nice little league but suffers the fate of every nice little league come Selection Sunday. “We’re a one-bid league,” Ingle said. “We can’t finish fifth or sixth and go the NCAA.”

And now the Owls had not only gotten a neighboring opponent from the Tiffany League to come to their modest gym but had run it out of the place. The night had gone just as Tony Ingle had dared to visualize. Before the game, he said he asked his players: “You got your tennis shoes? Is there a rim out there? You got your jerseys?”

Sitting beside Ingle at the postgame briefing, guard Spencer Dixon and forward LaDaris Green kept answering, “Yes.” And here Ingle came to his final question: “Do you have a dream?”

“Yes,” the players said again.

Ingle: “Then bring it.”

Kennesaw State brought it. Kennesaw State took its moment and squeezed so hard its coach was, at the end, rendered almost speechless. But that’s OK. All the speeches he’d given earlier in the day had resonated like Douglas MacArthur’s words at West Point. The basketball lifer had won the game of his life.

Oh, and if you’re interested in my thoughts on Georgia Tech and its coach … well, they’re here.

245 comments Add your comment

Thwg

November 15th, 2010
11:44 pm

First time first. I encourage everyone to write DRAD at drad@gatech.edu as I just did demanding Hewitt’s firing. Not for the loss as KSU played terrific and deserved to win. But for the utter chaos and lack of fundamental skills and understanding of the game. I think KSU has the better coach and program at the moment. I wish them great success this year.

Sea Island

November 15th, 2010
11:45 pm

((80-63)) hahahahahahahaha

Thwg

November 15th, 2010
11:47 pm

BTW, good article congratulating KSU Mark versus writing about GT. Plenty of time to tear Hewitt and GT apart, and hopefully you will. But great win for KSU.

Sopwith Camel

November 15th, 2010
11:48 pm

GO OWLS! You took it to ‘em tonight. You really played some b-ball……..Tech never knew what hit ‘em!!! CONGRATS!! Keep it up all season!!

Sopwith Camel

November 15th, 2010
11:49 pm

Keep it up, KSU!!

JD

November 15th, 2010
11:49 pm

Way to go Kennesaw!!!!!

db

November 15th, 2010
11:50 pm

Not sure I want to be first, but I guess I’ll claim it.

I was there myself and saw the continued demise of Hewitt. Same old crap: poor shooting, turnovers, but worst of all, no heart. KSU wanted that game more and Tech thought they could just show up and win.

I also saw D-Rad across the way and he looked none to pleased with this pathetic performance. Maybe he will finally see that it would be worth it to part ways with our hopefully soon to be dismissed coach.

db

November 15th, 2010
11:51 pm

Okay, way off first.

Thwg

November 15th, 2010
11:52 pm

Hey Sea Island this just in: Farley just sacked Murray again and this time they had to change his diaper. When did you guys start a flag football program in Athens? 5-7! Gotta love the sound of that – better get used to it!

Gordon

November 15th, 2010
11:52 pm

Radakovich was at the game, sitting right behind the bench. He knows the truth. It’s all about when the money and the suitable replacement are both ready. Until then, its going to get really ugly down at the corner of Tenth and Fowler.

Mark Bradley

November 15th, 2010
11:54 pm

I also noticed Radakovich behind the Tech bench. And I will get around to the Tech coach. But first I wanted to give Kennesaw State its due.

Born2Buzz

November 15th, 2010
11:57 pm

Only one thing you got wrong with the article MB, I’m not sure Tech had the better roster. And I agree Thwg, excellent job of spinning this as a congrats for KSU instead of ripping Hewitt and GT. That will come.

Techie in Bama

November 15th, 2010
11:57 pm

Before tonight, I never realized what great coaches Whack Hyder and Duane Morrison were, at least compared to Hewitt. Hewitt needs to go NOW, not at the end of the season. KSU looked great. Tech looked like they could not beat a good high school team. I have finally had enough. No more excuses. No more contributions to anything at the athletic department until Hewitt is gone.

Thwg

November 15th, 2010
11:58 pm

Glad to hear Drad was there Mark. Everyone write: drad@gatech.edu. Mark, would you advocate a change now? Seems to make a lot of sense, particularly to be fair to the players? I mean why waste an entire year for them. It’s not like we’re mid season.

SquillDog

November 15th, 2010
11:58 pm

So Tech is the third best basketball team in the state, the bronze is good, right?

type

November 15th, 2010
11:59 pm

hewitt is horrible. braine even worse

Mark Bradley

November 15th, 2010
11:59 pm

I asked Tony Ingle if Georgia Tech had recruited any of the players who became Owls. He said no.

Gordon

November 15th, 2010
11:59 pm

KSU does deserve their due. What a great atmosphere. Good for them. The worst part is I’m not even disappointed anymore.

If Paul Hewitt smoked he would be Dwayne Morrison.

the real Old Gold

November 16th, 2010
12:00 am

I’m a Georgia Tech Football season ticket holder and and Kennesaw State University senior. I was at the game wearing an old Tech cap and a KSU t-shirt in the student section.

After the game I shook DRad’s hand and he looked at my cap, then my shirt and didn’t say a word. He looked distraught the entire night. I think it may be a win win.. My Owls won, and my Jackets begin to lose a not so great coach that can recruit good enough to keep his job… until now.

Great win for the Owls.. they dominated.. I was proud to be a from KSU.

Thwg

November 16th, 2010
12:01 am

Not so fast Squilldog, We still have Savannah state on the schedule and we needed OT to take down ClarkAtlanta. Maybe we’re out of the medals.

StingerSplash

November 16th, 2010
12:07 am

How soon is now … for the post-Hewitt era to begin? (

GTMustang

November 16th, 2010
12:08 am

GT fan here, first off, congratulations to KSU on their big win. Your guys played well.

Secondly, screw Paul Hewitt. No offense to KSU, but how embarrassing, GT should not lose to such a lowly out matched opponent.

Dawg Nation

November 16th, 2010
12:10 am

Not to bash you’s guys… But answer this…

“What up wit dat”?!?!?!?

Bravesfan79

November 16th, 2010
12:11 am

As a long time GT hoops fan i was EMBARRASSED by this team tonight. Your supposed to be the class of Atlanta/ Ga! Hewitt is a good recruiter but a crappy coach, he could make up for this by hiring a top level ex head coach to be his primary assistant. But year after year he has failed to swallow his pride and do this. Think how good last season could of been if we would of hired someone like Lefty Drisel (Ga States old coach), or payed big $ to a Bob Knight type to be a special assistant for awhile. I still think we had a Final 4 team last year, that never hit its potential.
I used to support Hewitt, but ive seen enough.

Gravy Train

November 16th, 2010
12:11 am

Finally, a big D-1 win for the Owls. They’ve gotten better every year since I was last there in 06. And Tech thought they could lean back on basketball…
This is why basketball is the greatest of winter sports.
MB, how in the world did you find a parking spot? I used to have to get to campus hours before my classes to circle around looking for one.

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Navigator

November 16th, 2010
12:19 am

Since live 8 miles from the campus, I’m glad they played so well, and kinda put their program in the spot light. However, the Jackets program is on it’s last leg with Hewitt, watching the one year wonders come and go. That’s always a bad sign (see Bobby Creamons last years at GT), as a program needs a player 2-4 years just to have some continuity. Tech will get better through the year, they always do, but no one can ever expect them to compete for anything again, unless a new leader of the program is chosen. Folks, that won’t happen because of the actions of David Braine that tried to mark Tech before he unceremoniously left his job. Anyone administrator at Tech that ever welcomes Braine back even for a visit should be fired on the spot.

Sea Island

November 16th, 2010
12:20 am

((80-63)) hahahahahahaha

Bean Counter

November 16th, 2010
12:20 am

80 – 63 ??? The game was not even that close. Tech got outplayed by a better team. Two things must happen – 1. Paul Hewitt should be fired (should have happened two years ago.) and 2. KSU should replace Tech in ACC. This will give Tech an opportunity to play in a lower league so they can have a chance of winning and the competition in the ACC will improve.

Thwg

November 16th, 2010
12:21 am

Mark: any chance DRAD scheduled this game thinking that if they lost it would put enough $ in motion to fund Hewitts firing?

Gravy Train

November 16th, 2010
12:23 am

Just to put it in perspective: KSU’s basketball budget for the coaches and all isn’t even close to one seventh of Blewitt’s salary. I thought you guys were supposed to be smarter than that. For a bigtime basketball program, firing Paul should be chump change. I bet the toilet paper budget at UGA is more than that.

Dan

November 16th, 2010
12:25 am

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Anytime the Nats lose is good for America.

Michael

November 16th, 2010
12:25 am

Gordon, I find myself agreeing with you, I no longer find myself disappointed or surprised by blowouts to good teams or losses to teams that should be defeated. KSU is talented, but no one would confuse them with a top 40 team. I think they were the better coached team (what a shocker, I know).

I have been saying it for years, when I watch Tech men basketball under Hewitt, I see five young men standing around and looking as if they hadn’t practiced even one hour together. Hewitt hasn’t had a respectable offense since the first two years when he had a few shooters and athletes that could make layups. No one on this team can shoot, Hewitt doesn’t believe in recruiting shooters, just street ballers. I would rather see a bunch of undersized and slow players that practice shooting all day long (as opposed to dunking) and coached to play as a team, something Hewitt doesn’t have the ability to do.

Rarely do they set picks, never do they keep motion on offense and rarely do they get an open, quality shot. Against KSU, and as normal, they end up getting a shot with one player simply going one on one and firing off a low percentage shot. There is no direction on offense and sadly, the defense was inept as well. Hewitt sometimes does okay with defense, but its quite inconsistent. The worst thing tonight, no one could make a layup. How many offensive rebounds lead to bricks off the glass that didn’t touch the rim? Most from point-blank range.

Hewitt has a sweetheart of a contract and Tech really can’t fire him without it costing something like $7 million. That is not easy money for Tech. The only thing possible is someone convincing Hewitt to resign, or work out a compromise. Hewitt hasn’t even earned the pay he is and already has received over the years. The product is defective and unwatchable…hopefully Hewitt will resign with honor as opposed to doubling-down with swindling GT athletics as well as the poor product he has lead the past 5 years or so.

Thwg

November 16th, 2010
12:26 am

((5-6)). Ha ha ha, wow Farley just sacked Murray again and he fumbled. Next play Cam ran through that Grantham D for a 72 yard touchdown. AU 63, UGA still 31. Updates as they become available. Just checked out Scout.com, looks like UGAs recruiting class continues to slip behind AL, FL, SC, TN, LSU. Looks like Vandy has a shot!

JASon

November 16th, 2010
12:26 am

I love to see ignorance exposed. I’m not talking about coach hewitt. I’m talking about the masterminds in the Georgia Tech Athletics Department who gave a coach a six-year contract which rolls over every year.

misterwax

November 16th, 2010
12:26 am

and Paul Hewitt doesn’t even have any RED PANTIES to blame it on….. this is gonna get horrible really quickly.

floridajacket

November 16th, 2010
12:31 am

The coach of the University of Montana is a man named Wayne Tinkel. The man can coach. He’s one of the few coaches in America who can actually coach a center. Might have something to do with the fact he’s about 7 feet tall himself. I think it might be time to give the man a call.

ramblinman

November 16th, 2010
12:34 am

when’s baseball season?

Dan

November 16th, 2010
12:35 am

Georgia Tech is 1-8 against Georgia under Mark Richt.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

ramblinman

November 16th, 2010
12:37 am

to be honest, i saw this game as a tossup going into it. that’s embarrassing that i saw it that way. even more embarrassing that my fears were validated. believe me, DRAD wanted Blewitt out of there last year and the year before. The athletic department sadly doesn’t have the money to fire Blewitt and live comfortably though.

GTech10

November 16th, 2010
12:45 am

It will be interesting to see what excuses Coach Hewitt comes up with for tonight’s loss. My guess it will be something to the effect –
“we’re a young team”. Same story, new year. Then, he’ll try to downplay the loss with a “its us against the world” battle cry. No offense to KSU who played their hearts out, but Tech basketball has officially hit rock bottom. Then again, maybe not. It’s going to be a very, very long season.

Michael

November 16th, 2010
12:46 am

WOOO! GO OWLS!!

Ben pines

November 16th, 2010
12:50 am

First time in my life I would ever condone firing a coach at the start of the season. Hewitt needs to go. they are the worst disciplined team I have ever seen. Bring in Mark Price or something.

Michael

November 16th, 2010
12:51 am

To the other Michael, I believe that is WHO-WHO! Go Owls!

Out of respect (and apathy of Tech product) I am, tonight, an Owls fan. Go KSU! WHO-WHO!

Dawgday

November 16th, 2010
12:53 am

seriously st, simons. be a man, where are ya?!! we all know you’re the worst tech fan (even techies hate you!) c’mon, be a man and take yo meds! Just curious, are you gonna post after every KSU loss from now on? (((((St. Simons is a coward!!!!))))

Hayseed Dixie

November 16th, 2010
12:53 am

Great to keep it about KSU, Mark. You have to love it when a team with more heart beats a more talented team, regardless.

Maybe we can have the Hank McCamish Memorial Firing of Paul Hewitt Statue or something….

Someone get the tar and feathers ready.

Michael

November 16th, 2010
12:55 am

Mark Price would be great, if he is at all interested. Hopefully having a fundamental sound player as a coach would have him recruit fundamentally sound players (the basics, shoot, pass, dribble, defend). I have NO idea if Price can do the X and O’s to succeed, its not an easy thing, but I am willing to give a legend a monstrous benefit of the doubt. If any other Tech legend wants it, interview them. Salley, Dalrymple, Hammond, Ferrell, Best, Forrest, etc.

Whopper Dawg

November 16th, 2010
12:57 am

From a Dawg fan perspective, it was glorious for two reasons,

Tech got their rear end handed to them.

The basketball lifer and his team won as you stated, Mark.

Immensely enjoyable.

Tech Man

November 16th, 2010
12:58 am

Congrats to KSU! Folks, this is not a surprise. We are not good and have not been good for some time in basketball. Our program lacks organization, focus, and intensity. We do not represent the values of Georgia Tech,,,toughness, intelligence, and sacrifice. It is time for leadership. It is time for Hewitt to,as they say, “pursue excellence elsewhere.”

GTBob

November 16th, 2010
1:05 am

I congratulate KSU. They played a great game. Especially Dixon. He was amazing tonight. However, this is a pretty monumental breakdown for GT and something should be done. We struggled in an exhibition game against Clark Atlanta, barely beat Charleston Southern, and got blown out by KSU. We are pretty much as low as we can go. We are going to get slaughtered in ACC play.