It must be noted that Georgia Tech isn’t the only school in the metro area in need of a basketball coach. It’s only one of three. Georgia State fired Rod Barnes. Kennesaw State fired Tony Ingle. Which makes Atlanta the hoops vacancy capital of the world.
Toward that end, I offer two more bits of advice. (I’ve already done my bit to help Dan Radakovich at Tech.) Here’s who GSU and KSU should target:
Georgia State shouldn’t look beyond the state border. Dip Metress — his given name is Darren, and his last name is pronounced “ME-tress” — is 170-51 over seven seasons at Augusta State and has taken the Jaguars to the NCAA Division II tournament five seasons running. Three of those seasons yielded a run to the Elite Eight, and last night Augusta State fell just short, losing to Anderson 75-73 in overtime in the Southeast Regional final.
We know Metress can coach because he developed the big man Garret Siler into a player worthy of NBA consideration. (Undrafted in 2009, Siler is now on the Phoenix Suns’ roster.) We know that Metress can fill holes because he lost five starters off last season’s 29-4 team and went 30-4 this time. And nobody wins 77 percent of his games in Division II without knowing his business.
Georgia State tried the bigger-name route with Barnes, who’d worked at Ole Miss, and it failed. This time the Panthers should go smaller: Hiring Dip mightn’t make a initial splash — sorry, couldn’t resist — but he’d win here.
Kennesaw State is still making the rough slog upward in classification and even a guy as skilled as Ingle, who won the NCAA Division II title with the Owls in 2004, couldn’t make the Owls a D-I winner. KSU’s coaching search is complicated by another matter: It doesn’t have an athletic director.
Interim AD Scott Whitlock, citing academic issues above all, made the decision to fire Ingle. Ideally KSU would like to have a full-time athletic director in place to hire the new coach, but that could take a while.
No matter. The man to hire is a local guy. He’s Greg Matta, who served two stints under Ingle at KSU — Matta was part of the 2004 championship staff — and is back working at North Cobb Christian High. The Eagles went 28-3, losing to Whitefield Academy in the quarterfinals of the GHSA Class A state tournament. Previously Matta had led NCCHS to consecutive GISA state championships — Dustin Ware, who plays for Georgia, was a starter on those teams — and even a national title in 2008.
Oh, and if Matta’s name sounds familiar, there’s a reason: His younger brother Thad coaches Ohio State, the nation’s No. 1 team.
A disclaimer: I’m not sure Metress or Matta would be interested in GSU/KSU. Neither job, as has just been proven, is a walk in the park. But they’d be the two men I’d call.
Update: Lo and behold, Georgia State apparently has. Colleague Doug Roberson reports that the Panthers have contacted Dip Metress.
By Mark Bradley