Georgia State should take Dip; KSU needs (the other) Matta

Dip Metress: He's a basketball master who works in Augusta. (AP photo)

Dip Metress: He's a basketball master who has done great work in Augusta. (AP photo)

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

67 comments Add your comment

Paul H

March 16th, 2011
10:09 am

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 16th, 2011
10:10 am

Paul H

March 16th, 2011
10:11 am

Good call on Matta. With the talented teams some of our local high schools have put on the floor, I’m surprised more calls haven’t gone out to some of these coaches.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 16th, 2011
10:12 am

why not give a high school coach with a great resume a shot at state ?

Felix Millan

March 16th, 2011
10:15 am

And Matta knows how to recruit. For that matter, why not Boyd?

Martin the Calvinist

March 16th, 2011
10:16 am

Hey Mark, your official fact checker here, ASU has been to the NCAA tournament 5 straight years, We are the Jaguars, not the panthers!

BTW, I really hope Dip Metress stays at Augusta State, but I know if the money is right, he’ll end up leaving. He turned down Georgia Southern a couple of years ago.

You are right, Dip can coach! Go Jags!

Time to boycott ESPN?

March 16th, 2011
10:17 am

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 16th, 2011
10:29 am

Felix, why not Boyd? three words UGLY SPANISH TEACHERS. Neither have a shot to hire him.

Lazy Dawg

March 16th, 2011
10:29 am

He sure has turned things around at ASU and it probably would make for a huge pay raise. I for one would miss him in the garden city.
Great article Mark, it’s about time Dip get’s his due.

William Satterwhite

March 16th, 2011
10:30 am

I think Georgia State should take a serious look at keeping Hewitt in town, his recruiting ability can really make a difference in an upper tier mid-major league like the Colonial. Schools in somewhat similar situations like Cleveland State and especially San Diego St have had a good deal of success jumping on (then) recently deposed head coaches from power 6 leagues when they become available- I understand that was the idea with Barnes but I just think Hewitt would be different in that he already has strong local ties and is known to excel at recruiting.

William Satterwhite

March 16th, 2011
10:30 am

I think Georgia State should take a serious look at keeping Hewitt in town, his recruiting ability can really make a difference in an upper tier mid-major league like the Colonial. Schools in somewhat similar situations like Cleveland State and especially San Diego St have had a good deal of success jumping on (then) recently deposed head coaches from power 6 leagues when they become available- I understand that was the idea with Barnes but I just think Hewitt would be different in that he already has strong local ties and is known to excel at recruiting.

Felix Millan

March 16th, 2011
10:32 am

Walker– I was really just getting in a dig about HS recruiting.

the real Old Gold

March 16th, 2011
10:34 am

Ingle won the DII title 7 years ago. He could also coach at that level. Let’s just make sure we find the right guy, even if KSU is a stepping stone.

JSS

March 16th, 2011
10:35 am

@ Mark Bradley…
As you because of my championing of Siler when he was a D-II All-American; I respect Mitress immensely. GA State is not even a lateral move. I really wish the man would stay at ASU and build a D-II power. This State needs that more than it needs a mid-major power at Kennesaw or at the Sports Arena. That not because those two programs don’t deserve to be winners; it is because you need someone to pickup those kids no one else wants or is willing to develop. Siler was a kid like that. He would never gotten a chance at KSU or GA State…

I wish you guys in Atlanta would spend as much time covering the program in Augusta as you do trying to strip the heart out of it… They played for a National Title and there has not been two lines about their visits to the Elite Eight in Springfield in the AJC… But I have to read daily about speculation about losing football programs…

JSS

March 16th, 2011
10:43 am

William Satterwhite
March 16th, 2011
10:30 am
“I think Georgia State should take a serious look at keeping Hewitt in town, his recruiting ability can really make a difference in an upper tier mid-major league like the Colonial.”

Only if he was force to hire two bench coaches who knew what they were doing and he actually listened to them… Look, GA State needs to stop chasing other programs cast offs like Barnes and Hewitt. There are some good solid assistants ready to build a program. Get one and give real support to the program.

tony

March 16th, 2011
10:49 am

Since you are in the business of placing coaches where they should go, how about bringing up some comments from when Hewitt was hired at Tech. I bet you said it was a great hire and that Tech got their man. Years later you say what a rotten coach he is. Just report on the stuff and stop with the speculation.

That Guy

March 16th, 2011
10:51 am

One of these schools should get Labarrie off of Hewitt’s staff. He’s a local guy, been an assistant at a big time school, heck of a recruiter (got Royal to Tech) has ties to the local AAU teams, could keep some local talent, well, local. Just a thought.

Boydism

March 16th, 2011
10:53 am

Boyd could win at KS…He can recruit…has won for years – but probably makes more money at Milton than KS could pay

why not

March 16th, 2011
10:58 am

Matta is a GREAT call for KSU. His son just graduated and is headed to college so there is no family tie to keep him at NCCS. He knows the program and as evidenced by his success at NCC, he is a great recruiter.

TRS421

March 16th, 2011
10:58 am

Hey mark…Augusta State’s mascot is the Jaguars, not Panthers.

Sonny Clusters

March 16th, 2011
10:58 am

Marion Campbell.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 16th, 2011
10:59 am

Felix, Yeah I got it and I was getting a dig at Boyd’s dismissal from Berkmar. Its all good

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 16th, 2011
11:00 am

Boyd couldn’t recruit at KS, there are too many recruiting restrictions

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 16th, 2011
11:04 am

Seriously though, Lipscomb at Wheeler. He is young enough, local enough, a good coach and possibly a good recruiter. He would be perfect for KS. I would go with Eddie Martin as well but he is pretty settled at this point.

William Satterwhite

March 16th, 2011
11:11 am

“Only if he was force to hire two bench coaches who knew what they were doing and he actually listened to them… Look, GA State needs to stop chasing other programs cast offs like Barnes and Hewitt. There are some good solid assistants ready to build a program. Get one and give real support to the program.”

As a Tech fan I obviously know Hewitt’s deficiencies on the bench but even there I think this is lessened by the dropoff from competing in the ACC to competing in the CAA- with all due respect to George Mason’s coach, good coaches in the CAA don’t really stick around too long. I totally understand the point about castoffs from bigger schools (I never really liked the Barnes hire myself) but I think the Hewitt situation is so unique it’s worth exploring- I dare say there’s a better chance of Hewitt sticking around to build a program at Ga St than a hotshot, upwardly mobile assistant who has his eyes on a bigger job and will jump at the first one to come calling. Hewitt has already been there and done that.

Mark Bradley

March 16th, 2011
11:13 am

Kudos to Paul H. for being first. (I’m assuming his last name isn’t Hewitt.)

Felix Millan

March 16th, 2011
11:14 am

I’m with you, Walker.

Mark Bradley

March 16th, 2011
11:14 am

And I apologize for whiffing on ASU’s nickname. I got my ASU and my GSU confused. Thanks to all who’ve let me know.

Hammer22

March 16th, 2011
11:22 am

Dip would be a good hire for GSU because he’s a winner, no doubt. But, my main concern is that he hasn’t coached at the D-1 level. Also, Cliff Warren is a good hire for GSU. Local roots and a winner too.

wdm

March 16th, 2011
11:23 am

Why would any coach in his right mind want to come to Ga after reading the AJC sports section? You idiots treat the out of towners with such respect and courtesy and throw the local teams under the bus. I am refering to the AJC’s handling of the 4 Auburn players who were arrested last week. You allowed no comments and removed the story within 2 days. I would bet my left testicle that if that story was about 4 UGA players, you would have had their faces plastered on the headline for weeks and allowed open comments just to see how nasty people could really get. And I am sure you sure the management at AJC wonders why their newspaper continues to decline.

jdawg

March 16th, 2011
11:23 am

This is interesting, several times I have said to you hey Augusta State are in the Elite 8, and the AJC somewhat says who cares. Folks Dip is for real….if the AD would pay him more money he might stay but they do not have the cash probably. He would be great, but does he want D-1 and be in downton Atlanta. He is a proven winner.

Junior

March 16th, 2011
11:30 am

GSU should have called Mark Price 20 times already.

JSS

March 16th, 2011
11:30 am

@ Mark Bradley…
Why haven’t you mentioned Ron Lievense from Barton?

Paul H

March 16th, 2011
11:58 am

Please allow me to submit my resume for the open KSU job.

Dontavius Supremo

March 16th, 2011
12:11 pm

Probably easier to recruit at Augusta State than at Georgia State. For all of its size, Georgia State just doesn’t “look” like a school. Looks like an afterthought. “Oh, is there a school here?” Sorry, GSU.

jemjr

March 16th, 2011
12:17 pm

I think we should look at some local high school coaches for the GSU and KSU jobs. We have two great coaches in Dekalb County. Tucker high school James Hartry would be a good choice. He has led Tucker to the state playoffs every year of coaching at Tucker and won the championship in 07. Coach S. White at Miller Grove high school. BACK TO BACK TO BACK state championships. They could keep some of these guys in the state…..Just a couple of great coaches

DC

March 16th, 2011
12:19 pm

Kinda neat, I played for Dip at Augusta and Eddie Martin at Brookwood. (< mentioned in the comments by Walker TR) Dip would be a great fit. Coach Martin I think would not move.

However, Fast Eddie is the best coach I ever saw, by far.

KSAlum

March 16th, 2011
12:25 pm

Another problem at KSU is the fact that we’re already short like three or four scholarships, and possibly at least one more once these academic problems are hashed out with the NCAA. Whomever we bring in was already going to face a tough recruiting job (with us being a brand new D-I school in a very minor conference), and now they have to do it with less ability to go out of state for talent or keep some decent locals. Sure there’s still decent local talent – scraps we can pull after the fantastic kids have signed with Tech, Georgia, or out of state – but what with the changes to HOPE, more and more of these kids will be looking for scholarship offers to schools that have them to offer, since KSU won’t have them.

I still respect Ingle; I mean he got us a Championship (still the only basketball Nat. Championship of any school in Georgia). But dropping the ball on academics has left us in a terrible position to build for the future. It will be a few years before we will be competitive. Which sucks for us fans.

Ballcoach2231

March 16th, 2011
12:32 pm

If you are going to throw out Matta’s name why not the coach of the team that beat his in the elite 8 (Whitefield Academy)? Tyrone Johnson has won over 80% of his games and has gone to 7 or 8 state final fours with 2 state championships. Sure there was no national title and all that but gisa is a whole different world than ghsa and matta hasn’t really proved he can win on the big stage of class a in Georgia high school so what says he can’t win on the big stage in college?

hoopman

March 16th, 2011
12:33 pm

Ken Potosnak with East Carolina Univeristy…20 years of D1 coaching experience.

Boobie Bowden

March 16th, 2011
12:37 pm

wdm, send both your testicles to Dawg Football at Athens, GA – they need all the help they can get. least of the east.

NCAA Bound Dawg

March 16th, 2011
12:39 pm

I think Hewitt at Ga State would be tremendous. As for comparing him to Rod Barnes, please, Barnes never recruited the elite players nor had the success at Ole Miss Hewitt had at GT. At GSU Hewitt could “outtalent” the opposition.

As for KSU, that’s a tough one. No AD, reduction in scholarships, not exactly the kind of opportunity a coach is looking for, they may struggle, unless Dennis Felton would agree to take the job.

JSS

March 16th, 2011
12:58 pm

It is not a matter of a comparison of Barnes to Hewitt. It is about taking other people’s “sloppy seconds!” You do know the difference right?

why not

March 16th, 2011
1:01 pm

For those of you touting other HS coaches over Matta, let’s examine WHY he is a better candidate. He has already worked at KSU as an assistant, was there for the D2 title, and has plenty of networking ability due to his contacts and his brother at Ohio State. Please don’t compare a successful high school coach who has ONLY been a high school coach. It’s apples and oranges

Oscar the Grouch

March 16th, 2011
1:21 pm

Dip to KSU is a real possibility. I doubt he’d go to Ga. State unless the money/contract were a lot better than KSU. @ Ga. State, he’d know that he’d have 4 years to meet unrealistic expectations. @ KSU, he’d be given the long term opportunity to build a winner. Saying that, there is a lack of scholarships problem in the short term.

Matta is a nice guy, so maybe they give him a shot. Of the 2, GSU has the hardest sell to a coach. KSU has a real shot of getting into the tourney for a coach. However, most D-I assistants, at top schools, get paid as much or more than the head coach @ KSU. Eddie Martin, @ his age, wants no part of it. He’s getting paid well and has his perfect job @ GAC. Saying that he’s a helluva coach.

@ Bradley: 3 good assistants in Athens: Johnson, Palmore, and Pearson. Palmore might be the best for the opportunity if he would consider it.

JSS

March 16th, 2011
1:22 pm

So what are you guys trying to be at Kennesaw, the college of NW GA and suburbs as my recruiting base U? You’re noy going to win the A-10 consistently that way…

TruthSeeker

March 16th, 2011
1:26 pm

Dang, as an Augusta State student, I feared the day would come when the secret about Dip would get out. I guess that day has come.

JSS

March 16th, 2011
1:30 pm

“You’re (not) going to win the (A-Sun) consistently that way…”

JSS

March 16th, 2011
1:33 pm

@ Truth-seeker…
You guys can keep Coach Metress. It is time to step up and make the guy a home…

cantondawg

March 16th, 2011
1:34 pm

Still hard to fathom Tony Ingle getting fired for having a losing season. I played for him at Cherokee High School his last year there and he was an awesome coach. Very funny and charismatic. I hope he ends up somewhere else and succeeds