Georgia Tech’s coaching search: Won’t be much longer, folks

Gregg Marshall in his Winthrop days. I'd guess he's high on Tech's list. (AP photo)

Gregg Marshall in his Winthrop days. I'm guessing he's high on Radakovich's list. (AP photo)

Perhaps you have questions about Georgia Tech’s coaching vacancy. You’re not alone. I do, too. The man who could answer them all — athletic director Dan Radakovich — isn’t talking, but in his stead I’ll offer what I know and what I’ve been given reason to believe. And, as a bonus, even a wild guess.

What’s taking so long?

Paul Hewitt was fired nearly two weeks ago. If Tech hasn’t interviewed anyone — and as of Wednesday morning, it hadn’t — it hasn’t been to heighten the drama. Most of the coaches in whom Tech has interest have teams still playing, which would only make sense. Wouldn’t want to hire someone whose team didn’t reach the postseason, would you?

When will interviews begin?

As soon as those coaches’ teams lose.

Does Tech have a short list? Is there a leading candidate?

Yes to the first. And if there’s a leading candidate, he hasn’t been identified by any outsider in position to know. Though it seems fair to guess that Chris Mooney of Richmond and Gregg Marshall of Wichita State — both of whose teams were still alive as of Wednesday –  are obvious top-of-the-list possibilities, with Tommy Amaker of Harvard, Shaka Smart of VCU and Chris Mack of Xavier mixed in.

Why didn’t you include Brad Stevens of Butler?

He could have his pick of almost any job almost any year. There’s no guarantee he’ll ever leave Butler, and if he does there’s no reason to think Tech will be the destination.

What about Mark Price? What about Craig Neal? What about Kenny Anderson?

Tech has to know those distinguished alums have expressed interest in the job, and there would seem no percentage in not making some sort of contact with each. That said, it’s difficult to conceive of a scenario in which Radakovich’s first look wouldn’t be at candidates who are head coaches.

Is money a factor for Tech?

It is. Hewitt made $1.3 million; in hiring his successor, the Institute can’t go much above that. (Anthony Grant, by way of contrast, is making $1.8 million at Alabama. The big football schools can also afford to spend on basketball.) A key reason to focus on mid-major coaches is that they’re more apt to fall in Tech’s price range.

Will the searches of North Carolina State/Oklahoma/Missouri/Tennessee squeeze Tech?

All four will aim higher than a mid-major coach. (As did Arkansas, which just lured Mike Anderson from Missouri.) Rumored targets at N.C. State include Pitt’s Jamie Dixon and Arizona’s Sean Miller;  Buzz Williams of Marquette is thought to be on Oklahoma’s list. Tennessee is looking to make a splash in finding Bruce Pearl’s replacement — AD Mike Hamilton has his own job to save — but might not be as attractive as Tech. The Vols, as you’ve heard, have NCAA issues.

Some have questioned whether Tech  is a good job. Is there reason to believe no worthwhile candidate will say yes?

It’s in the ACC. It’s in the capital of a state that produces a ton of basketball talent. It can pay more than a million dollars a year, and in 2012 it will open a refurbished arena. More than a few accomplished mid-major coaches would take a charge from Shaquille O’Neal for the chance to work here.

Does Radakovich know what he’s doing?

Let’s recall his admission that he’d reached the decision to fire Hewitt three weeks before doing it. Does anyone think those three weeks were spent not mulling replacements? Let’s note that Radakovich made the considered decision not to employ Parker Executive Search, the Atlanta-based firm that does almost everyone’s coach-hunting now (including N.C. State’s and Georgia State’s), but to seek the counsel of Eddie Fogler, a former coach and a basketball lifer. Let’s also note that D-Rad’s first big hire — Parker Search assisted in that process, FYI — was Paul Johnson, and two years later the Jackets were playing in the Orange Bowl.

Radakovich has said he wants a coach in place by the Final Four, which convenes April 1 in Houston. Why?

Three reasons. First,  it has become difficult for a high-profile AD to interview coaches in a city overrun by coaches — their annual convention is held concurrent with the Final Four — and media. Second, the convention would give the new Tech coach a chance to hire his staff, should the need occur. Third, Tech would like to take advantage of that media glut to get a little buzz going regarding its new man.

When should we expect D-Rad to have his man?

By this time next week, give or take a day.

Last question: Who will it be?

Just guessing, I’d say Mooney or Marshall. Just guessing, you hear?

By Mark Bradley

382 comments Add your comment

Me

March 23rd, 2011
12:15 pm

Eddie Martin for coach at GT! Who knows the state better?

5150 UOAD

March 23rd, 2011
12:17 pm

Are you sure MB?

Jacket Man

March 23rd, 2011
12:20 pm

It’s Mooney. The announcement will take place after Richmond is out of the tourney and his buyout is worked out with Richmond. The salary issue has already been worked through.

Jacket Man

March 23rd, 2011
12:20 pm

If I were a betting man. ;)

The Bees Nees

March 23rd, 2011
12:22 pm

I wouldn’t be disappointed with either, but would rather have Marshall.

Buzz

March 23rd, 2011
12:23 pm

SECOND…. AKA first loser!!!!!!!!

GT 88

March 23rd, 2011
12:23 pm

I want Chris Mack…but Mooney is my guess

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:24 pm

Am I sure? Were I sure, it wouldn’t be a guess.

Me Is Right

March 23rd, 2011
12:24 pm

It should be Eddie Martin. Give him a 1 year contract while the new arena is being built. Im sure he would take about a third of what Hewitt was making per year. He knows how to win, the players in the state know who he is, and he knows more about running a team than Paul Hewitt could ever dream of.

Buzz

March 23rd, 2011
12:24 pm

I wish they would at least take a shot at Brad Stevens!!!!!!

Georgia Saturdays...Built Smartcar Tough™

March 23rd, 2011
12:24 pm

The $$ might surprise ya’, mark. Just sayin’.

DawginLex

March 23rd, 2011
12:25 pm

Mike anderson going to Arkansas from reports being seen

GTT

March 23rd, 2011
12:29 pm

What’s the deal with Craig Neal, why no sniffs from Tech or anybody else with a vacancy. Is he not head coach material?

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:31 pm

I wouldn’t assume that Neal won’t get a sniff from Tech.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:32 pm

But I do think Radakovich’s preference would be to hire a current head coach.

juvenal

March 23rd, 2011
12:35 pm

JUST HAVE TO SEE IF DADGUM HAS ANY UPDATES…….

Pull My Finger

March 23rd, 2011
12:40 pm

Jody Travis is DA MAN!!………..and at a bargain price! :)

spider

March 23rd, 2011
12:43 pm

NOODLES shoud be the number 1 on the list, he has been a great asst to steve alford for several years and has said publically that GT is his school and his dream job. also im trying to think of any player we have ever had that played with so much spirit for GT.

derek

March 23rd, 2011
12:45 pm

Big news in the next week. It will be Mark Price. A visionary pick and one guaranteed to excite the fan base. Arena will be rocking next year if Price comes–and he will. Done deal.

William Satterwhite

March 23rd, 2011
12:45 pm

GTT, assistant coaches rarely get “big” jobs, usually they need to start at a mid-major and work their way up. Usually the assistants that do land a first-time big job come from big time programs- Roy Williams from UNC, all of Coach K’s pupils (Amaker, Snyder, Dawkins, etc…). It’s not that Neal isn’t head coach material, he just has to work his way up the ladder and being an assistant at New Mexico just doesn’t cut it. He might be a more attractive candidate if Alford and he had stuck around at Iowa but even that would be a stretch. The best thing for Neal would be to find an attractive mid-major to get a head coaching job to build up his resume

Benjamin

March 23rd, 2011
12:47 pm

Give me Mooney with Price, Anderson, and Neal as assistants. What, college basketball coaches don’t operate by fantasy baseball rules? :(

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:48 pm

I’m a big fan of Craig Neal’s and have written as much. If given the opportunity, I think he’d succeed. But he is an assistant coach. That’s a high hurdle.

William Satterwhite

March 23rd, 2011
12:51 pm

Marshall or Mooney would be perfect, I’d be ecstatic if Tech landed either one. I think Shaka smart might end up being the top guy out of this class down the line but he’s too risky of a proposition at this point, he has no real track record. He’d be a perfect choice for Tennessee, with the Pearl mess they’re in a position where they can afford to take a chance on a riskier bet.

GT hulk

March 23rd, 2011
12:51 pm

Still would like a shot at a Duke assistant—they learn from a super coach, academics are high, wants good 4 year players and know what winning is about–every year, Duke is in the NCAA

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
12:54 pm

That said, GT hulk, the track record of Duke assistants isn’t great: Quin Snyder, fired at Missouri; Tommy Amaker, fired at Michigan; Johnny Dawkins, so-so at Stanford.

Mike Brey has done well — well, as opposed to great — at Notre Dame.

CJ

March 23rd, 2011
12:59 pm

Mark, I’ve heard that boosters are willing to give up to $2.5 mil a year for a head coach. I think that kind of money can compete with the bigger schools.

GT hulk

March 23rd, 2011
1:02 pm

Mark, you just shot my choices down, good update.

Dollar Bill

March 23rd, 2011
1:04 pm

My only question on Marshall is why did NCSU not hire him back in 2006 when he was at Winthrop?

We already have a deal with Mooney anyway. Interesting to see who UT and NCSU will get.

GT in CT

March 23rd, 2011
1:04 pm

Would Craig Neal make a lateral move and become Tech’s assistant coach if the new head coach were looking for one? A two-fer!

spider

March 23rd, 2011
1:04 pm

so mark, what you are saying is that all the great coaches went right from the womb to head coaching jobs and never were asst coaches???

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:06 pm

Good question about Marshall. But let’s note how well that Wolfpack hire fared.

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:07 pm

GT hulk

Lets look at them shall we?

Amaker – average at best at Seton Hall and run out of Ann Arbor
Bender – run out of Washington
Brey – good career numbers but severely underachieves in the NIT and NCAAs
Capel – run out of Norman
Dawkins – treading water at Stanford…has a great team returning for next year though
Henderson – run out of Delaware
Snyder – run out of Columbia

The track record is not nearly as rosy as you think. I wouldn’t touch one of K’s assistants with a 10 foot pole.

SteveGR

March 23rd, 2011
1:07 pm

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:08 pm

No, spider. What I’m saying is that most big-time head coaches took jobs — as head coaches — at smaller schools first. Jim Boeheim is an exception. Roy Williams is an exception. Denny Crum was an exception. But there aren’t that many.

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:09 pm

GT in CT

No. If the new coach is successful it all but guarantees Neal wouldn’t be in line for the Tech HC job for 5+ seasons. He’d be better off getting a job in the Atlantic 10 and then moving into the next Tech job. In fact if his agent is smart as soon as Tech hires somebody he’ll have Neal on a plane to that very abandoned location.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:09 pm

I don’t believe Jeff Capel coached under Kzyzewski. Played under him, yes.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 23rd, 2011
1:11 pm

the hire might be after the final four if the new coach is coaching in the final four, hey richmond could make the final four they might as well since my bracket is destroyed Mark is even ahead of me .

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:11 pm

Mark

Good point but Boeheim and crum came up when the game was very different and was in fact a game….and not a business. Roy Williams is a tru exception but lets be honest, the man has the best coaching pedigree in the history of college basketball coaches.

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:12 pm

Mark

You’re right. He worked for his Dad at ODU. But still, he’s a K disciple.

85' Bears

March 23rd, 2011
1:12 pm

I know he is old, but Larry Brown wants to get back into coaching. Will he be here 10 years or more, probaly not. Yet, I am pretty sure he will be the best three year coach Tech ever had.

Delbert D.

March 23rd, 2011
1:14 pm

UT needs to hire a disposable coach to carry them through the post-Pearl NCAA sanctions years.

GT hulk

March 23rd, 2011
1:14 pm

Tech Forever, my choices are never good anyway, I thought Bill Lewis was a good choice and O’Leary a bad one. Didnt care for PJ til he beat UGA the first year, but now I wonder if he chokes against UGA now

Delbert D.

March 23rd, 2011
1:16 pm

85′ Bears – Larry Brown would be a good UT hire for 2-3 years. Big name, and the radioactive environment wouldn’t faze him at all.

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:16 pm

Dollar Bill

Easy answer. Up in The Triangle State has the athletic inferiority complex to Duke and UNC (especially UNC). In 2006 Marshall coming out of Winthrop doesn’t make a splash in their eyes when standing next to Williams and K. The two finalists for the job, Barnes and State hero Lowe, did.

William Satterwhite

March 23rd, 2011
1:18 pm

Dollar Bill, Winthrop plays in one of the weakest conferences in D1 basketball so Marshall’s accomplishments there were rightfully questioned when it came to his suitability to be a head coach in a top league like the ACC. While there are exceptions here or there, generally a coach has to follow the path Marshall has taken- lower level mid-major coach to upper level mid-major and then up to a top school. Marshall’s accomplishments at Winthrop showed he was good enough to build a program that could dominate other programs who barely care about competing in basketball, he still had to show what he could do against stiffer competition before getting the big promotion.

Tech Forever

March 23rd, 2011
1:19 pm

GT hulk

There is no choking against UGA. Georgia is Georgia. The last 45 years have not given us one reason to believe Tech can compete with UGA consistently on the football field, for various very real reasons. I love to beat Georgia when Tech does, but I never predict it.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:19 pm

I agree, Tech Forever. You have to go back a ways to find a true career assistant getting a chance at a big-time job. Unless you count Bill Guthridge.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:20 pm

An athletic director — not Dan Radakovich, I must state — told me two weeks ago that the best mid-major coach in the nation is Gregg Marshall.

Tech Fan

March 23rd, 2011
1:24 pm

Doug Gotlieb said it will be Mooney on a radio show Monday. Scott Van Pelt re-iterated it yesterday. So, I will go with them.

Mark Bradley

March 23rd, 2011
1:27 pm

Didn’t Gotlieb also say Tubby Smith would take this job?