Georgia Tech’s thinning search: Is anyone left? Why, yes

Shaka Smith and his VCU victors: Can Tech afford to wait on him? (AP photo)

Shaka Smart and his astounding VCU victors: Can Tech afford to wait on him? (AP photo)

We’ve been saying for a while that Georgia Tech would have to focus on a mid-major coach due to money, or the lack thereof. Trouble is, this looks more and more like the wrong time to be hiring a mid-major coach. Because Chris Mooney just re-upped at Richmond. Because Cuonzo Martin just made the leap from Missouri State to Tennessee. And this leaves the Jackets … where?

Maybe with Gregg Marshall of Wichita State, whose Shockers are still playing in the NIT. Maybe with Brian Gregory of Dayton, although the reaction Friday night to a series of Tweets indicating Tech had already offered Gregory the job was so negative it had to give pause. Maybe even with Doug Wojcik of Tulsa, although I can’t believe he’d be received any more positively than Gregory would.

And what of Shaka Smart? The VCU wonder — no coach in NCAA history has ever had to win five times just to reach the Final Four — has at least one more game on his calendar, and waiting to interview Smart would not only put Tech far behind its April 1 target but would also leave the school open to being turned down at a very late date.

The loose consensus — on the outside, if not the inside — was that Tech had been waiting on Mooney. He apparently interviewed Sunday and then went home and said, “More money to stay in place? I’ll take it.” That he’s no longer available and that Martin, whom I’ve trumpeted for six weeks, is moving to Knoxville limits the Jackets’ options but doesn’t mean they still can’t find the right coach.

Last week I thought it would be Mooney or Marshall, in that order. Now I think it will be Marshall. But I’m also thinking the candidacy of Craig Neal — the former Jacket who’s a New Mexico assistant — is growing longer legs with every day.

By Mark Bradley

347 comments Add your comment

Don't Panic

March 27th, 2011
8:09 pm

Don’t hire Gregory!

Ira

March 27th, 2011
8:10 pm

This is the first time I’ve gotten to one of your stories before there were any comments, Mark. Just thought you should know.

No One Knows You're a Dawg

March 27th, 2011
8:11 pm

If this were a search for a UGA assistant football coach MB and JS would be saying it spelled the end of Georgia’s program.

Worm

March 27th, 2011
8:12 pm

Perry Clark was just fired from Texas-San Antonio wasn’t he?

Don't Panic

March 27th, 2011
8:12 pm

Take a breath. Re-group. Make a smart hire.

Gregory may be a great basketball mind, who comes from a successful basketball family tree… But, that does not mean he can translate his knowledge to 18-22 year old kids. That 15-52 career record vs. the RPI Top 50 stings too much to be taken seriously by Tech.

Ira

March 27th, 2011
8:14 pm

Nah. They’d be pointing out how embarrassing it is that everyone uga goes after turns them down. They can’t do that with Tech, because our search isn’t so public.

Tech Man

March 27th, 2011
8:15 pm

We have to get Noodles. He is the only one we can afford right now and he would be a good coach with his heart into it.

misterwax

March 27th, 2011
8:17 pm

My vote goes with Noodles Neal…. if anyone can coach a kid to take a charge, he’s the one.

GT Letterman

March 27th, 2011
8:18 pm

No to Noodles Neal. Nice Guy. Not our best effort at a hire, though.

Tim

March 27th, 2011
8:19 pm

Gregory would be a great hire. He wins games and gets his teams to play hard. With the upgrade in talent at GT from Dayton he could be a little Tom Izzo. His teams at Dayton are full of terrible shooters because no one wants to go there.

O'Brien

March 27th, 2011
8:20 pm

Mark,

I’m surprised Mooney didnt get a contract with an automatic rollover like what we gave Hewitt (yes, that is sarcasm).

If they do hire the Wichita State coach, is there going to be any excitement generated among the fan base?

Ron Jirsa

March 27th, 2011
8:20 pm

What about me?!?!?

Outside Observer

March 27th, 2011
8:21 pm

Any word on if Price would be willing to be an assistant coach if Neal was selected as the head coach? Getting both would be ideal in my opinion. We get the big name guy to help with recruiting, we get the guy who really knows his x’s and o’s. Granted neither one has the experience desired but everyone has to start somewhere. If D-Rad believes he can be the guy, I’m ok with Tech being that starting ground.

cattle dawg

March 27th, 2011
8:22 pm

Im surprised that Mooney turns tech down, but Im not sure how good this guy is.

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:24 pm

If we end up with Marshall, we will look back on today as a great day for GT basketball. I’m sure Mooney would have done fine, but Marshall is a great coach. I just hope NC State is still wasting their time looking “higher”, because we can’t outbid them. Maybe they will take Fox.

B

March 27th, 2011
8:28 pm

How confident are we (on the outside) of the financial situation of Tech athletics? The first sentence of this article implies that Tech wouldn’t have the money to make an offer to a high-major coach. I could see how that *could* be the case, given the Hewitt buy-out, the Gailey buy-out, the new arena, and lagging ticket sales, but are we sure that that actually *is* the case, or is it possible that Tech could still end up luring away a coach from another power conference school?

Dawgfan0711

March 27th, 2011
8:28 pm

Better get Marshall, not a whole lot left to choose from. Smart has VCU in final four but a short track record. Marshall is the safe pick, smart is high risk, high reward kind of hire. Good luck jackets with your hire.

Dawgfan0711

March 27th, 2011
8:30 pm

Gordon…Fox isn’t going any where, UGA can afford to pay it’s coaches as much as anybody can.

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:30 pm

For all we know, Rodriquez (the point guard for VCU) is Smart’s Jarrett Jack. VCU is a special team – that are mostly Anthony Grant’s players. Smart’s price tag will be too inflated from this wild ride to be worth the risk. We’ve been down that road already. Hire a guy with a proven decade and a half of good coaching. Go get Gregg Marshall.

Jupiter

March 27th, 2011
8:32 pm

Pearl is waiting for the call!

Not A Hewitt Fan

March 27th, 2011
8:32 pm

I say go with the Price/Neal/Anderson combo. Cant be any worse than the last thing we had.

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:33 pm

Dawgfan0711,

No doubt UGA can pay whatever anyone else offers for Fox. The question is, does Fox want to coach at a school where he will always be a distant #2 in the sports pecking order? NC State cares about basketball they way you guys care about football, and that appeals to good basketball coaches.

louisville slugger

March 27th, 2011
8:33 pm

Marshall, Gregory, Wojcik – none of them will energize the base. I was hoping for Mooney, but right now, I think Craig Neal would be a better choice (at least of energizing the base) than anyone else I’m hearing about. Maybe not a perfect hire, but I’m willing to give him a chance. Smart seems like a one-hit wonder, not unlike Hewitt with Siena…

Tech86

March 27th, 2011
8:35 pm

Smart Hire Donnie Tyndall of Morehead State and he can Kenny Anderson to the fold. He is the one

Et in arcadia ego

March 27th, 2011
8:35 pm

Wojcik will be OK. Neal will be OK. Gregory will NOT be OK. Marshall will be best (better than Mooney, even) if NC State doesn’t take him.

Et in arcadia ego

March 27th, 2011
8:37 pm

NC State may be targeting Marshall and Smart (a reincarnation of a young Jimmy V?!).

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:37 pm

Just watch Marshall’s team Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals before you settle for Craig Neal. Besides, Craig Neal isn’t going anywhere. He WILL take the Tech job if it is offered tomorrow or two weeks from tomorrow.

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:38 pm

I have to think N.C. State is aiming higher than Gregg Marshall.

The jobs still in play: Missouri, Oklahoma, N.C. State and Tech.

TMC

March 27th, 2011
8:39 pm

“Spurned”?

Don’t think that was an accurate word for the title of this article.
Unless, i get some quotes where he rips GT for the treatment or something like it….
I think that is a little strong for someone who got a raise and stayed put.

Et in arcadia ego

March 27th, 2011
8:40 pm

DRad hasn’t interviewed Tyndall for a reason, and it isn’t because they’re still playing in a tournament. I trust DRad on this one. Fox to NC State is a possibility, but the Pack fanbase feels about Fox the way Tech fans felt about Gregory–they don’t like him a bit.

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:41 pm

I’ll tell you what: Shaka Smart has been unbelievable the past 10 days. How about the inbounds play to win Friday against one of the best defensive teams anywhere? How about doing an Northern Iowa on Bill Self?

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:42 pm

If Mark is right about N.C. State going for a bigger name than Marshall, then Missouri is the biggest threat. They have lots of money, and are close to Witchita. Maybe they will take the bait on Shaka Smart, and maybe Marshall wants to return to the South.

Peter D

March 27th, 2011
8:43 pm

Hey Mark!
The coach in you picture has the wrong name. His name is Shaka Smart. C’Mon buddy

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:44 pm

Hewitt was unbelievable for 10 days once long ago….

Et in arcadia ego

March 27th, 2011
8:45 pm

NC State was going after Sean Miller and making tentative gestures towards Rick Barnes, but reports seem to have them staying put. I would have thought Yow needed to hire a big name with an excellent track record, and she has the budget to do it, but who’s left of the major coaches? State is desperate for a winner and a quick reversal of fortune. Duke and UNC are killing them.

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:47 pm

Sorry. His name is Shaka Smart, and he is smart.

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:47 pm

I wonder why the State fans don’t like Fox? I understand Mooney (too much like Sendek), but Fox is a darn good coach.

Et in arcadia ego

March 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

Reading the Pack blogs (I know, I know) indicates their fanbase feels a bit like Tech’s tonight: who else is out there who meets our expectations? I’m guessing there will be some big name surprises dropped in the next day or two…but no idea who they might be. State has more money for BB HC than GT, Mizzou, or OK, and are hungry!

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:48 pm

Fox is a good coach, but he’s not a big name. State is aiming for a Big Name

FullMetalJacket

March 27th, 2011
8:49 pm

My brother in law is a State man, and he just isn’t impressed with Fox’s couple of years at an SEC football school. Of course, he married my sister, so what does he know?

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:51 pm

I really think State will spend the most of the remaining programs to hire its guy: I’m thinking $2 million at the bottom

5150 UOAD

March 27th, 2011
8:52 pm

FMJ don’t make me call your mom and tell what you said about her favorite SON(in-law). Mom alway liked your sister best anyway. LOL

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:52 pm

And let’s be clear: We don’t know if Mooney was ever offered the job at Tech. The assumption — on the outside, remember — was that it was his to lose. But that might not have been the case.

thwg

March 27th, 2011
8:52 pm

I never wanted Mooney – has everyone forgotten that GT beat Richmond earlier this year??? Why would we want a coach who got out coached by Hewitt. I say wait for Smart as Marshall isn’t going anywhwere

Gordon

March 27th, 2011
8:52 pm

I’m surprised Missouri didn’t offer Martin, since he is right there at SW Missouri State. I guess they want a big name too.

Good. Maybe they will stay away from Marshall as well.

thwg

March 27th, 2011
8:53 pm

BTW, I do have highly reliable inside info and Mooney was never offered.

Mark Bradley

March 27th, 2011
8:53 pm

I really like Cuonzo Martin. Liked him as a player, like him as a coach. I think Tennessee made a good hire.

Pitiful

March 27th, 2011
8:53 pm

Why not consider Larry Brown? He wants to coach at college and would be better than any of the above.

FullMetalJacket

March 27th, 2011
8:54 pm

State’s basketball coach will likely be the defining hire of AD Yow’s tenure. They are every bit the basketball school as UNC and Duke…they’ve just been through a long down cycle. Sendek was fired after making the NCAA’s 4 years in a row, I believe, just because they did not like his style (and he didn’t dominate Tobacco Road). Their standards are high, and their basketball program impacts overall student enrollment like UGA’s football program does in Athens.

thwg

March 27th, 2011
8:54 pm

I don’t think Price and/or Neal are in ther running. Only way Neal gets here is if he comes with Alford. BTW, congrats Mark on the KY win