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