After consecutive losses to Duke and North Carolina seemed to deflate all significant postseason hopes, Georgia Tech has won four straight games to clinch a berth in the ACC championship game and is even visible in the college football playoff rankings (16th).
The question: Where does all of this leave coach Paul Johnson?
I have a column on Johnson and his loud response to critics posted on MyAJC.com. Here’s a free link.
In it, I touch on the fact that Johnson has only two years remaining on his contract after this season, and an extension needs to be completed soon. Tech has two games left before its bowl game — Saturday at Georgia and the following week against Florida State in the ACC championship game. Coaches will then head out to recruit.
Johnson certainly doesn’t want to try to sway recruits when he doesn’t even know about his own future.
The standard operating procedure for contracts is different when it comes to college pro coaches. Pro coaches often don’t have their deals extended until there is one year remaining or sometimes even after they’ve expired. College coaches generally are renewed/extended to carry at least four years as a sign of stability to recruits. Otherwise, opposing coaches use it against them in recruiting.
Johnson was hired by former Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich, not his replacement, Mike Bobinski. When I spoke to Bobinski in August about the perceived effect a coach’s contract has on recruiting, he called it “the most overblown thing in the world. That’s a figment of agents’ and other people’s imagination. (Opposing) coaches will say what they’re going to say. But the counter to that is coaches will just pick up and leave.”
Here’s the thing about Johnson: He would just pick up and leave. He’s financially secure and secure in his abilities. He has an ego but not that kind that says, “I have to work in a major conference.” He won’t go begging for an extension.
Our Ken Sugiura spoke to Johnson’s agent last week. Jack Reale said the two sides are “in discussions” for an extension but was non-specific about how much progress has been made.
I know Johnson has his critics. But Tech is about to go to its third ACC championship game in his seven seasons. While there obviously have been some down moments — 1-5 record against Georgia, a 1-5 bowl record, the North Carolina loss — I’m not sure how much better Tech could do than that run since 2008.
Feel free to sound off.
•A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Tech’s season a loud response for Johnson’s critics — AJC: First-ballot thoughts: Smoltz should join Maddux, Glavine — AJC: Georgia vs. Georgia Tech: Which team has had better season? — MyAJC: Gurley’s injury should prompt change in NFL draft rule — AJC: Weekend Predictions: The straight poop–Georgia wins SEC East, Falcons lose — AJC: Is Braves’ pursuit of Lester realistic? — AJC: Braves trade Jason Heyward and John Hart just took huge risk — MyAJC: It makes no sense but Falcons are in first — AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ win over Panthers — MyAJC: Dogs have a statement win, now hope for best with Gurley — AJC: Short takes on Georgia’s win and Gurley — MyAJC: As hoops open, Tech looks far more ready than Georgia — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Dogs, Jackets cross bridge, Falcons back to normal — MyAJC: Ladies and gentlemen Georgia vs. Georgia Tech (in basketball, yes now) — AJC: If Georgia wins out, would it sway playoff committee? — MyAJC: All eyes are on Gurley (even if you can’t find him) — AJC: Hart should deal both Uptons and Gattis — MyAJC: Falcons’ division hopes hinge on beating teams other than Bucs — AJC: Short takes on Falcons’ win over Tampa Bay — MyAJC: If Georgia Tech has come together, we’ll find out against Clemson, UGA — AJC: Short takes on Georgia Tech’s win over N.C. State — AJC: Weekend Predictions: Falcons’ find their penicillin — the Bucs — MyAJC: Amid Atlanta misery, can Hawks really be shining light? — AJC: Election Day: Vote to keep or fire coaches (polls) — MyAJC: Georgia blows it all with inexcusable performance — AJC: Short takes on Georgia’s stunning loss to Florida — AJC: Weekend Predictions: No Gurley (oooh, scary); but Dogs over Gators — AJC: Rules are dumb but that’s no excuse for Todd Gurley