Updated: 11:40 a.m.
Georgia Tech has finally extended an offer to coach Paul Johnson for a contract extension, after an absence of negotiations for several months.
“We’re exchanging numbers now and we’re actually in discussion for an extension,” Jack Reale, Johnson’s agent, said Monday after receiving the extension offer. “I don’t want to characterize anything further than that.”
Johnson has led the Jackets to a 10-2 record this season, including Saturday’s 30-24 upset of Georgia. Tech won the ACC Coastal Division title and will face No. 3 ranked Florida State for the conference championship. The Jackets have a chance to play in a major bowl game and even retain longshot hopes of being in the college football playoffs (although they would need some other dominoes to fall).
But Johnson has only two years remaining on his contract after this season, which is an unusual situation for college coaches given potential recruiting ramifications. Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski has been hesitant until now to extend the deal, and when asked before this season about putting Johnson in a difficult position in recruiting, he responded: “(It’s) 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.”
So here’s the thing about Paul Johnson: He never has been the type to just pick up and leave. The man has an ego but he never has been one to look for the next great job. He is prickly and thin-skinned and isn’t shy about going on the offensive against critics, particularly in the media. But he never has hid the fact that he likes coaching at Georgia Tech.
What Johnson doesn’t like is being treated like a lame-duck, which is close to what Bobinski had been doing. Bobinski didn’t hire Johnson, Dan Radakovich did. He made it clear before the season that he was still evaluating Johnson and was going to take his time before deciding on a contract extension.
Johnson went 20-7 with an ACC title (later stripped by the NCAA) in his first two seasons, which probably wasn’t a realistic standard to expect. But the drop off in the next four years (28-25) gave Bobinski pause. Worth noting: Tech was a respectable, even if not great, 19-13 in the ACC in those four seasons, but going 1-7 to Georgia and in that span brought down the overall record.
Bobinski was approached about an extension by Reale periodically but had never made an actual proposal until Monday. The timing is understandable. Johnson and his assistants will resume recruiting next week after the ACC championship game and it’s going to be difficult to sway recruits with two years on his deal (Bobinski’s previous comments notwithstanding).
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