Tech’s decision on Brian Gregory tougher than you might think

Brian Gregory is 4-0 against Georgia but 19-51 in the ACC. (AP photo)

In four seasons at Georgia Tech, Brian Gregory is 4-0 against Georgia but 19-51 in the ACC. (AP photo)

I’m going to type something that I understand probably will upset a majority of the Georgia Tech fan base: I wouldn’t have a problem if Georgia Tech decided to bring Brian Gregory back for another season.

(For the record, I also would understand the “Fire Gregory” side of the debate. I don’t relish being in the middle on this issue — it’s not ideal for a sports columnist — but I’ve never been one to take a side just for the sake of click bait. I know — that shocks you.)

So back to Gregory. This will be a difficult decision for athletic director Mike Bobinski, who, honestly, hasn’t had to make a lot of difficult decisions since he took over for Dan Radakovich. Here’s a few of factors he’ll consider:

• Tech doesn’t exactly have the funding to pay three men’s basketball coaches next season — the remaining time on the contracts of two fired coaches, Gregory and Paul Hewitt, as well as whatever new coach they bring in, possibly after hiring him with a Groupon. That doesn’t mean an angry, deep-pocketed booster couldn’t be located to write a check. It also shouldn’t suggest money should be the determining factor in keeping a coach. But it is a factor.

• I’ll probably get into this more in a column later in the week, but the truth is that many coaches don’t consider Tech a great job anymore, even with the school being in the ACC and located in Atlanta. Gregory wasn’t the Jackets’ first choice after Hewitt was fired. Some of their early choices hung up the phone. To get a proven coach and one who could excite the fan base and recruits, Tech would have to pay big money — and it doesn’t have big money.

• I’m not sure four years is enough time to judge Gregory. Yes, I know he went 3-15 in the ACC this season. Yes, I know he went 0-11 in ACC games decided by five points or less or in overtime (which might be the most improbable statistic of all; usually a team will at least trip into a few close wins.) But to be fair, Gregory has done a really good job cleaning up the off-court mess he inherited, primarily in the area of academics and dealt with some recruiting limitations early given Hewitt-related probation. There’s at least a foundation in place to have some success now.

• Does that foundation guarantee improvement? No. Gregory needs players. Injuries in the 2013-14 season destroyed what would have been a pretty good team. If that had happened, we wouldn’t even be having this debate this year. This year’s team never was going to be great, and it got worse when the best would-be returning player, Robert Carter Jr., surprisingly transferred to Maryland. But if this season’s team had one impressive trait, it’s this: The players played hard. That’s a credit to them but also a credit to Gregory for holding them together. If the players didn’t like Gregory, they wouldn’t have given that effort down the stretch.

• The Jackets have most of this year’s team back next season, including Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Chris Bolden and Quinton Stephens, four of their top five scorers. It doesn’t seem outrageous to me to give Gregory another year, especially given the backdrop of finances and the potential job search.

I know. That doesn’t play well with the torch-carrying masses on message boards or in social media.

In the end, coaching is a results-driven occupation. Gregory’s four-year record is ugly: 55-71 overall, 19-51 in the ACC. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fired.

But I feel comfortable typing this: It’s a decision Bobinski has been trying to avoid.

Meanwhile: What to think of Georgia going into the SEC and (likely) NCAA tournament? Click here.

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Reader Comments 0

192 comments
Jim70
Jim70

I guess Cremins is not a common word on the AJC editor - changed it to Clemons - surprised it didn't change it to Clemson!


Unfortunately March Madness just doesn't have the same appeal as when Tech is in it.  Hopefully we won't get use to this, but the way things are going, maybe for a while.  Luckily with basketball, one or two great players can change a program quickly - just need to do some better recruiting (and coaching).

GTBee
GTBee

Wow really!?  First of all, beating UGA, although nice in basketball, really is no big deal.  Beating UGA in football IS a big deal!!!  And returning players from this year's awful team to next year is supposed to make us feel better?  Like lipstick on a pig.  I am still amazed that GT gave him a contract extension after only 2 years and after 2 years of mediocre performance.  And, in year 3 and 4 it has only gotten worse.  No improvement.  He must AND should be fired.

Peachs
Peachs

Man you have a hole in the boat!  You not only have this but you had a few years there you were operating without a home as Alexander was getting redone and renamed, losing money on operation, and spending it.  The last game with Boston College was a book report of the whole year.  A five point lead under two minutes, they have turn overs and miss shots and lose by one.  Hate to go back to Cremins but that man had some magic, looked like he enjoyed the close ones ,as did his player, these guys look losted.  . 

oldmaninatlanta
oldmaninatlanta

He is terrible coach....a good comparison would be when UGA had Jirsa....and u see how that worked out.Gregory has gotta go

DrTruth
DrTruth

"Tech doesn’t exactly have the funding to pay three men’s basketball coaches next season — the remaining time on the contracts of two fired coaches, Gregory and Paul Hewitt, as well as whatever new coach they bring in, possibly after hiring him with a Groupon."


No Groupon needed Schultz...I did your homework for you.  According to the FY 14 GTAA Annual Report:


"Beginning in FY 15, the GTAA will receive approximately $5 million in new funding from the ACC resulting from television revenue generated by the new college football playoff, the addition of Notre Dame to the conference, and the conference’s new Orange Bowl agreement. This new funding will provide the GTAA with flexibility in the annual budgeting process and an increased ability to address operating needs for the athletic program. The additional funding along with strategic cash management increases the likelihood of GTAA finishing FY 15 with positive net income."


Cash to burn, man...Cash to burn.  Of course that says nothing about the absolute disgrace of paying 3 head coaches to coach (or not coach) one men's BB team.  It would truly be a new low for Tech athletics.

-sting-
-sting-

from another article on tech, i had forgotten bobinski did rehire gregory, therefore, making him his first big hire and mistake possibly. maybe it will be requiring him to save face and give PG another year to make it:


http://georgiatech.blog.ajc.com/2015/03/12/notes-background-on-gregory-buyout/


PG is owed 2.45 mil over three years in his buyout agreement from the renewal of the contract done in nov, 2013. i dont know if tech is willing to swallow that much money at this time and build a scenario of marketing the "we were so close" last year we will obviously be better this year, campaign to sell the program and tech basketball. 

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

I think we should bring back Hewitt.  

Unless anyone here knows of another coach who can bring NBA level talent to the program.  
At this point id settle for being really good once every 4 or 5 years, wouldnt yall?

Wes 1948
Wes 1948

@BravesFan79  The best coach in America would love to have the Tech job!  Sam Mitchell has the resume and background to make Tech basketball a power in America today!  He can recruit, coach better than anyone who has ever been at Tech, and sincerely cares about academics!

Wes1948

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

@Wes 1948 @BravesFan79  Sam Mitchell sounds like a solid option.  I know one name that GT overlooked after getting rid of Hewitt and that was Bruce Pearl.   

Auburn is reaping the benefits of giving him a 2nd chance already.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@BravesFan79 

Hire Bruce Pearl after firing Hewitt - wow!!! 

We have a winner for the dumbest post of the month.  The NCAA gave Bruce Pearl a show cause penalty in August 2011 5 months after UT fired him for, among other things, lying to the NCAA.

Carl Elias
Carl Elias

@PaulinNH

We could never hire a guy that has been in NCAA trouble especially since our FB coach has had multiple NCAA mis-steps and even had to fire an OLine coach for NCAA violations.

Pearl would have fit in just fine at GT, he lied to the NCAA, while Coach Johnson ignored the NCAA's explicit instructions.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

Make Hewitt the "puppet" the face of the program to bring in good black players again.


  Like a football coach who lets his OC and DC call all the offensive and defensive plays (Nick Saban comes to mind as someone whos the "face"... yet calls no plays..  Hewitt would of been perfect in that role.   

Wes 1948
Wes 1948

@BravesFan79  Yes.  Sam Mitchell can do all Cremins did and twice as much more!!!!!

RunnerKirk
RunnerKirk

Jeff--you must want to get a bunch of front row tickets for family and friends.  If they keep Gregory, you'll have plenty of great seats from which to choose.  The Athletic Dept has some blame here.  They kept rolling over Hewitt's contract, long after it was clear to most of us that this would lead to an expensive buyout.  Then--wasn't it last year--where they inexplicably extended Gregory's contract by a year??  What the heck was that about??  Still, the bottom line is you would be better off rolling the dice with a new, young coach than sticking with Gregory--unless you want more of the same.  A new young coach might not work out, but it can't really get much worse than it is now.  When Duke hired Coach K, they had no clue what they were really getting, and nobody else did either.  It's worth the risk.

Wes 1948
Wes 1948

@RunnerKirk  Sam Mitchell is the best coach in America!  And would love to have the Tech basketball job!

crackbaby
crackbaby

"You are what your record says you are..." - Bill Parcels

crackbaby
crackbaby

Damn poor coach.  Team has no idea what to do on offense.


On one national broadcast (espn, maybe L'ville game), they showed a made for tv moment where CBG was passing the ball into Demarco Cox repeatedly in "practice".  CBG is a poser.


People say he is high character.  That is good but it isn't enough.  Bill Curry was 2-19-1 his first two years at Tech.  Both can't coach very well.  Sorry but it is the truth.


It appears that CBGs assistants don't contribute much either.  Recruiting, improvement on the offensive side of the ball, player development all appear to be lacking.  Is Cory Heyward any better than last year?  Jorgensen? MGH?  Don't think so. That is another in a long list deficiencies of this staff.

Lowcountry Jacket
Lowcountry Jacket

@crackbaby Bill Curry was 2-19-1 after two seasons at Tech, but he also turned around a football program on the verge of being scrapped altogether after Coach Rodgers was fired.  Curry put together two solid seasons before he left, beating Georgia two years in a row after a drought of 7 years, and had an impressive showing in the 1985 Independence Bowl.  Win or lose, that Independence Bowl was a big deal at the time.  It felt like a major bowl to us, after so many years being in UGA's shadow. 


Curry's departure was deflating and left a bad taste in the mouth of many Tech fans, yet many of his players still revered him--leaving Coach Ross in a nearly impossible situation trying to get the team to gel and conform to his style of discipline.  Coach Curry definitely left Tech football on the upswing -- from total irrelevance to middling respecatbility.  Had Coach Ross not been so different a coach, he might have been able to build on Curry's success a lot quicker.  As it was, Coach Ross only had 5 wins total his first two years -- and then went on to win the national title two years later...


What does this have to do with Coach Gregory?  Many people were wanting to get a new HFC at the end of the 2013 football season, saying Coach Johnson couldn't get any good defensive coordinators in, couldn't recruit, couldn't get people to play his offense, could only win with Chan's players, had enough time already to get all his own players in and run the system, just couldn't win...  Coach Gregory has another season left on his contract.  Let him coach out his contract, and see if he can't win like Curry, Ross or Coach Johnson.  I remember he brought a lot of excitement to the Flats when he was hired.  He cleaned up the situation, cares about his players, and seems like a good match for Tech.  If he can't turn it around, now one will care in 6-7 years if he stayed another year...

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

@Lowcountry Jacket @crackbaby

We put up with Curry just to be dumped for Bama when he played on the team that had the Chick Granning?Darwin Holt incident. 

Is that Tech's lot?

Allow a lousy coach to stick around until he gets good enough to draw interest from a school with more bucks.

Bama may have hired Curry because of NCAA problems.

UnbiasedObserver
UnbiasedObserver

Hes not very good.  


Obviously not a good recruiter either.


Tech should be better.

Jim70
Jim70

Sliderule, don't have to offer the wheeler coach the head job, just do like coach brown did at Kansas when he offered manning's dad an assistant job.  Add the wheeler coach to the recruiting department.


Carl Elias
Carl Elias

@Jim70

The Wheeler HC is a great "recruiter" only because most HS's follow the rules and don't illegally recruit players from outside their attendance zones.

Once he gets to the college level where everyone is "allowed to cheat also", then his recruiting prowess will quickly disappear.

The HC from Wheeler ain't the answer.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Guy has a ton of close losses.................but this isn't horseshoes.

macrotech
macrotech

The man inherited a program mired in mediocrity....I'm not saying that he IS the man, but I believe that he deserves a couple more seasons to get us turned back around in the right direction.

GTBob
GTBob

@twelveofthirteen Gregory has the 2nd worst winning percentage of any coach who has ever coached at GT and he is only 1% off the worst percentage. I don't think it is all that delusional to think someone out there could do a little better than that. I'm not sure many could do worse.

GTBob
GTBob

@macrotech It shouldn't take 6 years to turn a basketball program around. That is a little extreme.

twelveofthirteen
twelveofthirteen

@GTBob @macrotech  Cremins was an amazing recruiter. Fan base is now delusional that they can do any better in the ACC than what Gregory or Hewitt delivered. Below average ACC basketball program post Cremins. Get used to it.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@twelveofthirteen 

"Below average ACC basketball program post Cremins"

The same way UVA was a below average ACC program post Holland.  Leitao left them in the basement, but look what has happened with  Bennett

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

There is no possible way MBOB can justify keeping Gregory around another year.  The lost revenues far outweigh the cost of his buyout and any remaining costs for Hewitt (which I think go away this year).  

We were at 70% capacity on the last 2 games of the year against marquee opponents that normally would be sell-outs. That's is 3000 seats that went unsold or at minimum $300K for both games combined, not to mention loss of concessions & parking.  

You would have to expect the same lost revenues next year only greater.  Add in loss of TECH fund receipts and lack of merchandising sales and you get up to the $650K buy out number pretty quickly.  The projection of even more lost revenues for keeping him as coach just can't be ignored.

Sorry to throw finance at you Schultz, I know it's not a sports columnists strong point.

sliderule
sliderule

If you want the Wheeler recruit, offer the HC job to the Wheeler coach.

Football Redneck
Football Redneck

The guy can't recruit,send him packing.I know Tech doesn't have the money,but a guy off the street can out coach

and recruit him plus very cheap. 

Score Check
Score Check

He beat UGA which traditionally is enough for a gt coach to stick around.

GTBob
GTBob

@GTQBdefender You really think the season opening friday night game on ESPN 3 between two unranked teams had a big impact on our season this year? I think some GT fans think their unhealthy obsession with UGA spills over into basketball. It doesn't. Those UGA fans who give you a hard time every November can't name a player on their basketball team. Its a non conference game against a school who barely even recognizes that they have a basketball program.

GTBob
GTBob

@GTQBdefender Let me put this one more way. When GT beat UGA in football there were multiple blogs on here with hundreds of responses. When GT beat UGA in basketball there was one blog with 17 responses.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@GTBob 

Given a choice between a win in basketball over UGA or over Duke or UNC, I will take it over the boys in either shade of blue every time.  Same goes for UGA instead of Louisville, Pitt, ND, Cuse, State....

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob @GTQBdefender

Multiple blogs with hundreds of responses?!

But you've stupidly insisted for years that GT beating UGA in football is "meaningless."

Liar.

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

@DawgNole @GTBob @Score Check

I wouldn't be that blunt but maybe I have not argued with him as much as you.

If you live in state and have a lot of Uga friends, football, basketball and even baseball arch-rival games matter.

Gregory's team beat a very good Miami team there last year as well as this one.

So what?

He can't even give the loyal season ticket holders a good upset win.

I was not arguing to keep him; just that for some folks with Uga friends, every win over them has some importance.

GTBob, if you are going to argue with Dawg fans and make them angry, then you more than anyone else should be showing up for the arch-rival game.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTQBdefender @DawgNole @GTBob @Score Check

Yeah, we go back a ways. He's always smugly lied about the importance of UGA-GT games. He makes moronic statements like "Nobody cares if we beat UGA in basketball," which is clearly untrue--then defends such idiotic remarks by declaring them "just his opinion." If it's your opinion, then state it as such--not as if it were fact.

I have no strong feelings one way or the other toward Gregory. Seems like a decent man who's overmatched in the ACC.

Iluvnutella
Iluvnutella

I would argue that the kids we have are good enough to go maybe .500 in the ACC. I watched the games. It came down to coaching. Untimely time-outs, passing, moving without the basketball, free throws. These are all coaching shortcomings. IF the Wheeler kid signs, give him(CBG) one more year. CBG hasn't lost to the Dawggies yet, which is why he is still here imho.

Birmingham__Jacket
Birmingham__Jacket

He's here another year, maybe two.

Jay Jacobs and a lot of ADs are already talking about stipends to players that would make it even more difficult for programs like Tech to compete on the gridiron, unless we can get close. Also, Paul Johnson has also built quite a compliment of assistant coaches that have led to better recruiting and success. It will take raises to keep them.

Hate to say it. But it's probably going to like be a while before Tech basketball is back in the hunt in the ACC.