UPDATED: 3:15 p.m.
Brian Gregory is 19-51 in the ACC in four seasons as Georgia Tech’s basketball coach. That alone usually is enough to merit a firing.
But sometimes it’s about more than the record. Sometimes, it’s about money. Or timing.
Sometimes it’s about money and timing.
Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski has decided not to fire Gregory, the school confirmed Monday. I can’t say I blame him. Money, timing and Bobinski’s expectation/hope/prayer that Tech can’t possibly lose every close ACC game next season all were factors.
Here’s a link to Ken Sugiura’s early story, which will be updated later.
The money factor, most of all, couldn’t be ignored. I referenced it here and here. Here’s what Bobinski has been thinking about since Tech was bounced from the ACC tournament six days ago to conclude a miserable season (12-19, 3-15).
• FINANCES (PART I): The Jackets’ athletic department is on a tight budget, particularly in basketball. Former coach Paul Hewitt is still owed the remaining $3.6 million of his $7.2 million buyout, payable over the next four years in $900,000 installments. The school would be on the hook for another $2.4 million for Gregory’s buyout over the next three years, including an installment of $1.075 million next season. So Tech’s payout to two ex-coaches next season would be $1.975 million. That’s even before needing to pay an entire new coaching staff.
(Irony: On the same day Gregory was kept, Hewitt was fired from his latest job at George Mason. No rollover contract this time. But Hewitt will be paid approximately $750,000 for the balance of his deal, which means he’ll make $1.65 million from his two former schools. We could all live with such unemployment benefits.)
• FINANCES (Part II): Gregory’s buyout decreases significantly after next season, so if Bobinski feels a change is needed, Tech will be far better equipped financially to look for a new coach. The Jackets likely wouldn’t have been able to land a coveted coaching candidate this offseason because of the circumstances and would’ve had to settle for a first-time head coach or a retread.
• GREGORY’S FORTUNES: This may shock but some folks think Gregory is a pretty good coach. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas has been among those to sing his praises. That said, Gregory obviously has to win more games – a lot more games. What Bobinski is counting on/hoping for is that the foundation Gregory has built by fixing the academic situation will pay off next season. And, also, that there will be some sort of a market correction after going 0-11 in ACC games decided by five points or less and in overtime.
Gregory has been given a reprieve. But he needs to make the most of it next season or he certainly will be out of a job.
•Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— AJC: Tech expected to keep Gregory, but former coach (Hewitt) fired again — MyAJC: Column on Quinn, Dimitroff defending moves, philosophy — AJC: Exclusive: Q&A with Quinn, Dimitroff on Falcons’ moves — MyAJC: Tech’s candidate pool may be thin if Gregory fired — AJC: Tech’s decision on Brian Gregory tougher than you might think — MyAJC: Georgia erratic but ceiling high in tournament — AJC: NCAA tourney: Dogs should be in, Panthers must do a little more — MyAJC: Georgia State at center of state’s hoops’ rebirth — AJC: Jim Boeheim’s arrogance catches up to him — AJC: Erving says Hawks should do better job embracing their history — MyAJC: Hank Aaron knows exactly how Dominique Wilkins feels — MyAJC: Despite loss, Fox has Georgia pointed in right direction — AJC: Mark Fox deserved contract extension (which he finally signed) — AJC: Falcons, Ndamukong Suh and waiting on fake noise penalty — AJC: Falcons’ payroll slash continues — Blalock, Douglas released — AJC: Steven Jackson expected to be missing piece, but he wasn’t — MyAJC: Can Kevin Seitzer avoid being Braves’ next scapegoat — AJC: Freeman on ’14 roster: Heyward leading off not well-constructed lineup — MyAJC: By any name, Braves need a different Upton — AJC: How long should Braves give Upton to show improvement? — MyAJC: Braves have issues but McDowell not one of them — AJC: I still can’t talk to Roger McDowell without thinking of ‘The Second Spitter’ — AJC: Poll: Are expectations for Braves too low, high or about right? — MyAJC: Will Gonzalez be given some latitude during Braves’ rebuilding? — MyAJC: Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names — AJC: Data show Falcons got least (10-22) from most ($279.3 million) — MyAJC: Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success — AJC: Are Hawks getting Ray Allen? Odds site makes them favorite — MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices — AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again) — AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something — MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs