Timing is everything, as Georgia Tech keeps Brian Gregory

Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, with center Demarco Cox, obviously will keep his job but needs to improve on this season's 3-15 ACC record. (AP photo)

Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, with center Demarco Cox, obviously will keep his job but needs to improve on this season’s 3-15 ACC record. (AP photo)

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).

Paul Hewitt will make $1.65 million in next two years from former employers. (AP photo)

Paul Hewitt will make $1.65 million in next two years from former employers. (AP photo)

• 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

Reader Comments 0

66 comments
TheD1Guru
TheD1Guru

19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51, 19-51!!!!!  Thats not the year 1951, that's this clown's record!!!!  How do we keep paying fools like this?  Who is negotiating these contracts?  It is getting ridiculous. This guy is obviously in over his head and he knows that he has millions waiting on him win or lose.  He doesn't have 1 NBA caliber player on his roster.  Cremins kept NBA players on the roster and recruited them tenaciously.  Creins kept a great point guard and perimeter scorers who could shoot the lights out.  Do these guys even know what a D1 ACC basketball player looks like?  I don't care how many games this joker has lost by less than 5 points!  Five points or 25 points is still a loss.  Nobody puts those 5 points or less losses in a different column but losers!!! Bring Cremins back to resurrect our basketball program like Kansas State brought back Snyder to resurrect their football program.

Wes 1948
Wes 1948

Is Gregory worth passing on a coach the caliber of Sam Mitchell?????  A coach of this caliber and this NBA pedigree only comes along once in a lifetime!!!!!  Money is money!  But money comes from putting customers in the stands!  Sam Mitchell is available for now!!!! When word of his availability gets out, many D-1 schools will be after Sam!  Bobinski has a really tough call!  Win for life or wait for another pitiful season!?????

Peachs
Peachs

It is the way he loses close games, it is the loss to Upper State, you don't get bouquets putting the opponents to sleep until it is time to go home and they pick it up just enough to beat you. Once in a while they gave up too large a lead to pull it off but seldom did a team not make a confident run against us, a little antiDuke or UNC where the very presence wins games, our very presence gives the opponent continual hope, no panic just like an easy course in school, cram for one night and make your grade.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

GT just cant accept the truth that there are VERY few coaches who are top recruiters AND coaches.
   If we have a coach who is a solid coach then surround him with assistants who are solid recruiters and known in the area.

If we have a coach who is a great recruiter (like we did have) then you surround him with great coaches as assistants, even if that means you overpay for a few assistants.  

Seems pretty simple to me.   Im not sure why this philosophy has been over GT's head the past 7 or 8 years.   

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

And no im not necessarily a Hewitt defender, i think GT should of made Hewitt their little puppet.   Go over his head and bring in top level assistants, and keep Hewitt as the face of recruiting.   This would of either
 A).  pissed Hewitt off and made him quit.              Or.... 

B).  forced the program to get better from a coaching standpoint.  

And to judge his time at GW is really unfair.   Hewitt is a coach who is best when surrounded by top level assistants (like we had in 2004), and a few NBA players surrounded by solid 4 year players.  

GW isnt exactly a place known for producing NBA lotto picks, so of course Hewitt failed there.  

Yellerbug
Yellerbug

@BravesFan79 That was the solution.  We were stuck with an awful (Braine dead) contract with Hewitt, but the guy could recruit---just needed someone to show players how to inbound the ball, make free throws, and try to keep TOs under 20.  So we should've hired some good assistants (not caring what Hewitt wanted) and we'd have been competitive every year.

FBYJ
FBYJ

I think the best answer for Tech B'ball is to petition the NCAA to reduce the game time by two minutes in each half.  We seemed to do pretty well except in the last couple of minutes.  Maybe if we just shortened the games, we'd have a much better record!  :)

Carl Elias
Carl Elias

@PaulinNH

I'm not sure that will help us since we only seem to beat the bad guys 2 times in 14 tries.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@FBYJ 

It will take them a while to review the petition - they are currently reviewing UGA's request to shorten FB games by 18 seconds.

bulldogsteve
bulldogsteve

Where are all the millionaire's that Tech produces every year that everybody on here is so proud of, that they cannot afford to buy out that contract? Like many have said on here, keeping him will cripple your program for a few years. What recruit would want to go to Tech for one year under with a lame duck coach. Rivals are going to have with that recruiting pitch.

gt1995
gt1995

@bulldogsteve Only a bulldog wouldn't be able to do basic math.


While 1/4 of Tech grads become millionaires (a verifiable statistic), there are nearly 4x's the number of UGA grads versus Tech grads. The vast majority of those grads do not live in the Metro area and many of them do not base their identity on the success of the athletic programs. Throw in all of the "sidewalk alumni" and you have an enormous fan base from which to draw finds.


While UGA could "pass the hat" at a single football game, get a $100 check from everyone and payoff BOTH contracts, Tech simply doesn't have the numbers to do so.


That is the reason DRad left Tech. At places like Clemson, UGA, Alabama, FSU, etc. ADs can make a decision and figure out to pay for it later. They have an enormous fan base with no ties to the school other than being fans of the athletic teams. The athletic programs are the identity of those institutions. The athletic programs are EVERYTHING to those institutions.


That simply is not the case at Tech. Those of us who are Jacket fans are just as passionate as fans of any other program. We are simply outnumbered.

Carl Elias
Carl Elias

@TechTroll13 @bulldogsteve

Since Gregory is the coach for next season, people are talking about the 4-5 schollies that come available the year after that, most of the MBB recruiting is done for next season.

I think he was referring to the schollies that come open after next season the 2015-16 season, those players will enroll in a Fall-2016 not Fall-2015.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

It amazes me the incompetence of these ADs.  Signing Hewitt to a new 3 year deal  that auto-renewed annually was plain foolish.  His Final 4 appearance was diluted since the guys that got him there were not his own.  Regarding Gregory, most fans knew he wasn't the right guy midway through his 2nd year.  Keeping him around for financial reasons sends the wrong message to GT fans & alumi and pretty much says the AD has no confidence in himself to choose anyone better.  If he did they'd have no problem eating the remainder of Gregory's contract for what they'd gain with having the right person.  

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@GeorgeJetsen 

"His Final 4 appearance was diluted since the guys that got him there were not his own."

Don't be silly.  GT went to the FF in CPH's 4th season.  All of the key guys on that team (Jack, Bynum, Ish, BJ Elder, Luke) were recruited by Hewitt.  Marvin Lewis was the only SR who took part in the run - Clarence Moore was injured.

Football Redneck
Football Redneck

He can't recruit therefore another losing season on the way.Should have fired him no matter what.

more
more

I really don't understand why it is so hard to recruit talented high school basketball player or junior college players to attend GT. Maybe you should add Coach Sherman White at Miller Grove High School to your basketball coaching staff.  

moboman
moboman

What it all comes down to is just how much these guys are OVERPAID for what they do.  You can't afford to keep them without over paying and you are hamstrung when they don't pan out.  Maybe the decrease in college hoops talent level will return some sanity to coaching salaries.  Probably not.

Guyon
Guyon

Money counts for Tech, but UGA makes over $20 million per year in profit. Both schools are state schools, and Tech definitely brings prestige to the State of Georgia. Therefore, I believe UGA should share their profits with Tech on a 50:50 basis. The money could be used only for employees salaries.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Guyon "Georgia athletics also reported contributing $4.0 million to the University of Georgia for non-athletic initiatives, which resulted in Georgia athletics reporting an overall loss of $2.8 million for 2012-2013."


That's what happens when you take the 3rd most profitable football program in the US and use it to fund all of the other losing athletic programs.  There's nothing left over for GT.


http://businessofcollegesports.com/2014/10/01/most_profitable_college_football_programs_georgia/

TEB1
TEB1

Wow, I don't know what is more sad, Tech keeping its horrible basketball coach or the lack of comments. It must be true that no one reads the AJC anymore!!!

GTBob
GTBob

@GTMan1949 I have less of a problem with throwing next season away then I do with the fact that we will have 4-5 spots open in recruiting and a coach who has no chance of recruiting quality players to fill them. We are looking at a wasted year next year and likely two more after that trying to rebuild the roster.

GTBob
GTBob

@TechTroll13 Jackson shot 27% from the field this year. 17% from 3 point range. If that is the most talented player on the team then you should see how much trouble we are in. That is really bad, even for a freshman. I hope he turns it around but I doubt he will with the current coaching staff.

Also, I am happy that your high school team turned things around but we aren't them. We are a team that has little chance of winning even if we are up by 6 with 2 minutes left. We have no idea how to play when extra pressure is applied, we play poor defense at the end of games, we can't shoot at any time during the game and if the game is on the line our coach may draw up a play for one of the worst offensive players on the team. We aren't good. We may be worse next year. Cox was a little more important than he is given credit for.

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

@GTBob @TechTroll13 Im sorry but teams with any type of shooting "potential" don't shoot 17% from 3.   That's like saying the Clippers DeAndre Jordan has the "potential" to be a great free throw shooter next year if he practices alot over the summer.  

I cant see GT being a Final 4 threat in the next decade at this rate.

GTMan1949
GTMan1949

@TEB1 Kinda means to heck with next season, hope for the best but expect the worst.

Graybeard Jacket
Graybeard Jacket

@GTMan1949 @GTBob I know I am an optimist, but I don't see the "doom & gloom".  This year's team was very close and they only loose two players.  Jorgenson & Jackson (high potential) were freshmen.  Stephens & Heath are sophs (who played little as freshmen).  MGH & Mitchell are back.  I think Lammers has potential.  We will be better, so I don't see how it is a throw away season.  


As for the recruits, the recruits that commit to CBG probably will not stay if he is let go, so a new coach would have a lot of schollys to give out his first year or hold onto until he gets his feet under him.

GTBob
GTBob

@TechTroll13 I appreciate your optimism but going 3-16 in ACC play isn't really close to anything positive. We didn't go 0-11 in close games because we were unlucky. We went 0-11 in those games because we don't have a player on the team that can make a shot in clutch time, nor do we have a coach that can draw up a decent play that may put us in a position to win. That isn't changing next year. Sure we will be a little more experienced. So will every team we are playing.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@TechTroll13  If history repeats, some of this years players won't return specifically because BG wasn't fired.  So you can't assume everyone is coming back until they don't announce they are transferring.

Graybeard Jacket
Graybeard Jacket

@DrTruth @TechTroll13 Certainly there could be transfers that alter the outlook, but I didn't see any players quit on CBG this year despite all that went wrong.  I think you could see in Carter that how he wanted to play didn't line up with how CBG wanted him to play.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@GTMan1949  Unless there are transfers coming in or walk-ons, there's a LOI from a 3-star center (Sylvester Ogbonda).  There's 1 spot left and 2 offers out to PFs and 2 offers out to SFs to fill it.  That's all there is...1 C & 1 PF or SF.

Graybeard Jacket
Graybeard Jacket

@GTBob @TechTroll13 I don't see how you can say that things can't change.  Experience, especially at PG, reduces turnovers.  Jackson is the most talented player on the team and the greatest improvement occurs between the freshman and sophomore years.  We were good enough to be in 12 of those 15 loses.  It will not take much to turn them to wins.


I coached a HS team that went 8-16 with five of those loses by three points or less.  The next year, without added personnel and with the same schedule, we flipped to 16-8 simply because we were more experienced.  I'm not saying we'll make the tourney, but I think it is possible.

Graybeard Jacket
Graybeard Jacket

@GTBob @TechTroll13 Regarding Jackson, I would argue shooting percentage is directly related to shot selection.  Certainly experience helps determine the difference between a good shot and a bad one.  Fewer bad shots increases the shooting percentage without a change in skill level, which he has an opportunity to increase.  I think the same applies to Stephens.


I believe most of our end game problems were a result of the players struggling with the pressure and there is no guarantee that will change, but there is no guarantee it will not.  A new season always brings the hope of success in every sport.  

TEB1
TEB1

Wow, amazing that Tech can build a beautiful coliseum, and allow their basketball program to become a standing joke. This is a terrible decision if true. McCamish will be empty next season and Bobinski should be fired since he contributed directly to the financial condition with the extension last year.

JacketTime
JacketTime

@TEB1 Well during ACC play the opposing teams will fill out our stands so can't say it will be empty. Just empty regarding GT fans...

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

Why is Jeff Goodman the source to be believed.  Just last week there was another source that said Gregory was gone.


As a season ticket holder I will be disgusted if we keep Gregory, damn the finances.  MBob needs to have the courage to be great and elevate this program to a profitable venture.  Keeping Gregory will just continue to have the MBB program in the red.


Look, if you took Hewitt's 4 worst seasons he was still better than Gregory's 4 seasons.  And we canned Hewitt and ate more $.


We all just want to move on from this debacle.  Please do the right thing MBob.  Please. 

Carl Elias
Carl Elias

re:• 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.

===================================

This tells how cash strapped our Athl. Dept. really is.

Had we fired Gregory this year we pay him $1.075MM next yr., and if we keep him and fire him next year the buyout goes down to either 75% or $806K  a difference of LESS THAN $250K.

If the GTAA is wringing their hands over a measly $250K difference for a HC that is not producing and costing us money with a half-empty Arena, then we are in serious trouble financially.

Does everyone that disagreed with me still think that we could afford those raises for our FB Staff?

At GT $250K  plus a new coach's salary should not force us to keep an under performing MBB coach.

A new HC might recruit better and fill the Arena and offset some of those cost sunk into fired MBB coaches.

hpt84
hpt84

@Carl Elias You forgot the additional cost of hiring a new coach. If GT fired Gregory, we will be paying three coach next year instead of just 2.

GeorgeStein
GeorgeStein

@Carl Elias What is the point you're trying to make about the financial situation of the athletic department?   

ATL2Strong
ATL2Strong

Jeff please explain how this guy is a Good coach?? What evidence do you have to suggest he is a good coach? Dayton fans jumped out of their skin in glee when he left, and not GT hoops is a complete dumpster fire. That's on him.. He was a mediocre coach at Dayton and a HORRIBLE coach at GT one of the league's worst EVER. 


Please provide the evidence to suggest otherwise..

Graybeard Jacket
Graybeard Jacket

@ATL2Strong So your argument that he was a mediocre coach at Dayton is based on what the fans thought?   Many fans thought Cremins under performed with the talent he had and others thought he was a saint.  I can find Alabama fans that want to fire Saban.


"He was mediocre coach at Dayton and horrible coach at GT".  So you're saying on the drive down from Dayton he forgot some of the things he knew about coaching?  "and one of the league's worst"  It is always good to end a rant with hyperbole.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Fun Fact for you:  Next year with buyouts only (so I'm not including if he gets another job/salary), Paul Hewitt will be the 26th highest paid college basketball coach in America.

Carl Elias
Carl Elias

By keeping Gregory we have essentially wasted 2 more years in Recruiting because MBB starts contacting prospects as early as their Soph. year, and early contact  is more essential in MBB than it is in CFB.

Any decent Recruit that can be a difference maker KNOWS that Gregory was retained due to finances only and is a lame-duck HC.

MBob just hamstrung our MBB program for another 3-4 years after Gregory leaves, making GT MBB  more unattractive to a top notch HC whenever we do have the finances to get serious about MBB again.

As of now we are NOT serious players in MBB, we are pretenders.