Nobody can be certain that Georgia State will be able to keep basketball coach Ron Hunter. As Charlie Cobb, the school’s athletic director, told me Tuesday, “He’s got to have a list of five or six schools that are no-brainers for him. That’s in his world. If you have a chance to double your salary, you do it.”
But Cobb is supremely confident Hunter is staying. And if you’re wondering just how quickly a great season, an NCAA tournament run and becoming lead stories on ESPN and in USA Today can change a coach’s world, consider this:
• State athletic department officials had been discussing the possibility of building a basketball practice facility in available space, near the school’s old arena and aquatics center. This would be a temporary space until fundraising for a $10 million facility could be completed. But the Panthers’ season will “speed up the process,” Cobb said. “We have the space so let’s get an immediate answer. We have the resources so let’s do it.” Voila! The school will spend $1 million to $1.5 million for the practice space.
• Hunter has sought pay increases for his assistant coaches. Done.
• Hunter has sought the use of a charter plane for some road trips during which the team has either flown commercial or even ridden buses in the past. Done.
• Hunter would like increased office space for the team. Done. “We can move some offices around,” Cobb said. (Why am I getting a vision of Milton Waddams (Stephen Root) in the movie “Office Space” being moved to the basement?)
• Improvements are needed in Georgia State’s old arena. Actually, a wrecking ball is needed. But for now, there will be some upgrades, including a new video board.
All of this, of course, is an addition to a potential new contract for Hunter, even though he received a new contract last year. More power to Hunter. Coaches need to get it while they can because euphoria has a shelf life.
But I do think the Panthers can maintain a successful basketball program. They’re set up for it. I’m not convinced they can achieve this in football, which involves more money and resources and takes much longer to build. The Georgia State student body also has not fully embraced football, as evidenced by the small crowds at home games.
For more on this subject, I’ve written a full column on MyAJC.com, which you can read by clicking this link.
But first, more from Milton!
•Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: Basketball is where Georgia State’s focus should be — MyAJC: Hawks get drilled, and concerns may be growing — MyAJC: Georgia better but still not where it needs to be — AJC: Mark Fox returns subtle fire at Brian Gregory before tournament — MyAJC: Gregory knows he needs to make most of his extended lifeline — AJC: Gregory says he gave Izzo ‘everything’ he has on Georgia — AJC: Timing is everything, as Tech keeps Gregory — 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