New reality at Georgia State: What Ron Hunter wants, he gets

Ron Hunter will soon be getting some new toys from Georgia State. (Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

Ron Hunter will soon be getting some new toys from Georgia State. (Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

Ron Hunter will soon be getting some new toys from Georgia State. (Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)

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.

I wonder who the new "Milton" will be at Georgia State?

I wonder who the new “Milton” will be at Georgia State?

• 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

Reader Comments 0

19 comments
TOJacket
TOJacket

Going to show her my OH! face..............lol

TOJacket
TOJacket

Great Movie................keep an eye on your Swingline.

Mr_Nice22
Mr_Nice22

GSU has to fire Miles if it hopes to get better in football. As long as we keep Hunter, we'll be great in basketball.

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

@Mr_Nice22 Not sure about that. He's been here all of two seasons, and had a hell of a job to do just to fix what was wrong when Curry left. I do think if we don't see progress (as in, winning at least 4 games) after this season, his seat is going to be awfully hot. 

GTBob
GTBob

It will be interesting to see how well Ga State does with Harrow gone next year and Hunter the year after that. It's hard to sustain a program on transfers. Personally, I would take a wait and see approach on Hunter if I were in the market for a coach. Its good though that the success he has had so far is leading to improvements at Ga State.

PantherWin
PantherWin

@GTBob It's amazing how people who don't follow the program assume that they have no good players coming down the pipeline. Their incoming class is stacked. Next year's team will be significantly better all around (with or without RJ).

GTBob
GTBob

@PantherWin Who are the players coming in that will easily replace a former 5 star player and a probable NBA first rounder?

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

@GTBob @PantherWin Players like Jeremy Hollowell, a transfer from Indiana, or Malik Benlevi, who just took his high school team to win a state championship. People like Isaiah Wiliams, the standout PG from Samford that transferred to Georgia State. And people like Jeff Thomas, the shooting guard that redshirted this season but will be a starter next season. This team is stacked and will likely be better than it was this season, regardless of whether RJ comes back. But if he does, this team will make some real noise nationally.

GTBob
GTBob

@JamesBullows So a former highly rated recruit who had a disappointing freshman year and has a reputation for being a bit of a head case. A transfer from Samford, and an unknown and unrated guy who had to sit out a year because of grades. That isn't exactly a stacked team. Certainly not to the Harrows/Hunter level. This is the problem with having a team of transfers every year. Usually there is a reason they are transferring, and usually it isn't good. You can't really build a program around it.

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

@GTBob @JamesBullows You just described Ryan Harrow in your first sentence. The transfer from Samford was SoCon freshman of the year. And the "unrelated" guy, who sat out not because of grades but because his high school counsellor told him he could take a summer class online that the NCAA said he couldn't take, was going to start from day one according to CRH, on this team that we're talking about that beat Baylor. That's before we remember that only 3 kids graduate this season, being Ryan Harrow (and as big of a loss as he is, we've proved we can win without him), Curt Washington, and Ryann Green. If RJ comes back, what have we really lost? Everyone else will still be here.

You can try to say "well, i've not heard of any of them" or "well, these kids probably suck", but you'd have said the same to our last two classes, both of which i have no doubt were the best in state (possibly with the exception of Mercer last season, but better than Georgia's and certainly better than GT's, but then again, who's isn't?).

Panama68
Panama68

See Memphis, University of.  Downtown school,  barely had 70 scholarships 2 years ago and went 10-3 and beat BYU n a bowl in 2014. 


...and they have ok MBB ;)

RockTrimlove
RockTrimlove

I don't think we need to say much about the football program. You go with the hot hand. The reality is GSU moved into the Sunbelt to raise its football profile. Atlanta is by far the biggest city of any campus location in the conference. SO, yes, recruiting basketball should be a cakewalk compared to football. And it is much less expensive to run a program.

Build a new basketball complex with arena and practice facilities. Build it on Memorial Drive in any of those yawning gaps of dystopian decay east of campus. Spend $80 million on I. I'll put up $20,000 of my own. My GSU degrees have been very good to me, and the basketball team made the school and the city look very good last week. I take back all the negative things I said here about Coach Hunter in the past.

Maggot_Man
Maggot_Man

@RockTrimlove Win 1 game in the big dance, get pub for how you did it, and now we're building $80mil arenas and handing out mulit-mill $ contracts? Get a grip, guys. The tourney will be over soon and the 'shot' will be watched on Youtube, along with thousands of others. That's really all it is.

JamesBullows
JamesBullows

I remember in 2010, when i started watching Georgia State, we were terrible. But, being British, i'd experienced my first American football with the Panther's new football team and needed something to pass the offseason. Here we are ffive years later with one of the most talked about teams (not even joking either). Point being, all it takes is some tangible success and these things can turn around. I don't think this will be any different to football, and basketball might be the impetus for that to happen.

Jake6304
Jake6304

Dalton state is playing for a national championship to night,not a word in this sorry paper

RockTrimlove
RockTrimlove

@Jake6304  I bet if you learned to spell and use punctuation you could write a letter to the sports editor and request that they pay more attention to special needs schools' sports.

PantherWin
PantherWin

Come on Jeff, this is freaking Atlanta. Football hasn't been embraced because it's been a losing program thanks to Curry. It will take Miles some time to clean up the mess he inherited. You have to win in this city where there are a million other things to do. GSU sold out its allotment in Jacksonville with ease. Its simple. You win and people show up.