Poll: To keep or fire Brian Gregory? It’s not an easy decision (again)

Brian Gregory had

Brian Gregory had a nice bounce-back season at Georgia Tech this year but will it be enough to save his job? (AP photo)

At the end of last season many people wanted Brian Gregory fired and some even believed (and reported) he would be. But I never really thought he would be, nor to some degree should be … as I wrote hereand hereand here.

Essentially it came down to this: While Gregory hadn’t done much to convince the masses that the program was headed in the right direction or could get back to a competitive level (19-51 in four ACC seasons), Georgia Tech’s athletic administration wasn’t flush with disposable income. Therefore, it could not afford to pay off three years of Gregory’s contract ($2.4 million) and the long remainder of Paul Hewitt’s contract ($3.6 million) and still have enough money left to attract a new coach. It made far more sense to wait one more season and then take a temperature of things again.

So here we are a year later. What’s the temperature? Mid to high 70s?

I’m not going to take a position on whether Gregory should be fired here. (Yes, it would be far better for page views. See that? I’m not Mr. Clickbait afterall.). There are valid arguments on both sides. I also believe athletic director Mike Bobinski is struggling with this decision, and I don’t think he anticipated after last season that firing Gregory would be a difficult decision.

Here are both sides of the debate:

Keep Gregory

At the risk of lowering the bar for the program, the Jackets had a far better season than expected. They upset Virginia and Notre Dame. They threw scares into other ranked teams and finished the season 19-14 overall and 8-10 in the ACC. That’s the most total wins Tech had since Hewitt’s last NCAA team in 2009-10 (23-13) and certainly better than Gregory had done in conference play since he arrived (4-12, 6-12, 6-12, 3-15).

This team played hard for Gregory and one would have to believe any returning players, as well as incoming players, would do the same. So with two years left on his contract, why not give him another year? Also, the financial ramifications of paying off two former head coaches while trying to lure a third are still problematic, even if not quite as daunting as a year ago.

Fire Gregory

The Jackets are a senior-laden team and they will lose their top four scorers: Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell, Adam Smith and Nick Jacobs. Gregory also relied heavily on transfers this season. While that’s not that unusual in college basketball any more, it’s not the most stable environment for a program to operate and likely doesn’t comfort Bobinski.

Bottom line: Tech is expected to take a step back again next season. So bringing Gregory back may only further damage perceptions of the program and, it follows, recruiting and their school’s ability to hire a top coach. The ACC is an incredibly deep conference in basketball with Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, Louisville, Miami, Notre Dame and others. There was a vibe around the Tech program in the Bobby Cremins days and briefly under Hewitt. But that vibe hasn’t existed around the Jackets for years and to assume it will under Gregory is a long shot.

Furthermore, while firing Gregory would mandate a payoff of $1,343,750, keeping him could cost more. He will get destroyed in recruiting if coaches know he only has two years left on his contract. Bobinski theoretically could give him a two-year extension in an attempt to settle potential recruits. But if he’s then fired after next season, a buyout would cost Tech more (unless Bobinski includes some no-cost provision in there, which I’m certain would irritated Gregory and his agent).

Bobinski came to Tech from Xavier so he knows what a competitive basketball program is supposed to look like. I’m sure he has been thinking about this decision all season. I’m also sure he never thought it would be this difficult.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and vote in the poll.

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31 comments
GTBee
GTBee

Stanford just fired their coach and he has a winning overall record!!  156-115

DrTruth
DrTruth

"It's not an easy decision again" shows just how far GT BB has fallen from the heights of Cremins' reign.  It's really a simple decision for Bobinski:


Keep BG if you're OK with GT living in the ACC basement.


Replace BG if you're not.


Really, that's all there is to it.  The problem with continuing to tolerate a coach who can't raise your team out of the bottom third of the ACC, even in a season with 5 seniors, is you become accustomed to accepting "less" failure as success. 


If Bobinski sees this season as "progress" for BG, then the question has to be asked:   How many of the "top" ACC AD's and HC's would view this GT season the same way if it was their team?  The answer is why BG has no future at GT and GT has no future as long as BG remains.


BG should've been fired last year and replaced with a quality high school coach.

CLTJacket
CLTJacket

Keep him one year so we can save up to eventually fire him next year pending the foregone conclusion of a wasted 2016-2017 season. 


I like Gregory a lot, but this conference demands top talent and coaches.  We had the talent this year, but clearly the coaching is an issue.  


And last, how many times do we get the ball left with ~30 seconds left in the first half only to hold the ball until 6 seconds are left when MGH tries to drive only to 'attempt' a 30 ft 3 pointer while off balance, etc.  That and missed free throws absolutely drive me insane.

Jacket Detective
Jacket Detective

I am wondering if Tech has not had the money for a great hire for a long time.

Bill Curry lacked experience.

Didn't that indicate a lack of funds even then?

It was not money that brought Pepper back from UCLA where he was doing well and should have stayed.

Pepper came back because he loved Tech.

Pepper, btw, went 3-3 vs Auburn which I doubt any other Tech coach past, present and future could have done.

OK Dodd probably had a winning record against them but he also was in the SEC which helped recruiting.

Tech gets its multi-millionaires to make huge contributions by putting their names on a building.

McCamish Pavilion: case in point.

Winning does not seem to be very important to such folks.

buzzgolf14
buzzgolf14

Wasn't Chan Gailey 2-0 vs Auburn?

crackbaby
crackbaby

CBG is a mediocre to average college basketball coach.  This makes him one the worst in the ACC.  His offensive strategies are very poor and the players have no idea what the coach wants them to do on offense.


A number of good players have left early during his tenure and the assistant coaches either aren't allowed to contribute or are challenged in game execution planning.


The record backs up what seems so obvious when the team takes the floor.  This year's team is really talented but the coaching boat anchor has sunk it yet again.  Whether Bobinski knows how BUILD a great program (rather than just knowing what it looks like) remains to be seen.


Go Jackets.

mdet
mdet

BG stinks, most of this season went like the last 2 games where GT plays good or great in one half and bad or terrible in the other.  Still I think he should stay one more year with no contract extension. He doesn't recruit all that well anyway so not much will be lost. We'll then have a lot more money to spend and attract a great coach.

BleedingGold
BleedingGold

Bobinski needs to consider the fact that five seniors (four of our top scorers) are leaving after this season and next year's team will likely be pretty terrible.  If you want to reward him for his best season, go ahead, but realize that he's gone after next year.

kman81
kman81

@DougSligh because UGA fans are voting to keep him just like Tech fans wanted them to keep Donnan and Goff 

Towner Family
Towner Family

Gregory does not seem to have an offensive philosophy.  Even in the wins, there were far too many times when they had to scramble to beat the shot clock.  I'm even more disappointed in the defense this year.  That is supposedly Gregory's staple (along with rebounding) and there were far too many lapses in effort and focus.  Both of these are a direct result of coaching or lack thereof.  There is absolutely no reason that Tech shouldn't be able to recruit with the upper middle teams in the conference.  I enjoyed watching the transfers give us a relatively competitive year but I don't think it's something we can build upon.  I was really hoping for more from an Izzo protoge, but regretfully Gregory should go.

GTBob
GTBob

I wonder how many programs in the country would consider keeping a coach who after 5 years, has a losing record overall, hasn't made the postseason, has a horrible record in their conference, and doesn't recruit all that well.

GTBee
GTBee

Un of Denver just fired theirs and he had a winning record!

moboman
moboman

Cut him loose.  He's a nice guy, but not a great coach, and not a magnetic draw for the program.  Just delaying the inevitable.  A lame duck coach can't recruit in the ACC.  Don't wait another year.

techfanplus
techfanplus

I'm a 81 year old Tech fan and have been a fan all these years.  My Dad and I both are graduates.  I think it comes down to treating employees fairly which I believe is the Tech way.  The performance of the team this year has earned him one more year.  I don't think it is fair to assume the record next year, although, I fear it will be dismal.

If it is, then he should be let go and maybe we will be in a position to hire a notable coach who can begin turning the program around.

It's a tough decision, but I believe this is the Tech way.

slydawg
slydawg

**shrugs shoulder***Sighs  Mediocre coaches are like mediocre players in a contract year.


Cut the cord and soon. A message has to be sent that the NIT is not good enough, especially in the most competitive ACC in 15 years....

pzierolf
pzierolf

thanks again for taking Gregory off our hands, as stated 5 years ago players do not develop under Gregory,he has no coherent offensive philosophy. Miller again takes Dayton to NCAA with 24-6 record. 

Therut
Therut

Without Adam Smith we would have lost 25 games. What is my point? He is gone after this year. Plus, I can't stand the ISO MGH the last 4-5 min of a game.  Find the open man. Time for coach to go 


BCB
BCB

He sucks!

SizemoreBG
SizemoreBG

@ksugiuraajc we better not make another Hewitt-like mistake with Gregory's contract that would preclude us from firing him next year

RunnerKirk
RunnerKirk

I'm still amazed we are talking about the success of this season compared to previous, as if they had some fantastic season.  Let's be clear, they finished tied for 11th and 12th in a 15 team conference, were again under 500 in conference, and again won't make the NCAA tourney.  Yes, most of the times the guys seemed to play hard, and my understanding is the academics have radically improved.  Those are good.  But it is almost impossible to imagine next year's team not being quite a bit worse than this years--the one that came in 11th/12th in the conference.

gt51
gt51

oh yeah. what idiot hired a coach with such a strong northern accent?  sort of turns me off when i hear him talk.  we are in the south.  probably does the same thing for recruits, especially african american recruits which most of them are. 

GTBee
GTBee

Wasn't Cremona from the North?

gt51
gt51

fire him. i dont see an upside of keeping him.  his coaching is only slightly better than hewitts and his recruiting is much worse.  tech needs a coach who knows how to teach and mold players.  i get tired of watching ball when the other side is out coaching our side. its frustrating.  i don't understand why tech cant find a kid who can handle the ball.  i don't care how tall or short he is.  if he can dribble by 2 players what difference does it make. find the best ball handler in high school and bring him in. the kid that was on the last final 4 team was only 6'1 maybe. i know he would be a liability on the defensive end, but this team needs a good ball handler.  white, black, short, doesn't matter.  there are enough out there. i watch all of these mid level programs.  they have ball handlers.  they aren't going to the nba because they are only 6 ft, but they can distribute the ball. give one a scholarship. 

JRAZ447
JRAZ447

@JeffSchultzAJC with the transfers heading off after this season, one has to think the success of 2015-16 will decline slightly for 16-17