Mike Bobinski won’t be leaving Georgia Tech in great shape (update)

Mike Bobinski was introduced as Georgia Tech athletic director in January of 2013 but he only stayed three years. (Jason Getz, AJC)

Mike Bobinski was introduced as Georgia Tech athletic director in January of 2013 but he only stayed three years. (Jason Getz, AJC)

Below is the original blog on athletic director Mike Bobinski leaving Georgia Tech to accept the same job at Purdue Tuesday. But for the completely updated column on the dysfunction that existed at Tech during Bobinski’s tenure, please click this link on MyAJC.com. 

(Original blog below)

Georgia Tech athletics director Mike Bobinski is leaving the school to take the same position at Purdue,  as first reported by our Ken Sugiura. Sometimes when a top administrator, general manager or coach leaves a program or team, the first response is, “How will they survive this?” but I’m fairly certain that won’t be the case here.

I never had any personal problems with Bobinski (OK, maybe a “spirited” interview or two centering on his relationship with football coach Paul Johnson.) But those who worked for him didn’t view him as either affable or engaging as his predecessor, Dan Radakovich. Georgia Tech athletics has gone through quite a bit of turnover of late, whether due to the struggling economics in the department or the relatively detached management style of Bobinski and/or the administrators he hired.

Tech coach Paul Johnson told Sugiura that the Jackets were “way behind” in terms of quality of facilities and staff. “If you look at the other schools, we’re probably behind in most every aspect, from facilities to staff to salaries to whatever.”

We may never know if Bobinski knew or cared about what some at Tech thought of him or the situation, or if this was simply a case of him wanting to return to the Midwest. He went to school at Notre Dame and was an athletic director at Akron and Xavier before being hired at Tech in 2013 when Radakovich left for Clemson.

Radakovich’s greatest accomplishment was getting facilities, and he hired Johnson, who had tremendous early success. Bobinski recently hired basketball coach Josh Pastner, a decision that some looked sideways at but I actually thought was a solid hire, given the financial circumstances at the school.

Tech’s administration needs to understand that the athletic department is not a well-functioning part of the university these days. The Jackets will never have the footprint or command the attention of Georgia but that doesn’t mean they can’t thrive. The current situation needs to be fixed.

Morale is as low as ever, according to insiders. One source said Bobinski’s nickname among Tech athletic employees was “Sasquatch.” Why? Because nobody ever saw him.

I’ll have more on this later on MyAJC.com.

UPDATE: Here’s a copy of the email sent to Georgia Tech athletics employees from Brett Daniels, the deputy director of athletics:

Georgia Tech Athletics Family,

I wanted to share with you that President Peterson spoke with Mike Bobinski earlier this morning and was informed that Mike has been offered and accepted the position of Director of Athletics at Purdue University. There will be a press conference this morning at 9 a.m. to make the official announcement.  Mike will be leaving Georgia Tech before the end of August.

President Peterson will announce transition plans as soon as possible.  The President will meet with all of us on Thursday to address the transition.  We will have a time and location for that meeting later today.

While the President is unable to join us today due to his travel schedule, he did express these thoughts on Mike’s time here at Georgia Tech to his cabinet:

“I regret that Mike is leaving The Flats, I appreciate his tremendous efforts the last three years to forge a unified, strategic direction for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association and to energize our coaches, student-athletes and fans.”

We all understand a transition of this nature is not an easy thing.  At the same time, we have a strong and talented group of people here in the Athletic Association dedicated to the success of our student-athletes.  While change is a constant with any organization, our focus will remain on our students.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our leaders with questions or concerns.

UPDATE: Here’s the official news release on Bobinski’s hiring at Purdue

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue President Mitch Daniels and Chairman of the Board of Trustees Michael Berghoff on Tuesday (Aug. 9) announced the hiring of Mike Bobinski as the university’s new director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Bobinski has held the same position at the Georgia Institute of Technology since 2013, as well as the University of Akron and Xavier University previously.

“Today’s announcement culminates an extraordinarily long and thorough process, befitting the importance of its subject,” Daniels said. “Purdue thanks a remarkable search committee, and our Board Chairman Mike Berghoff who led it personally. Together, Mike and I have logged many miles and hours looking for the best individual to build on the terrific 23-year record of our nationally admired AD Morgan Burke. His credentials, record, values and intensely competitive desire to win convinced us that Mike Bobinski is that person.”

Bobinski has 30 years of athletic management experience, with two decades of that as an athletic director. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1979 where he played baseball before becoming a certified public accountant. After working for five years with the Walt Disney Company and large accounting firms, he started his athletic administration career at Notre Dame in 1984.

“Mike Bobinski truly understands the lasting value of college athletics in preparing young people to experience success in competition, in the classroom and most importantly in life,” Burke said. “His values match Purdue’s, and I look forward to working with him and the athletics staff in what is my ‘senior year’ to hand the baton over in a smooth and seamless transition.”

At Purdue, Bobinski will lead a program known for its academic and athletic strength. Academically, student-athletes regularly outperform the general student body, having maintained an average GPA above 3.0 for 15 consecutive semesters. Athletically, Purdue has won three straight Governor’s Cups and jumped 15 spots last year in the national Director’s Cup to rank No. 45 out of hundreds of schools. Both the volleyball and men’s basketball teams finished in the top 25 of their sport’s final national polls, and three more teams placed in the top 25 of their respective NCAA championships (men’s indoor track and field, men’s outdoor track and field, and women’s swimming and diving).

“There is lots to like about Mike,” Berghoff said. “He is competitive and expects to win. He was a student-athlete, a coach and a CPA with career experience in both industry and universities with lofty academic and athletic expectations.”

The search committee, appointed by Daniels, included: Christie Sahley, associate dean in the College of Science and a longtime Faculty Athletic Representative; Stephanie White, 1999 Purdue graduate and current head coach of the Indiana Fever; Rod Woodson, former Boilermaker, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, and the Oakland Raiders’ assistant defensive backs coach; Purdue standout and NFL veteran Matt Light; Christa Szalach, a junior on Purdue’s soccer team; and Nancy Cross, senior associate athletics director.

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44 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

Bobinski and Rick Pitino....two a kind.

TideDawg
TideDawg

It's rare that an article by Bradley can be praised. He is right on about the Tech football program. Normally Bradley and Schultz are joined at the hip with negative reporting.

MikeS777
MikeS777

They need to find a guy who wants the job long term and preferably a Tech man.   He's going to have no choice but to ride out his predecessors decisions for a while, but will have to make some very tough decisions in the future.  In particular, how long to stay with the option in football?   Tech is eventually staring a likely painful process of returning to a conventional style of football.

One thing a new AD can do is a lot of the behind the scenes stuff like facilities and doing things to get more money into the program so that he can have the resource when/if he gets his own coaches in.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@MikeS777 You need to stay in dawgnation......I wouldn't want you worrying anymore about our "likely painful process of returning to a conventional style of football"......BBBBWWWAAHAHAHA!!!!!

TOJacket
TOJacket

@TideDawg @TOJacket @MikeS777 What is bitter about that.....that hack MikeS777 is so full of sheet it's comical!....Tech is fine, if I were you I'd worry about when one of your teams run will end...and the other one will start?.....LOL

swimfin2
swimfin2

Wasn't Paula Johnson around 3rd or 4th highest paid coach in the acc last year? Yet he's whining about salary? Are you kidding me? This coming off a 1 win season in conf. Looks like he's already making excuses for another dismal season. It's the salaries fault! Whatever.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@swimfin2 I believe he was talking about his asst. coach's professor.

GTBob
GTBob

@swimfin2 He was 5th. He is also the offensive coordinator.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket Thanks Vagina man...if you are a man?.......god I hope not, oh yea I almost forgot....GFY Ms. Landers.

slydawg
slydawg

Hire a good salesman that was a former athlete and put smart, experienced people around them.

slydawg
slydawg

Bottom line is, Bobinski does not have the pressure to build a strong and championship quality basketball and football programs at a strict, predominantly engineering institution such as Tech. Purdue, another engineering institution, does not have as passionate of fan base when it comes to athletics and will carry coaches with consecutive losing seasons.

Stinger2
Stinger2

I have been a fan of the Institute since the Jackets beat Baylor

in the 1951 Orange Bowl. I have seen many good and bad years.

At this point, I am never surprised at anything unexpected like this

happening. So be it. Go Jackets!

Ray Goff Anyone?
Ray Goff Anyone?

Not a Tech fan but you are better off without that guy. 

sgmock
sgmock

He vanishes like a blank in the wind. What a lateral move. Does not say much for us Yellow Jackets

CedricM
CedricM

he was paid hundreds of thousands---will leave the athletic dept in worse shape than when he started!! congrats!!!! it's only money!

Bogan
Bogan

I noticed where athletes sometimes outperform non-athletes in the classroom.  If this is the case with FB & BB, it really makes me think the athletes are either being GIFTED high grades, or are taking courses that are so easy even a caveman can get an A.  FB and BB players are not on average as academically gifted as "regular" students at top universities. 

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Bogan GT is not your average Institute of higher learning.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Bogan No grades are gifted at Tech......these Profs are research scientists.....they don't give a sheet about football or the player.

slydawg
slydawg

@Bogan academically gifted is the wrong term. try 'academically challenged', from the POV of FB and BB players. In that way, we are not assuming the average college student, to include Tech, is academically gifted. Most students with exceptional grades just work hard, follow all of the requirements, and do as they are told. It does not in anyway show them as 'gifted.'

Just Luvin Life
Just Luvin Life

It's time to hire a lifer! Someone that can rally the troops and get some of the big boosters back. It's time to buy out Paul Johnson and get all of the programs back on track!! I like Paul and his offense, but his style just doesn't work here.  

Coloradojacket
Coloradojacket

@Just Luvin Life  Paul Johnson is the style Tech needs.  He puts a competitive team on the field and holds nothing back.  Now if you read the AJC they want him gone because he doesn't fall in line as the coach behind whoever the coach is at Georgia.  That is why they liked Chan, he was no threat.  Two Orange bowls, three ACC championship games, name me a Tech coach since Dodd who has done this well.  If you say Bobby Ross, yes 1 great year but he also had 2 bad years and 2 very average years.

Coloradojacket
Coloradojacket

@OldBlindDawg @Coloradojacket  Read from Shchultz  "The Jackets will never have the footprint or command the attention of Georgia"  There is bias in that statement alone.  It can be argued that Tech has had more success on the football field than Georgia over the last 8 years and yes I know Tech is 2-6 over that period but many of those games lost have been ever so close.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

If "doing more" is winning two of 15--and you're happy with that--you're probably beyond help.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Winning two of 15 (or, for that matter, two of eight) would hardly be defined as "successful"--certainly not by anyone who has standards.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Coloradojacket

Don't change the subject; we were discussing GT's "success" vs UGA on the football field.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

It was a WIN, wasn't it--something I'm sure you'd be delighted to trade any of those 13 LOSSES the past 15 years for.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@DawgNole @TOJacket Well at least Paul has a winning record against your Noles........he does more with less huh mutt.

MikeS777
MikeS777

@Coloradojacket @Just Luvin Life Yeah the style you need of you want to end up with 6-7 win seasons, lose to basically everyone any good, and hope UGA doesn't have their act together or you'll get blasted like in 2011 and 2012.    Once every 5 years you might break that pattern like in 2014.

OK, well you may have to hope for more than that from UGA since Johnson has lost to Mark Richt's worst teams including the one that just got him fired.

And don't brag on ACC championship games when the 2009 team was loaded with Chan's recruits, and the 2012 team got in with 6 wins because Miami forfeited.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

You're about as bad as Colorado trying to get off topic, which was GT's "success" vs UGA on the football field.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

"You're," dummy!

All these years, and you still haven't figured that out?