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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