Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Timing is everything, as Georgia Tech keeps Brian Gregory


UPDATED: 3:15 p.m.

Brian Gregory is 19-51 in the ACC in four seasons as Georgia Tech’s basketball coach. That alone usually is enough to merit a firing.

But sometimes it's about more than the record. Sometimes, it's about money. Or timing.

Sometimes it's about money and timing.

Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski has decided not to fire Gregory, the school confirmed Monday. I can't say I blame him. Money, timing and Bobinski's expectation/hope/prayer that Tech can't possibly lose every close ACC game next season all were factors.

Here's a link to Ken Sugiura's early story, which will be updated later.

The money factor, most of all, couldn't be ignored. I referenced it here and here. Here's what Bobinski has been thinking about since Tech was bounced from the ACC tournament six days ago to conclude a miserable season (12-19, 3-15).

Paul Hewitt will make $1.65 million in next two years from former employers. (AP photo)

• FINANCES (PART I): The Jackets’ athletic department is on a tight budget, particularly in basketball. Former coach Paul Hewitt is still owed the remaining $3.6 million of his $7.2 million buyout, payable over the next four years in $900,000 installments. The school would be on the hook for another $2.4 million for Gregory's buyout over the next three years, including an installment of $1.075 million next season. So Tech's payout to two ex-coaches next season would be $1.975 million. That’s even before needing to pay an entire new coaching staff.

(Irony: On the same day Gregory was kept, Hewitt was fired from his latest job at George Mason. No rollover contract this time. But Hewitt will be paid approximately $750,000 for the balance of his deal, which means he'll make $1.65 million from his two former schools. We could all live with such unemployment benefits.)

• FINANCES (Part II): Gregory’s buyout decreases significantly after next season, so if Bobinski feels a change is needed, Tech will be far better equipped financially to look for a new coach. The Jackets likely wouldn’t have been able to land a coveted coaching candidate this offseason because of the circumstances and would’ve had to settle for a first-time head coach or a retread.

• GREGORY'S FORTUNES: This may shock but some folks think Gregory is a pretty good coach. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas has been among those to sing his praises. That said, Gregory obviously has to win more games – a lot more games. What Bobinski is counting on/hoping for is that the foundation Gregory has built by fixing the academic situation will pay off next season. And, also, that there will be some sort of a market correction after going 0-11 in ACC games decided by five points or less and in overtime.

Gregory has been given a reprieve. But he needs to make the most of it next season or he certainly will be out of a job.


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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.