Jeff Schultz

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

UPDATE: Tech expected to keep Brian Gregory another year


 

Georgia Tech is expected to keep Brian Tech as its basketball coach for at least one more season, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

Assuming this is true, it's not a huge surprise. As I've written over the past week , Tech owes former coach Paul Hewitt $3.6 million over the next four years from the balance of his $7.2 million buyout in 2011, and would owe Gregory $2.4 million if he is fired.

The Jackets are coming off a 3-15 season in the ACC and Gregory's four-year record is 55-71 (19-51 in the ACC). But athletic director Mike Bobinski apparently has decided to give him another year. Bobinski has fixed several off-court issues. If he can't improve the on-court product next year, the school will be in a better financial position to make a change.

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FROM EARLIER ...

Five thoughts while wondering if unemployment was meant to be as profitable as it will be for Paul Hewitt (see No. 2):

1. WAITING ON BOBINSKI: It's "Black Monday" for college basketball coaches. But still no word from Georgia Tech on the status of Brian Gregory. I spoke to somebody the other day who knows Georgia Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski pretty well. Their view: Bobinski is pretty deliberate and doesn't rush into any decision. So in that sense I guess it's not surprising that it has been six days since the Yellow Jackets lost their opening round game in the ACC tournament and Bobinski has yet to announce a decision. I've already written about the financial situation that makes firing Gregory problematic. You can read a blog here and a full column here. But there also are forces pulling at Bobinski for a new direction, mostly in the fan base. As of this morning, nobody seemed on high alert for a firing, but if this decision is Bobinski's alone, that's not surprising. Gregory still has three years left on his contract. If he's fired, Tech would owe him a $2.4 million buyout, with decreasing payments over the three years.

2. HEWITT'S W-2's: Paul Hewitt has been fired by George Mason. The former Georgia Tech coach went 46-25 (24-12 in the Colonial Athletic Association) in his first two seasons but only 20-42 (8-26 in the Atlantic 10 Conference) in his next two. There's some good insight in this blog on GMUHoops , and you'll notice some familiar themes here from his Tech job.

His roster management, something he mentioned was a problem at his prior coaching stint at Georgia Tech, was also an issue. He failed to recruit a point guard or for that matter, back court players that could compete at a high level. ... Hewitt also wasn’t the most likable guy among the fan base. He often blamed players in post game interviews and had a condescending tone when discussing losses. He was never all that energetic on the sidelines and did little to engage with fans. He asked me to put together a Q & A at Brion’s Grill only to lecture those who went about saying critical things about the program on social media.

But Hewitt will be just fine financially. His $7.2 million buyout of his rollover contract at Georgia Tech was negotiated to be received as annual payments of $900,000 over eight years (through 2019). He had one year left on his George Mason contract at $750,000. So he will be paid $1.65 million next season from his two former employers, regardless if he gets another job or not. Not bad.

3. SPEAKING OF FINANCES: Georgia State coach Ron Hunter received a two-year contract extension (through 2020) last year after the Panthers won the Sun Belt regular season championship. But after a second straight regular season and title and Sunday's conference tournament title, which comes with an NCAA bid, it's worth wondering if the school will need to give Hunter another salary bump. The deal currently calls for a salary of $425,000 this year, and $440,000 and $460,000 the two following, with a negotiating window in 2017. The other question about Hunter: Will he stick around at State, knowing his son R.J. Hunter Jr.'s eligibility is up? But first: an NCAA tournament game against Baylor, which Hunter will coach in a cast after tearing his Achilles in celebration Sunday.

4. THE JUMP FROM MID-MAJOR: Anthony Grant is the most recent example of coveted mid-major coaches who sometimes struggle at the next level. In three years at Virginia Commonwealth, Grant went 76-25 (45-9 in the Colonial) and reached two NCAA tournaments. He drew the interest of several programs and jumped to Alabama, where he made the tournament once in six seasons. His cumulative record: 117-85 (54-49 in the SEC).

5. PERFECT BRACKET ODDS: You have one in 9.2 quintillion chance to pick a perfect NCAA bracket. To be exact, the number is 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, which is 2 to the 63rd power. For more on this absurd math, see the video below from Business Insider . But all you really need to know is that the Final Four teams will be Kentucky (Midwest), Baylor (West), Iowa State (South), Virginia (East). Kentucky over Baylor, Virginia over Iowa State, Kentucky over Virginia.


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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.