New Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner is not much for idle time. As a walk-on at Arizona, he graduated in 2 ½ years without AP credit or summer school, he said. He took 33 credit hours in his fifth semester to complete his degree before going on to earn his master’s by the end of his first semester of his senior year, he said.
“So I’ve always been a driven guy,” he said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Pastner doesn’t golf, finding the four or five hours spent on a course to be an unproductive use of time. He wants his assistants to believe the same.
“My first question to anyone I (might) hire is, ‘Do you golf?’” Pastner said this week. “If they say, ‘Yes,’ you can’t work for me, because that means five hours on a Sunday or on a Saturday. Can’t. Don’t want it. That’s for my assistant coaches. Any of my assistant coaches, if they’re golfers, not working for me.”
There’s a lot to be said for golf, or recreational activity in general. Among other things, it can be useful to clear the mind and spend time with friends or family. Other coaches, notably North Carolina’s Roy Williams, have managed to find time for golf while still running successful programs. And even Pastner acknowledged his non-stop approach has its flaws. He said that, when he’s at home, he is often thinking about work and not completely engaged with his family.
“It’s not always the best way to be at times, because you just go and go and go, but that’s just who I am,” he said.
He shared the story of how he missed his high-school prom to spend the night in a gym working on his game, an example of the driven mindset that led him to be tabbed a prodigy coach and the head coach at Memphis at 31 and on his second job, at Tech, at 38.
And, to be clear, Pastner wasn’t saying that an assistant coach can never be seen on a golf course ever again. Regardless, those who play regularly will have to find work elsewhere.
“I know there are going to be some fund-raising (golf events) you’ve got to drive around, but I couldn’t handle five hours,” he said. “I couldn’t handle it and I wouldn’t want my staff to do it, either.”