In an e-mail, Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury gave donors and season-ticket holders a broad update on his search for a new coach Tuesday, saying the search process was ongoing.
Stansbury also addressed Tech’s invitation to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, a placement that disappointed players and fans who believed that the Yellow Jackets deserved to play in a more prominent bowl game.
It was part of a regularly scheduled communication to those constituent groups.
Since coach Paul Johnson’s decision to step down after 11 seasons, “I have been actively working to identify the very best fit for Georgia Tech,” Stansbury wrote. “That person will be someone who knows who they are, knows who we are, understands that Georgia Tech isn’t a “plug-and-play” situation and has a plan on how to be successful here. The only way to learn who best fits is through the interview process, which is ongoing.”
The only reported candidate thus far has been Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, a Tech grad and a teammate of Stansbury’s. Speculation has centered on possible candidates such as Temple coach Geoff Collins, Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key and Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott.
Stansbury said that there is “great interest in becoming the next football head coach at Georgia Tech.”
Regarding Tech’s placement at the Quick Lane Bowl, Stansbury said that two teams – Syracuse and N.C. State – were guaranteed to be invited to either the Camping World Bowl (which has the first pick of ACC teams after those in either the College Football Playoff or New Year’s Six games) or one of the four “tier one” bowls – the Belk, Pinstripe, Sun and either the Gator or Music City – by virtue of their 9-3 records.
Pittsburgh also was locked into a tier-one bowl by virtue of its Coastal Division championship. That left two tier-one bowls – the Belk and Pinstripe.
Based on the team’s 2-1 record against the other seven-win teams up for consideration and its second-place finish in the Coastal, “we felt that we should have received one of those two bids and we made that known to the league office and bowl reps,” Stansbury wrote. “However, at the end of the day, the Pinstripe Bowl chose Miami and the Belk Bowl chose Virginia.”
The full text of the e-mail:
Dear Georgia Tech community,
Wow – it’s been an eventful week, to say the least. I know from your emails, phone calls and social media that you have questions about our search for a new football head coach and the announcement that we have been selected to participate in the Quick Lane Bowl vs. Minnesota on Dec. 26. I will try to answer those questions in this space.
FOOTBALL HEAD COACH SEARCH
First and foremost, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to once again thank Paul Johnson for all that he’s done in his 11 years here on The Flats. He’s the winningest coach at Georgia Tech since Bobby Dodd, he’s led us to more first- and-second-place finishes in ACC divisional play (7) than every other program besides Clemson (9), Florida State (7) and Virginia Tech (7) and his players are graduating at an 86-percent clip (after the football program’s NCAA Graduation Success Rate had been as low as 48 percent prior to his arrival). I’m saddened that he will no longer be leading our football program but am happy for him to be able to spend more time with his wife, Susan, and his daughter, Kaitlyn, after 40-straight years of coaching. We are planning to have a public event to give everyone the opportunity to show our gratitude to Coach Johnson and his family – stay tuned for details.
Since Coach Johnson told me of his intent to step down last Wednesday, I have been actively working to identify the very best fit for Georgia Tech. That person will be someone who knows who they are, knows who we are, understands that Georgia Tech isn’t a “plug-and-play” situation and has a plan on how to be successful here. The only way to learn who best fits is through the interview process, which is ongoing.
While the search is ongoing, I know that there have already been media reports concerning this potential candidate or that potential candidate, and that those reports will continue throughout the process. While I don’t intend to conduct the search publicly, I do ask that you don’t put too much stock into the media reports – some might be accurate, but many will be inaccurate. I can assure you, however, that there is great interest in becoming the next football head coach at Georgia Tech and we will continue to work diligently to identify the very best person to lead our football program, compete for championships and develop and graduate young people who will change the world.
QUICK LANE BOWL
Let me start by saying that we are very happy to be going to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. While I understand that the date and distance from Atlanta are not ideal for many fans, there are a lot great benefits to being selected to participate in this bowl game:
- matchups play a big part in the national branding of a bowl and its participating teams, and the Quick Lane Bowl is the ACC’s only non-Tier One bowl game this year that features a Power 5 conference opponent in Minnesota from the Big Ten;
- it is played in a state-of-the-art NFL venue – Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions – and is guaranteed to have great weather on gameday (72 degrees and clear indoors!). Additionally, Ford Field is where our very own Calvin Johnson – who is being inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame tonight – became an NFL legend as a member of the Lions;
- the Quick Lane Bowl and the city of Detroit have an outstanding reputation for providing student-athletes and visiting fans with an incredible experience. We have heard nothing but good things about the experience from other schools that have participated in the Quick Lane Bowl;
- for those who can’t attend, a prime early-evening TV slot will allow us to showcase the Institute, our football program, our student-athletes and Coach Johnson’s career to the nation.
I know that there are a lot of questions as to how we wound up being selected to participate in the Quick Lane Bowl, based on our second-place finish in the ACC Coastal Division standings and the ACC’s publicized selection process.
First, let me assure you that our staff did everything that we could to campaign for the best bowl destination possible for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. We were in constant communication with the ACC and the respective bowl committees, and we stated our case for why we felt that one of the league’s “Tier One” bowls should select Georgia Tech.
Of the ACC’s five Tier One bowls (Camping World, Gator, Sun, Belk and Pinstripe), three were spoken for by rule – Syracuse and NC State (both 9-3) were guaranteed spots in Tier One bowls, as was ACC Coastal champion Pitt. That left five seven-win teams (Georgia Tech, Virginia, Miami, Duke and Boston College) vying for the remaining two spots. Based on our 2-1 record against the other seven-win teams in the mix and our solo second-place finish in the ACC Coastal, we felt that we should have received one of those two bids and we made that known to the league office and bowl reps. However, at the end of the day, the Pinstripe Bowl chose Miami and the Belk Bowl chose Virginia.
All of that being said, I’d like to reiterate that we’re very much looking forward to our trip to Detroit and the Quick Lane Bowl. We think it will be a great experience for our student-athletes and fans that are able to attend, and it should be a great game against a Big Ten opponent. For more information – including tickets and travel packages – click HERE to visit our Bowl Central page.
In closing, I’d like to also recognize women’s basketball head coach MaChelle Joseph, who notched her 300th win as a head coach when her team defeated Georgia State on Sunday. Congratulations to Coach Joseph, not only on her terrific career but a great start to the season for her Yellow Jackets, who are 6-2, including a win over nationally ranked Georgia.
As always, thank you for your support and happy holidays!
Together We Swarm,