Kevin Liles-US PRESSWIRE
Whoever fills the vacant AD job for Georgia Tech is going to have their hands full in the short term. In the mean time all of the pressure falls on Paul Johnson and Brian Gregory.
Georgia Tech football seemed to be in shambles even before director Dan Radakovich bolted out of his office and up I-85 N to uphold the same position at conference rival Clemson University. Radakovich's exit was only a few days after the Yellow Jackets lost embarrassingly to BYU 41-17, a game in which there was an abundance of boos coming from the Tech faithful throughout the 4th Quarter. Now, with the school in search of someone to overtake the empty position, folks are wondering, discussing, and debating who the new director of athletics should be and what should be first on their agenda. However, at this moment, all the pressure resides on Paul Johnson's and Brian Gregory's troops.
Georgia Tech football is in disarray and with a 3-5 record on the season their 15 consecutive seasons of bowl eligibility is in jeopardy. Paul Johnson has already gone from hero to goat in his short tenure so far on the Flats. With accomplishing a win over state-rival Georgia and an ACC Championship title(yes I'm counting it) during his first two seasons on the Flats things looked on the rise. However, things have gone downhill rapidly for the master of the triple option as Georgia Tech has an abysmal 1-13 combined record in bowl games and against rivals Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami, and Georgia since the Jackets victory over Clemson in the 2009 ACC Championship game. Despite the awful numbers and the unraveling of the fan base, Johnson's job is safe for next year as he has a $10 million buyout if he was to be fired at the conclusion of this season, something the new AD will not even budge to think about. So as of right now the controls are in Johnson's hands. If the Ramblin' Wreck can turn the season around and just make a bowl game, that would be a positive ending for the season. If by some nature Johnson can garner a victory over the Georgia Bulldogs to end the season then he's all the sudden back in good vibes with Yellow Jacket Nation. Although, right now you'd look more stable predicting the Jacksonville Jaguars to win the Super Bowl as opposed to predicting a Georgia Tech victory over UGA on November 24.
The men's basketball program at Georgia Tech is going through an interesting phase at the moment. Last year was one to forget for the Basket Jackets as they finished in the cellar of the ACC and failed to score 40 points in three games, a quite remarkable feat. As you see, they are still feeling the hangover effects from the Paul Hewitt debacle. However, Brian Gregory is still implementing his system and trying to restore the program back to what it once was. Gregory is bringing in a top-20 recruiting class for the 2012-2013 season that includes premier center prospect Robert Carter. One other thing going for the Jackets for this season is they will have a permanent home, as they played their games last year at both Phillips and Gwinnett Arenas while the newly refurnished Hank McCamish Pavilion was being constructed. Gregory hopes the new enhanced $45 million home will lure in more fans to once again create a great environment and atmosphere inside the ThrillerDome.
The coaches can only do so much though and some of the pressure and responsibilities are going to fall on whoever the new Athletic Director will be. One thing the new AD will have to excel at is: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. Radakovich did his job with building new facilities and bringing Georgia Tech out of a financial hole. Now, the job of the new AD will be to put butts in the seats, and appeal to the community to come out to games and support the team. Jackets' Nation is hoping whoever is in charge of the new regime will creat a better marketing slogan than 'Fun on the Flats'. The next few months will be big for Tech, on one hand you have the improved fan-friendly basketball arena and on the other who have a quarterback of the future in Vad Lee that has the fan base excited. By the way, the home football schedule for the Yellow Jackets next year will feature games against Georgia Southern, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson, and Georgia. Looking at that schedule, it's easy to say that the marketing and advertising skills of the new AD will determine whether Bobby Dodd Stadium is a predominant home-field advantage for the Yellow Jackets or if the crowds will be embarrassingly in favor of the away teams.
Although Georgia Tech football and basketball has experienced dark days of late there's an easy way to get back to the top and become attractive again and it starts with rolling in some Ws. With that said, if Paul Johnson's squad continues to struggle down the stretch and Brian Gregory's team has a disappointing start to the season, the program will be in a complete mess and good luck hiring a decent AD with that to offer.