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December 5, 2007

Georgia Tech's Coaching Search: "As the Nerd Turns"

UPDATE -- I just read Tony Barnhart's article. He's got all the same info I do basically. I feel like a douche for typing all that up. Just read his story. It's shorter and better written. His sources are higher up than mine...but it's the same info more or less.

To me, the most interesting coaching search in the country right now involves the rumors swirling around Georgia Tech. Sure, the Arkansas and Michigan searches are entertaining and drama packed, but you can't beat the dysfunction coming from North Avenue now.

I'd compare their search at this point to driving a car load of 5th graders around town while they argue about where they want to eat dinner.

Here's how things to this point (per sources):
    1. Tech's Athletic Director wanted Will Muschamp.

    2. Tech's athletic Board didn't want a Bulldog as coach because of fears that it would further "divide the fan base."

    3. Some of Tech's former lettermen apparently pushed UConn's Randy Edsall. Randy Edsall didn't want the job for a variety of reasons including the fact that he wasn't pursued aggressively by Tech's AD. Plus, the Syracuse job will likely open up next year. Edsall is a Syracuse grad.

    4. No one involved in the hiring process thinks that Chris Hatcher from GSU is experienced enough for the job. I find that interesting given that he's Will Muschamp's former boss at Valdosta State.

    5. Tech's Board is terrified of hiring Rick Neuheisel and his baggage.

    6. Because Tech's AD, Board and Former Lettermen can't agree on a candidate, they may pick the guy none of the really want. Paul Johnson.

    7. Paul Johnson already makes approximately $1.5 million per year. Chan Gailey only made $1 million per year. (That's PJ in the image above)

    8. SMU is aggressively pursing Johnson, and they are fully prepared to get into a bidding war with a Tech program saddled with debt and a $4 million buyout to Gailey. Duke is also pursuing Johnson which won't affect his final destination, but it may affect his asking price. SMU's war chest for this hire now exceeds $10 million according to the Dallas Morning News.

    9. John Tenuta may get the job if the Johnson deal falls through. In fact the AJC says that Charlie Strong and Chris Hatcher are no longer viable candidates as neither has gotten a second interview.
If I were to take my red and black glasses off for a minute, I would make the following observations....First, if you don't trust your Athletic Director to make a quality hire, then you've got the wrong athletic director. I expect that DRad will leave at the first available opportunity in the wake of not being able to hire his man.

Secondly, how on earth is Will Muschamp a more qualified candidate than Charlie Strong? Compare their resumes. Both have national titles, and Charlie has been a DC for longer under a more diverse and interesting collection of head coaches including Urban Meyer, Steve Spurrier and Lou Holtz. Strong also has more SEC titles.

If I put my Bulldog Glasses back on, I'd say "HIRE TENUTA NOW!" Best possible out come from all of this. Bonus: Tech hiring a coach with a mullet would be spectacular. Bring on Fighting Tenutas.



PDW said...

Tech is fouling this up in a big way. Muschamp over Hatcher? Nobody wants Johnson? Hell, Johnson is the only scary name they've brought up...

Looks like we'll be getting that 8th win a row, tying their record and having very good prospects for 9 straight.


Senator Blutarsky said...

FWIW, my one Tech source claims that Johnson was the first choice at the beginning of the process, that PJ let it be known that he was interested in the job... and that there was a question from the start about whether Tech would pony up the bucks necessary to make it go.

That Dallas newspaper article may have understated the total worth of Johnson's compensation at Navy.

all school said...

Is it the GTU Athletic Department, or the GTU Department of Schadenfreude Fulfillment for UGA Fans?

It's ironic that a program whose symbols include a dilapidated and recently wrecked car from the Great Depression is currently becoming a figurative train wreck. Didnt D Rad (stand by for the release of his new hip hop album "D Rad: Da Coachin' Search") learn anything from those callow nerds with the runaway trailer last summer? Some ships of state can't handle high speeds and sudden shifts too well, either.

The only way this ends up any better from a UGA standpoint is if they rehire Bill Lewis. Or Bill Fulcher. Or Bill Curry. Or Bill Brasky.....unless they hire Lou Holtz.

D Rad (word) is probably feeling like Leonardo DiCaprio in the last few frames of Titanic about now. The ship be sinkin', the lifeboats are full of rich guys saving themselves, and his skin is turning bluer by the second.

It's going to be a very merry Christmas, indeed.

Paul Westerdawg said...

Blutarsky - I've heard PJ makes closer to $1.8 million, but I couldn't find a link to verify that

Paul Westerdawg said...

They are basically going to have to pay PJ...."Mark Richt Money."

They'll have to get to $2-2.5 million. If they pay their coach what CMR makes and don't get CMR Results, it'll be even harder to swallow.

I'm pulling for SMU on this one. Tenuta would be a riot.

all school said...


Tenuta WOULD be a riot. He's basically Chan Gailey without the head coaching experience, the personal warmth, and the gentle good humor.

In other news, have you noticed that former next John Wooden nominee Paul "Coach Corvoisier" Hew?tt is rapidly falling out of favor on North Ave? If GTU loses to UGA in January, look for the always loyal GTU fanbase to turn on him faster than Ralph Friedgen can inhale a Flo's Filet at Longhorn.

strick9 said...

I'm glad to hear that Hatcher is out of the mix. I hope he stays @ Southern for a few years and wins some national championships. Then he will be able to name his price at a school better than Tech.

I don't understand why Strong is not already a head coach. Seems to me that a good defensive minded african american coach would do well in Atlanta.

If I were the AD at Tech, I would be furious that I couldn't hire the guy I wanted. Tech will screw this up royally.

Jasper said...

More and more it's looking like George O'Leary is coming back. He has an MD, PhD and and a JD from The University of Phenix (City) and the paper to prove it. Tenuta is as overrated a DC as Tech's academic standards so why not give him the job if O'Leary's credentials aren't up to snuff.

Dante said...

The nerds in a bidding war with SMU? What's sad is that I think SMU might be a better job right now. Reasonable expectations, tons of cash, free reign to do just about anything he wants? Johnson could be a legend in Dallas if he can just get SMU into a bowl. And SMU's offensive talent might be good enough to get them there already if their defense can pick up a little slack and tackle people on occasion. If I were Tech, I'd seriously reconsider trying to woo Johnson. If they try too hard, they'll look like a joke to other candidates when the Pony Express runs them over.

Anonymous said...

Tech's big boosters felt that Charlie Strong's complexion would attract too many athletes to their Management program rather than their flagship Engineering program.

stick jackson said...

Being an AD who doesn't have the power to hire coaches is like .. like ... well, Paul tries to keep it clean and no family friendly metaphors come to mind for how gelded that is.

Looks like a real train wreck. I do not think it would be fun to play a PJ-coached Tech team every year, so here's hoping the political situation and the lack of funds keeps them on the road to Tenutaville.

ChicagoDawg said...

This is a sinful amount of fun. I mean, this is off the charts, more than we could have hoped for and better than we deserve kinda fun. Watching the Nerds divide up into splintered factions over who will further drive their once proud (1950s and earlier era) program into the ditch. I can't decide which is rendering more pleasure, watching their pool of potential candidates dwindle down or watching the Nerds engage in an all out internecine food fight. DRad has to be asking his wife to kick him the nuts on an hourly basis so as to distract him from the pain and the existential meltdown that he must be in right now as he ponders what might have one been a promising career in Collegiate Athletics. He finds the coach that meets his criteria and would appeal to the younger Worlds of Warcraft segment of the fan base, only to be trumped by the old guard, entrenched Dungeons & Dragon faction who would rather continue their rich tradition of being annually gang-raped by UGA, if it means that the alternative is to hire an former Dawg.
Hang-on folks, this could be racing towards 51-7 territory on the laugh-a-minute scale.

Tommy said...

As a side note, when and how did Charlie Strong become so radioactive? I've never understood why he hasn't become an HC by now.

spdawg said...

in other news Terrence Moore is still an A-hole.

MaconDawg said...

Stick, I think the family friendly metaphor you're looking for was snatched by Bill Parcells when he was in New York and said "If you want me to cook dinner you have to let me buy the groceries."

I posted on the Barnhart article today too, and I think SMU may be a better job. Lower initial expectations and more money. Plus the ceiling for success is higher. SMU has plenty of wealthy alumni in Highland Park and throughout the state who will stroke a check in a heartbeat if you give them a reason, and you could build a darn good football team on the guys Texas, Oklahoma and LSU just don't have room for (unless of course you're Dennis Franchione).

The only problem will be managing expectations long term. But that's a lot easier to do for 2.5 million a year than 1.8 million.Eventually the SMU folks will want to be back in the Cotton Bowl, but that's a long ways away.

Dawg19 said...


I take it that Terry Bowden is no longer being mentioned...

Doug said...

Since I'm apparently the Purveyor of Useless Trivia for the day, I would like to point out that Paul Johnson is currently the highest-paid federal employee in the country -- yes, by a big margin over the president or VP. Look it up.

With that in mind, I think it's unreal that Tech is likely to end up in a bidding war with SMU for Johnson's services, and downright mind-blowing that they may very well be outgunned.

Imagine this scenario: SMU offers Johnson big money; Radakovich wants to match it, but the "old guard" balks; Johnson goes to Dallas, and GT has to settle for Tenuta; and Radakovich, infuriated by the whole miserable process, busts tracks for Baton Rouge the minute Bertman retires.

Tech could very well be on the cusp of turning into the pre-Jim-Grobe version of Wake Forest. The mind boggles.

Will said...

Let's face it, even Tater Tot wants more than a million per year...

Plus the lack of female coeds to drukenly "make friendly conversation" with on campus is a factor.

Groo said...

D-Rad will likely be first in line when Skip Bertman steps down in 2008 to become athletic director emeritus at LSU.

Jason said...

The NATS, as a friend of mine just said, are beginning to look more and more like the Fredo of college football.

I love it.

Hobnail_Boot said...

Does this mean next time we play Tech, the Calvin circle will constantly follow Tenuta up and down the sideline?

I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

PJ would be bad news for us. He is a proven winner.

Anonymous said...

Muschamp, a DGD, deserves a better fate than walking the sidelines of Historic Grant Field the next several years. I wouldn't even wish the purgatory that is Tech on Quincy Carter.

Dubbayoo said... Radakovich told Charlie Strong he wants a guy with head coaching experience but Muschamp, who also has no HC experience, was his first choice?

So in other words Strong was given an interview just for political correctness...

stick jackson said...

That's it Macon, except Parcells was pushing for a power most coaches don't have, and that most have screwed up when they have had it.

When you're the AD but you don't have the juice to hire a coach -- especially your first coach -- what are you, exactly? Certainly not the leader of the athletic department.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Tech can just hold out for a year until Charlie Weis becomes available...

cltDawg said...

dubbayoo - don't forget about Tenuta, a wealth of HC experience himself. So yes, he was the "token", as they say.

Uncle ('60 GTU Grad) is going bananas right now. Says he is done with the Athletic Department over this. He can't believe they aren't throwing the whole endowment at CPJ.

C. Paul said...

One of my best friends is a Techster and he is apoplectic right now. More for the PR hit they are taking. I mean, being outbid by SMU and Duke?

The Muschamp thing is what is going to end up dividing the fan base there. To know that your AD did his due diligence and presented an proposal that got declined by a President too scared to challenge the old guard boosters is how they got in this pickle.

Oh and Hewitt, as posted above, is starting to realize that you need to win some games not just hold slick press conferences.

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...

The Dawgs need our help in SI's fictional playoff.

Go load up the Dawgs with votes to beat Oklahomo!

skidawg1985 said...

I cannot figure this out.
1) What goes on in those interviews anyway?
2) Tech not interested in Strong since he has no HC experience, yet seem to be interested in Muschamp? And Tenuta for that matter--although in looking at Tenuta's resume, he is an impressive candidate albeit he does not seem to have the personality they are seeking.
3) As for this personality thing, I think that is a bit bogus as long as you are not stupidly rude to the alumni and the people who call into the radio show (most of whom are idiots it seems) like Jim Donnan, if you are winning and not getting the team on probation or on the police reports, the fans will be fine with you.
4) As for Paul Johnson's salary, according to He may not be a federal employee at all. Johnson may be an employee of the non-profit foundation. Regardless it is nice money.

Your Worst Nightmare said...

Now that PJ is the new Tech head coach, hopefully all of you will go back an read you inane posts in this thread. No wait. Read them in 12 months when you have just lost to Tech by 40. Without your own refs, you would have lost the last two.

ACM said...

OMG! Paul Johnson! 40 pts!
Seriously, you think Paul Johnson is our worst nightmare? When you go up against the Meyers, Sabans, Tubervilles and Spurriers of the world, Paul Johnson isn't exactly terrifying anyone.

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