It’s time for Tech’s Bobinski to say yea or nay on Gregory

Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory shouts to his team during the first half of against San Diego State in an NCAA college basketball game in the men's NIT on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Brian Gregory at work in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Mike Bobinski should have something to declare within days if not hours (or minutes). The Georgia Tech athletic director has maintained a resolute silence regarding Brian Gregory, saying he’d wait until the Yellow Jackets’ season ended. It ended Wednesday night, Tech losing to San Diego State — a tough team that’s really tough at home — by 16 points.

Confession: I’m not the greatest at reading Bobinski’s mind. I thought he’d fire Gregory a year ago. He did not. (Thought about it long and hard, however.) In a round-table briefing after the decision was made — we actually sat at a round table in Bobinski’s office — the AD told three media types he was looking for “clear signs of progress.” Then: “It’s not so much a number as a clear sign … and a belief in the future.”

There were clear signs of progress — on the court, in the here and now. Tech went 21-15 and 8-10 in the ACC after going 12-19 and 3-15. Tech was better than it had been in five years under Gregory. Nobody can dispute that. But then we come to the last bit: “A belief in the future.” That’s less clear.

Of the 56 points Tech scored against the Aztecs on Wednesday, 44 were by seniors. According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, the Jackets were the third-most-seasoned team in the nation. That’s a bit misleading, given that four of Tech’s five seniors didn’t start their collegiate careers here. (Three played only one year.) But still: In a game that keeps skewing younger, the Jackets had guys who’d been around for a good long while.

That got them to the NIT, the first postseason tournament Tech had graced since 2010. That’s not nothing, either. Neither is it all that much. The NCAA is every team’s goal. There are no Shining Moments in the NIT. It’s a consolation prize. After five seasons, the best Gregory could do was the tournament nobody remembers. (Quick now: Who won the 2015 NIT?)

Back to M-Bob: His reluctance to say anything — other than that he didn’t want to say anything — is striking. There was no statement of congratulations at the ending of Tech’s postseason drought. Me, I’d take that as a powerful indication this AD wasn’t overly impressed by the NIT. But I’ve been wrong before.

In Gregory’s best season, Tech finished in an 11th-place tie in its 15-team conference. It beat Virginia and Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, yes, but the Jackets under Gregory had beaten some pretty fair teams in other seasons. They just hadn’t done it often. After five years, they’re 75-85 and 27-61 in ACC regular-season play.

Tech’s strong finish this season might have complicated the issue, but only slightly. To me, it remains a clear choice. Had Tech reached the NIT semis in New York, that might have been a sticking point. But it’s a moot point. The season is over. Time for Bobinski to decide.

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29 comments
butchcat
butchcat

This is a similar challenge faced by the Illinois AD.  Basically, if you feel that something will eventually have to be done, DO IT NOW.  Five years has produced mediocre results, at best even in 2015-16.

Gregory will find a job in a non-Power 5 conference.  Time for Bobinski to make a move IF he has better replacement on the line like Illinois did.  Look at Virginia's success after hiring Bennett.  

DrTruth
DrTruth

GT BB's fate was sealed with Dave Braine's "perpetually-renewing" contract for Paul Hewitt.  This was the most insane and idiotic head coaching contract in the history of college (maybe ALL) sports, and there's not even a close second.  Years after Hewitt's replacement arrived on campus, that stupid contract is still limiting GT's options and flexibility.


Yes, Gregory is a FAILURE.  Anyone who says otherwise is ignoring the facts.  GT has lived in the bottom third of the ACC for all 5 of Gregory's seasons.  That is the very definition of being non-competitive.  The loss of 5 seniors means next season will be even closer to the bottom, the very bottom of the ACC.


So keeping Gregory means very little at this point.  Replacing Gregory also doesn't mean much UNLESS Bobinski has the $$$ and the cojones to do something truly spectacular.


There is no need to replace Gregory, as flawed as he is, with Gregory V2.0, thereby paying THREE coaches to coach & not coach GT BB.  If GT truly wants to compete in the ACC, Bobinski needs to hire an ACC caliber coach.  And there simply aren't many college BB coaches that can consistently recruit and compete in the ACC.


Bobinski now has a window to get his name on a future athletic building or field.  If the finances don't line up this year, then the window will still be open next year.  But when he does make a move, it needs to the hiring of a big name with a big record.  That won't come cheap, which brings us back to the stupid Hewitt contract that started all of this....

YellowJacket7879
YellowJacket7879

So here is the real business question.  When we chose Gregory it was because he was the best coach we could afford at the time.  If our goal is to become relevant once again, the question is whether we can afford it.  If so, then go shopping.  If not, I say stay the course at least one more year. 


I don't want to go looking for another coach on a bargain basement budget.  It needs to be somebody that can excite the recruits to consider Tech, if only we keep the local ones.

GTBob
GTBob

As a GT fan, its a bit depressing that winning two NIT games is somehow amazing progress that can erase 4 1/2 years of really mediocre basketball from the minds of fans. The guy is a mediocre coach and a poor recruiter.

Peachs
Peachs

I still say he was handicapped for some of that five years, by not having a home court to play on and ,more so, to recruit on.  The short timer recruit ,does not want to hear about what is going to happen, they want facilities now.


Carter transferring cost them the NCAA this year.  He has two years on this contract, he is a good guy ,if not a great coach, keep him one more year, see if he can coach under normal conditions and if not ,you got a year to see what is out there and make a better economic and planned out decision. 

GTBob
GTBob

@Peachs Gregory only had one year without a home court and that year he brought in his best recruiting class.

YellowJacket7879
YellowJacket7879

@Peachs And why did Carter leave?  Was the new facility not good enough for him?  No, that wasn't the reason. He made a well informed decision about where he thought he had the best chance to win.

buzzgolf14
buzzgolf14

Interesting but possibly unrelated ... Cullen Neal is transferring from New Mexico, and GT is on the list of schools he will talk to.  Not sure how that would impact Craig Neal coming as coach, or if we would want him - he had a year with no post season at UNM and appears to have mixed support there.  He has a previous NCAA appearance, I think.


Wonder if the fact that MBob has said nothing is some sort of tell.

DixieRoss
DixieRoss

Um, ya didn't know that a guy who's been crying about Gregory all year wasn't going to come out with an article about it again right after the season ends?  Really?  


I could go either way, like the progress this year, but I didn't necessarily see anything different from our coach, and openly wondering if most of the progress came more directly from the players.

Jm73
Jm73

Must be a slow news day, thereby prompting the AJC's standard default column: a call for another coach's job. Must feel pretty good that no one gets to make calls on the media. How do you like that job security and unaccountability, Bradley?

Domhob
Domhob

Bark Madly trying to get a coach fired so he can write about it.  He just wants to stir it up.  

FredinDeKalb
FredinDeKalb

While most fans only care about wins and losses, administrators also care about whether young men are making academic progress.  Without question, BG has done well in their eyes.


That said, I agree with RamblinRed, if buyout money is available, he goes.  If not, he stays.  If he goes, what kind of coach could GT afford?

ccrider27
ccrider27

In NCAA Div I football and basketball, it's really not how you coach or how your team plays. It's really about nothing but recruiting. Recruit the very top echelon of high school players, and everything else will take care of itself - over the long haul.

And since NCAA Div I football and basketball are really nothing more than minor leagues for their respective sports, top 10 high school recruits are looking at nothing but which college will give them the most exposure to NFL and NBA scouts.

So if you're a top 10 recruit and you have Brian Gregory on the line and Mike Krzyzewski's call starts coming in, what are you going to do? Right. Hang up on BG everytime. 

No Ga. Tech Bball coach is ever going to be able to overcome this equation. Ever.

The most a Tech coach can hope for (and the most the AD can expect) is to recruit one-and-done 2nd tier recruits and do the best possible job with the assets he has.

Bobinski can hire and fire bball coaches as often as he wants, but the facts above won't change.

Given those factors I was happy with the 2nd half of Tech's season. The players came together and finally figured out how to close out a game - and they closed out a couple of big ones.The first half of the season was just a bunch of new players who'd never seen each other before trying to develop some chemistry.


Oh yeah, and Tech left the NIT 3 days after Ga. I'd say it's all good. Keep Gregory. We should probably have kept Hewitt.


Swampcotton
Swampcotton

I certainly hope that Mike Bobinski gives Brian Gregory a chance to complete his contract with Georgia Tech and lead some talented young men to winning seasons in the very tough ACC.  Certainly Brian will have almost a new cast to forge into a competent team next year but I believe the results this year gives hope that he can do it.  As a basketball fan and a Tech graduate, I vote strongly for coach Gregory.

SaulK
SaulK

they need to fire him but tech's ath dept is too broke to pay millions in buyout cash and millions more for a new coach---they are stuck with him for another year or two!

Stinger2
Stinger2

Mark: Who is a better coach available now, that GT can pay with two buyout coaches to pay at the same time?

96JB
96JB

I'm a Dawg fan, but pull for Tech when it's not us.....Maybe the AD and the President need to answer what's going on over there athletic wise. I know the school has gone more multicultural over there and that means less students with a strong interest in the two main revenue sports, Football and basketball, but both programs seem to have taken a slide. I notice Tech bloggers talk about this also. I would think Atlanta would be a great draw. Maybe they could put in " friendlier" major to help attract better players. Football is not as surprising as basketball is though. We've got our own BB problems in Athens.

pzierolf
pzierolf

If Gregory had any pride he would admit his abject failure as coach negotiate a buyout and leave with some integrity

RamblinRed
RamblinRed

The only question you need answered to know what will happen is the following. 

Does he have $4MM to pay off the buyouts (Hewitt $2.7MM, Gregory $1.3MM)?

if he does then Gregory is gone, if he doesn't Gregory returns.


GTBee
GTBee

He's ahhhhh...... 27-61 in the ACC !!!  

GTBee
GTBee

Yea or Nay?  He should have been fired right after the ACC tourney!  An assistant could have coached the lowly NIT's (no one really cares about this tourney).  I would announce his firing today but he probably hasn't gotten back from the west coast yet.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Sometimes you're only as good as your last day.

Scottfor3
Scottfor3

I love BG, but he does not know how to reach TODAY's 18 year olds.  We need a HOT recruiter that can put a wall up around this STATE, especially with so much talent here.

UWreckMeBaby
UWreckMeBaby

With or without Gregory, what hope do we have for next year?Tadrick, Heath, Jorgenson, are all ballhandlers that don't drive into the paint enough and seldom score. They can feed Lammers, but Ben will be triple teamed, unless Q.Stephens is able to hit some outside jumpers with consistency. What do we know about anyone else? Only other player we've seen is Heyward. He has heart but is undersized. Unless CBG has some transfer/grad students lined up that have yet to be revealed, we suck again. Hopefully Gregory will be replaced with someone who can recruit better, and build for the future.

TruthSpeaketh
TruthSpeaketh

Nothing more than a Ra-Ra coach. His time is up. Pull the trigger Bobinski!

Parrish
Parrish

Hey will be retained.  Tech has no money to hire a new coach

HCCynic
HCCynic

@Parrish This may be the most honest assessment on the board and I am afraid that you may be correct

gorespapa
gorespapa

@MarkBradleyAJC I think it's time for "nay". He has built nothing. I don't think you can build consistency with transfers.