Update: Tech hires Josh Pastner. Does the ACC tremble – or snicker?

Josh Pastner: Bound for the Flats? (Getty Images)

Josh Pastner: Bound for the Flats? (Getty Images)

Update: The AJC’s Ken Sugiura is reporting that Georgia Tech has hired Josh Pastner.

Josh Pastner was a wunderkind. He was considered the smartest guy on Arizona’s bench even when he was a freshman walk-on, and all Arizona was doing back then was winning the NCAA title. His first job as a head coach was a great one — Memphis, only a year removed from playing for the national championship — and he was 31. He hit the ground flying, if that’s possible. He averaged 26 wins over his first five seasons and made the NCAA field four years running.

If Georgia Tech had tried to hire Pastner three years ago, most among would have stood and cheered. Today the cheering is emanating from Memphis, which has seen its proud program slip into mediocrity. The Tigers have gone 18-14 and 19-15 the past two seasons, not good enough for even the NIT. The school’s president and athletic director issued a statement saying the team “has fallen short in our on-court performance.” When the bigwigs get antsy, your status as wunderkind has officially expired.

I can’t say I saw Pastner-to-Tech coming because I never considered him  a realistic candidate. Hire a guy who’s under pressure elsewhere? Isn’t that what Pittsburgh just did with Kevin Stallings? Has anybody stopped laughing about that?

We’ve asked over the last few weeks just how good a job Tech is, and the answer must be, “Not very.” We know Bryce Drew chose Vanderbilt over Tech. We know Jeff Capel removed his name from consideration. with Pastner coming, we know Tommy Amaker and Chris Holtmann aren’t. I’m guessing at least a half-dozen folks had to say no before Pastner got a call.

And I don’t understand it. Tech plays in the ACC, is based in the A-T-L and shares a city with a passel of gifted recruits. (To be fair, Pastner made his reputation as a demon recruiter for Arizona after graduating from college in 2 1/2 years.) If you’re the rest of the ACC and he’s coaching Tech, do you feel threatened? Do you believe a sleeping giant has awakened? No? Can’t blame you there.

Clearly Pastner wasn’t Mike Bobinski’s first choice. That won’t matter if the coach recruits well and wins big, but what’s the likelihood of the latter happening? I’m sorry to say it, but this seems a hire doomed to fail. What makes it worse is that Tech just fired a guy who, even on the day he arrived, never seemed capable of winning all that much — and I liked the Brian Gregory hire better than this.

It’s a lot easier to win big in the AAC, or American Conference — and Pastner never managed that; his biggest winning was done in Conference USA before Memphis moved — than in the bulked-up ACC. Granted, he’ll have the chance to prove all us doubters wrong. But honesty compels me to say that he wouldn’t have been my first pick — or my 10th. I really don’t get this one.

Reader Comments 0

118 comments
Jmonty1971
Jmonty1971

Truth be known... It looks like the AD panicked, drew straws and got whatever they could get.  Now... That does not mean that this won't work out to be something great.   I don't think any ACC teams are trembling.  The coach has 0 respect, right now, in the ACC.  He needs to make his mark.  They always say, 3rd time is a charm.  Let's see if that saying is right. 

wreckbone
wreckbone

I don't see how you liked the Gregory hire better than this. I don't see the Dayton is great mentality. I like the fact that he wants to compete at the highest level. That is what we need. He's coming from a better school than Hewitt or Gregory. It's better than I thought. And it's not like the others were magical. I like duke but Amaker and Capel both had issues at their large schools. Remember how were destroyed Michigan in 05...Amaker's Michigan. I think its about as good as we could do. I'm more excited about this guy than Gregory.

Peachs
Peachs

Part of the problem here is the press.  There is one program in Georgia, and that is the football program in Athens.  The Dawgs were smart, they had a southern gentleman for years, in Dan McGill, selling the product, while Tech always had a more northern spin, which never took hold with the local press, like Dan and Athens, the home of the journalism school, did. 


You need to make this a organicly exciting, a place to come watch something the rest of the country is talking about, if not Atlanta, or Georgia. Hard to do in football country, but only if you treat it that way.  


Bobby, might have been a New Yorker, but he dressed and acted like one of us.  He learn that from, his mentor,Frank McGuire, who won the first National Championship in UNC, in '57. 


If I were a young coach I would love a job like this, the challenge is what has been done wrong, make it right and you can have a lot of fun, not near as much pressure from our press as other places.  You will be in the final four before they realize you have a team. 

Caius
Caius

I recall years ago when Duke hired a young coach from Army with a 73 - 59 record. " Army ain't the ACC and he will fail because he cannot recruit for big time basketball. Bad hire."

Thus spaketh the experts and the fans.

And he started out 17 - 13, 10 - 17 and 11 - 17 adding fuel to the fire. But then a 24 - 10 in his 4th season as Duke coach.  Then fans and experts said "well maybe..."

Thirty-six years and 5 national championships later Mike Krzyzewski can be said to have been a good hire despite the 262 losses (and 970 wins if that matters).

The moral of the story is no one knows what the hell they are talking about when evaluating coaching hires.

 

 

Peachs
Peachs

@Caius especially the SEC football mob, which are just trying to put out a paper, until football is back. 

wreckbone
wreckbone

@Caius I agree.  And I'll take the kind words from Lute Olson and Calipari.  Both of them know a little bit about what it takes to win at this game......

TOJacket
TOJacket

Man I just saw a post by the long winded "Thomas Brown"...........He must be jumping on that big culture change in Athens!........Attack the day!

Al Bolden
Al Bolden

To Georgia Tech fans, I hope Pastner does better for you than us. He was not the right fit for our program. There is a Commercial Appeal article featuring an interview of Shaq Goodwin (one of the few that stayed his whole 4 years, despite rumors of leaving), former high school All-American from Decatur, GA. He was All-Conference this year. He tells how it has been with Pastner. Now grant you some of those players needed to leave (about 12 transferred throughout his tenure with about 8 of them occurring the past 2 years). This article will give you a glimpse of things that happened in his tenure here from a player's perspective. The link is below.



http://www.commercialappeal.com/sports/tigers/basketball/shaq-talks-goodwin-reflects-on-bittersweet-relationship-with-pastner-state-of-program-and-more-2f467-374172181.html

Durud Smims
Durud Smims

@Al Bolden Wow, what a trainwreck. The guy who stays four years basically says Pastner is a crap coach. Too bad Bobinski can't read.

Peachs
Peachs

@Al Bolden I think what you got was Calpari winning the national championships at Kentucky and your kid coach not so much.  


I love in these discussions, how it is never written how JC wreaked the Memphis program by cheating, and barely got out of town, before the sheriff came. 

DawginLex
DawginLex

@Peachs @Al Bolden  LULZ. Rose got someone to take the test for him. How is that Calipari's fault? Camby hired an agent. How is that Calipari's fault. All you holier than thou blowhards have been predicting Kentucky would get the death penalty. How many years now? SEVEN. Not happening sport. Wondering how supersize is justifying this hire since JP is a Calipari disciple???

Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB
Gr8_2B_aFuzzyB

@Al Bolden I guess we'll see if Pastner has grown as a coach and learned from his experiences.  To be anointed HC at 31 and following Calipari, that's a lot of pressure on a new coach.  Not just a new coach but basically a first time head coach.  So yeah, I'm sure he felt a lot of pressure and I'm sure he made some mistakes in how he channeled that pressure.  


He has none of that pressure hanging over his head at GT.  No big shoes to fill.  Bobby Cremins was great but that was a different era.  I'm sure Pastner isn't perfect, but he is a very smart guy and hopefully he will learn from the past and perhaps handle some things differently now that he's 38 and has 7 yr of head coaching experience under his belt.

Rocker2112
Rocker2112

Mark Bradley is Love with KIrby-not-so-Smart. Every time the man Sneezes Bradley Praises him. Bradley has always Hated Tech and that is all I have to say about that

Peachs
Peachs

@Rocker2112 Bradley is always in a car load of writers heading to somewhere, and that group is saying," such and such".  That is why he never liked Spurrier, the carpool was against Spurrier, mainly because Steve called them stupid, which most of them were,and Bradley is the ultimate groupie sports writer. 

Rocker2112
Rocker2112

Mark Bradley and the AJC are and always have been pro UGA. When Tech destroyed South Carolina the front page story the next day is the AJC sports section was about some former UGA player Getting a Speeding Ticket That says it all

pga96
pga96

Given how badly the Tech basketball brand has eroded over the last 20 years (the 2004 finals appearance, while great, was clearly an outlier), it's not like we could have had our pick. At this point, I'll gladly take someone who can restore some stability and continuity to the program via top notch recruiting -- even if it means taking someone fans of another program may have tired of.

The rap on Pastner is that though he can recruit with the best of them, he's not an Xs and Os guy.  Let's not forget that this tag applied to Cremins as well -- and his tenure worked out very well for Tech.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@LifesaPeach guess the SEC was skeered!.......kind of like the way dawgnation is spinning stories about how good UNC is going to be in football.....what a way to start the season.....with a loss to the ACC? Got to get Coach Kirby's excuses ready.

ccrider27
ccrider27

Bradley (and all the rest of you) called for Brian Gregory to be fired and you got your wish.


This is the replacement you got.


Next time be a little more careful what you wish for.

GTBee
GTBee

@ccrider27 Anything is better than Gregory.  He was like 27-80 in the ACC games fool!!!

Sam Science Girl
Sam Science Girl

This is a HORRENDOUS hire. Again, Josh is a good guy but has no idea how to run a D1 program. There is literally no chance that this will work out well. Whoever hired Josh should be fired, this is gross negligence.

GTBee
GTBee

@Sam Science Girl Lol and Gregory who won about 20 ACC games in 5 years was a good coach?  Change breeds optimism.  Not sure what happened in your lift to make you so negative and bitter.  Maybe you should be a UGA fan!

RBR
RBR

Someone needs to pay that search firm $70K to find a replacement for Bobinski.  This guy has doomed himself with this hire.  This hire makes absolutely no sense unless you actually think you can win with straight up recruiting, and no coaching, chemistry, or with a level head.  I cannot believe this hire and I think it's time to pull back the donations.  I'd rather throw my money to support a preacher who needs a private jet, than to support this clown.  Just kidding... I meant "this coach".  


LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@RBR Are you a little daft or just dense?

Look at this hires record and get back to

us genius!! By the way, he coached at Memphis!!!

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

Bradley is only sorry because he knows this guy will turn

GT to the Bobby Cremins era.. What a great hire by Bobinski

and we look forward to ACC titles and post season tournaments!!

lexiebaxter
lexiebaxter

This looks like a total disaster. I hope I am wrong. Craig Neal or Ron Hunter would have been better choices. I hope I am wrong. I like the idea of bringing Mark Price in here as the AD.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@lexiebaxter You are really off.. Sounds like you aren't

much of a GT fan.. This guy is a winner and GT will

be a winner..

lexiebaxter
lexiebaxter

This looks like a total disaster. I hope I am wrong. Craig Neal or Ron Hunter would have been better choices. I hope I am wrong. I like the idea of bringing mark Price in here as the AD.

slydawg
slydawg

All Tech has to do is keep him around for 3 years, give him a short, affordable extension, and cut bait in 2019. By then, he'll be the only coach left on the books, the next hot thing will come along, and then you make your play.

slydawg
slydawg

However, there is a small possibility that he may do well at Tech, or at least, better than Gregory, which I think is all Bobinski is hoping for.

DaveB19872004
DaveB19872004

Getting rid of Pastner was like Danny Ferry dumping Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams.  No one thought it could happen, and when it did, there was jubilation.  The Memphis message board has lit up like the 4th of July in approval.  We went from one of the best coaches (Calipari, who took us to the Elite 8 three years in a row) to somebody who can't coach (Pastner)  and to whom a dumbass AD and School president gave a contract extension with a 100% multi-year salary buyout that no school in a non-Big5 conference could afford.  Thank God for Tech!  Now it's time to get back to playing real basketball.

Dirtyb8
Dirtyb8

@DaveB19872004 Memphis will always be irrelevant with or without a good coach. Sorry for your shitty school.

GTBee
GTBee

Seriously? Snicker? Grow up. That is just down right rude. And because others may not be interested doesn't mean it isn't a great job. It is. Atlanta. ACC. GT steeped in tradition. A great academic school. Get over yourself Mark. This was immature - even for you. THWG.....and Clemson too!

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@GTBee Look at it this way, what coach would want

the UGA job and play out of Clarke County. None

of any consequence, none!!

ChiefNocahoma
ChiefNocahoma

I for one think it's a good sign if Mark doesn't like the pick.  Wouldn't we all be thinking it was the kiss of death if he approved?  I'm old enough to remember a column back in 1996 when after two games of the world series he wrote that the Braves were the second coming of the 27 Yankees.  How did that turn one turn out for us?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@LOGS1973

You keep ignoring the past two years, which obviously are the most important two.

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@DawgNole @LOGS1973 They are no more important than the first five! Four NCAA tourney's

and an NIT invite 5 years in a row!1

LOGS1973
LOGS1973

@ChiefNocahoma No one really cares what Bradley thinks.

I think it is Bradley who is trembling as he notes the

record of Pastner over the past six years. An average of winning 24 games a year.. GT is coming after the

ACC and I think Bradley can already sense it, if he

doesn't like the thought!