Mike Bobinski’s official start date at Georgia Tech was April Fool’s Day 2013. On Aug. 9, 2016, it was learned that he’s leaving for Purdue. If the impression of Bobinski at the Flats was of a man who hadn’t really settled … well, maybe that impression wasn’t wrong.
In those three years, Bobinski grudgingly awarded Paul Johnson a new contract after the Jackets won the Orange Bowl. (That’s a contract the new athletic director won’t be happy to read.) In March, Bobinski finally fired basketball coach Brian Gregory and hired Josh Pastner, an unexpected move about which we can know little more today.
As AD, Bobinski went through several publicists — Wayne Hogan was pushed aside after one year, Dean Buchan after two — but it was uncertain whether subsequent hires ever yielded whatever it was Bobinski wanted. Because what Bobinski wanted wasn’t exactly clear. He spoke grandly of his vision for Tech athletics, but he said pretty much what every AD — save Dave Braine — had said: That the Jackets were striving only for the best.
In the cold light of hindsight, the unloved Braine stands revealed as a teller of truths. He famously averred that, at least for Tech football, inherent impediments existed that would keep the Jackets from achieving lasting greatness. More than a decade later, his evaluation has been revealed as truth. Tech has had some superb seasons, followed immediately by seasons rather less superb.
Some alums feared that, coming from non-football Xavier, Bobinski would care nothing for the only sport that matters. That was never close to being true. (He did, we note, graduate from Notre Dame.) That Bobinski didn’t settle — or, not to be mean about it, quite fit — had more to do with his temperament than his background.
A Tech AD needs to be visible and upbeat: Homer Rice was; Braine was not. Dan Radakovich, now the hostest with the mostest in Pickens County, S.C., was famous for answering every email and shaking every hand. In-house, Bobinski’s nickname was Sasquatch — because nobody ever actually saw him.
Radakovich left a legacy of building a bunch of stuff, of hiring Johnson and firing Paul Hewitt. (Given the size of Hewitt’s buyout, the latter might have been D-Rad’s greatest achievement.) I’m not sure there is a Bobinski legacy. He wasn’t around long enough to shape one. Having gotten to know him a bit — but only a bit — I can attest that he’s a smart guy. But now, 3 1/3 years after taking over on North Ave., he’s gone to West Lafayette, Ind.