Mike Bobinski’s legacy at Georgia Tech: There isn’t one

Mike Bobinski hasn't yet waved goodbye to his basketball coach. (Jason Getz/AJC)

“Hasta la vista, folks.” (Jason Getz/AJC)

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.

Reader Comments 0

26 comments
RBR
RBR

Don't know about you all, but this is a big blessing in disguise.  Bobo was not the right fit or need for GT, so now we get to try again, but without paying any penalties or buyouts.  

CoachB
CoachB

Though not a fan of the north Avenue trade and HVAC repair school, I do hope the Nats will find an AD who cares about sports as much as academics. Kidding aside, the Georgia Tech family deserves better. Always strong academically, Georgia Tech has as much athletic potential as any school in the ACC. From an old UGA alum, here are my wishes for hiring an AD who will share CPJ's desires to be great in athletics and academic pursuits...with the exception of a few football, baseball, and basketball games each year...

JohnMJonespe
JohnMJonespe

Very good comments except for the suggestion that Tech doesn't care about athletics.  There are a lot of alumni who care, and are frustrated with losing or average seasons.  Paul Johnson may be a good coach with an outdated offense, but in order to recruit quality athletes, we need some changes.  Tech's academics should be an asset, not a deterrent.

Dawg^2
Dawg^2

Changing the personnel will not fix a broken system, the system has to be changed (you Tech guys know that).  GT is all about the academics, which is great, but when you become largely irrelevant in Atlanta and Georgia and your students come from out of state and out of the country, you will not have a loyal following.  I remember when John Dewberry beat Georgia 2 years in a row when I was a UGA student; that was a rivalry.  I went to high school with John and had many friends at Tech, but now Tech seems invisible in this city (and I live in the City and own a company in Midtown, my last office was across the street from Tech Square and I saw no student enthusiasm for sports).  I actually accidentally ended up watching Tech's national championship basketball game at the Tech Bookstore in Tech Square, me and two tech students and nobody cared. If GT would commit to the state of Georgia, it would show in its athletic programs.  I believe, though, that ship has sailed, and Tech will be a great national/international engineering school, but forgotten in its own backyard.

StillBill
StillBill

@Dawg^2 Hey dawg-  No GT student who cared would have been in the bookstore when the team was playing for the national championship.  Every school (even uga) has some students who don't care.  


You have some legitimate points, but I question your story.  Is the B&N GT bookstore open that late at night?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Dawg^2 What a load of horse sheet!!......thanks for your concern but we can do without you and the other trailer dwellers we call leg-humpers....keep underachieving sport......you mutts are good at that.

GTroller
GTroller

@Dawg^2

Excellent observations, especially about the out of state students and lack of a loyal following.  You are correct.  GT is all about the academics, and couldn't care less about athletics.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Underachieving but STILL head and shoulders above your football program for decades.

Doesn't say much for you.

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

Add note: Mark - I don't see anything wrong with CPJ's contract.  In fact I think we've got at a bargain.  CPJ is the PERFECT coach for Georgia Tech.  Oh by the way...we'll be back in the New Year's Six mix soon enough.  Deal with it!  Thanks.

LongBeachJacket
LongBeachJacket

To early to tell the fiull story here.  It's never as good or as bad as it seems (to paraphrase CPJ).  For the money paid to be the AD at Georgia Tech ($675,000 annual salary)...we ought to be able to find a darn good AD who has his (or her) "hair on fire" every day to make Georgia Tech the very best.  I thought DRad had that kind of passion.  MBob seemed to lack a bit in that department..although I'm sure he did some good things.  Turn the page.  Go Jackets!

DawgNole
DawgNole

Well, that didn't last long.

GT can do better than this guy, and I hope they will.

StillBill
StillBill

Everyone knows the GT AD job is a huge challenge.  Too bad Bobinski wasn't up to it.

Stinger2
Stinger2

Will someone who knows share the reason(s) Paul Johnson`s contract is ":bad".

GTBob
GTBob

@Stinger2 Mark Bradley doesn't like CPJ so the fact that he has a contract is bad. 

rallo
rallo

Mark Price for AD!

jpherd
jpherd

Constant turnover in positions of leadership is no formula for success.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I'm glad he gave CPJ the extension......good coach and he graduates players.

GTBob
GTBob

Bobinski's legacy:

- Poor relationship with donors

- Awful contract extension for Gregory

- Tried to fire Gregory after the 2014-2015 season and couldn't raise the money to do so because of the awful contract extension he gave him.

- Finally fired Gregory and then had a train wreck of a coaching search.

- Tried to strong arm CPJ in contract negotiations leading to unhappy donors, and an even worse contract after CPJ had a successful end to the season.

The only potential saving grace to his legacy is if Pastner ends up being successful.

khd713
khd713

@GTBob Your analysis is pretty much spot-on with mine. Every move he made was either the wrong one or bungled somehow. It was pretty obvious he didn't get along well with CPJ (does anyone?), and that's never a good environment in the athletic department. Johnson's recent comments in the media seem to be a venting of sorts about Bobinsky's term. Time will tell on Pastner, but there's no question the search was a mess, and I just have a hard time believing this guy can lead Tech back to the glory days. Bobinsky was always a straight shooter and a good interview, I'll give him that, but it's hard to say the Tech athletic program is any better off three years after his arrival, and probably easier to say it's worse.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

DRad never answered my emails; MBob did.  As far as getting rid of his "publicists," Dean Buchan was a total loser, so MBob did Tech a favor getting rid of him.

EHouse
EHouse

@SupersizeThatOrder-mutt I can attest that DRad did answer emails that I sent.  And he regularly communicated with the fan base by email newsletters.

Weirwood
Weirwood

Buh-bye, Bobinski, enjoy Indiana

#neverreallyknewyou