Oddly enough (or perhaps not so oddly), Todd Stansbury was the template for a bit of journalism committed by this perpetrator last month. Here, it was suggested, are the sort of questions a football-first athletic director might ask Paul Johnson, who coaches Georgia Tech’s football team.
At 10 a.m. today, Todd Stansbury will be introduced as Georgia Tech’s AD. Fancy that.
About Stansbury: He played at Tech under Bill Curry and the famous defensive coordinator Don Lindsey; worked at Tech in athletic administration; was the AD at Central Florida before George O’Leary’s program began to unravel and has spent the past year at Oregon State. Some among Tech’s Old Guard were furious that the search committee seeking a replacement for Dan Radakovich didn’t pursue Stansbury, opting for Mike Bobinski of non-football Xavier instead. Those alums will feel better now, seeing that Stansbury is himself an alum.
“I’ve always felt a Tech AD should have gold in his blood,” the Atlanta entrepreneur Taz Anderson, who was a co-captain under Bobby Dodd, told me last month. Stansbury fits that bill, and he’s a football guy to boot. Meaning: He shouldn’t be cowed by the force of Johnson’s considerable personality.
Tech plays Clemson tonight. The Yellow Jackets might well up and win. (Johnson’s a good big-game coach.) If that happens and this team goes on to win nine or 10 games, the sting of last season’s 3-9 will be diminished if not quite forgotten. ADs tend to love their football coaches so long as they win big. It’s when they don’t that there’s an issue.
Had the 2014 Jackets not gone 11-3 and won the Orange Bowl after four middling seasons, Bobinski would have had a hard choice to make regarding Johnson. As we know, Bobinski deferred the much easier choice of what to do with basketball coach Brian Gregory from 2015 until this spring. As it was, that AD wound up extending Johnson’s contract through 2020, which seemed a overreaction when it happened.
I can’t imagine that a Tech grad wants to come here and lock horns with an established Tech coach. But I would expect a football man who has known firsthand the rigors of Tech academics to view Johnson in a different light than either Radakovich, who hired the man and saw him win big immediately, or Bobinski, who never seemed to know what to make of him. This could get interesting.