GA Tech's 11-Day Plan to Getting a Good Head Coach

OK, folks, we are now 8 days removed from Dorrell's release.  We've all heard talk of interviews this week for the Better-than-Last-Time-Three (i.e. Chow, Leach and Mariucci, the "BLT3"), with Chow supposedly getting interviewed or offered yesterday, Leach allegedly coming in today, and Mariucci purportedly coming in tomorrow.  

I have advocated and still do advocate patience by all of us with regard to the coaching search.  No point in us panicking until we know something solid to panic about.

With that in mind, however, I have to say I respect what Georgia Tech did in their efforts to replace former coach Chan Gailey.  According to GT's own fishwrap, ie, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, GT underwent a systematic, methodical, but still expedited recruiting and interviewing process in only 11 days.  

While their list of candidates doesn't really mesh with ours that much, it is interesting to see who they DID interview for the job:

Through interviews with several people involved in the process, the Journal-Constitution has learned that Georgia Tech interviewed eight men for the job:

Kentucky offensive coordinator Joker Phillips Connecticut coach Randy Edsall

Charlie Strong, Florida's co-defensive coordinator

Georgia Southern coach Chris Hatcher

Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta

Former Colorado and Washington coach Rick Neuheisel

Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden

Johnson, the coach at Navy

Georgia Tech interviewed two minority candidates, Strong and Phillips.

Only Johnson, who was hired on Friday, received a second interview.

In other words, their available pool of EIGHT candidates, in addition to eclipsing the Bob Field Three ("BF3") of Dorrell, Riley, and Robinson by sheer numbers, also surpassed the BF3 in terms of quality.  Essentially, the GA Tech 8 ("GT8") was composed of:

(a)  2 Mid-Level Bowl Head Coaches (Johnson, Edsall).

(b)  1 Lower-Division Head Coach (Hatcher).

(c)  2 BCS Conference-level coordinators (Phillips (OC), Strong (co-DC)), both of whom were minority candidates.

(d)  1 one of their current coordinators (Tenuta, DC).

(e)  2 former Div. I Head Coaches (Bowden and Neuheisel).

Granted, not necessarily all the same guys WE would want, but a fairly good mix of experience, with nods to local ties and national names.

Now the basic timeline (with bracketed info added by me) reads like this:

[DAY 0] Monday, Nov. 26: After six years, with a record of 44-32 overall and 0-6 against Georgia, Chan Gailey is dismissed as the coach at Georgia Tech. Athletics director Dan Radakovich says he will hire a coach to bring a new sense of energy and excitement to the program.

[DAY 3]Thursday, Nov. 29: The Georgia Tech search committee, which consists of Radakovich, associate athletics director Wayne Hogan and Dan Parker of the Parker Executive Search Firm, begins its interviews. At the Westin Hotel near Jackson-Hartsfield International Airport, the committee meets with Phillips and Edsall.

So, before the week is out, GT was meeting with a coach prepping for a bowl and another OC.  Fast work.

[DAY 4]Friday, Nov. 30: Also at the Westin Hotel, the search committee meets with Strong, Hatcher and Tenuta.

Whoa... huh?  FIVE guys.  TWO days of interviews.  Not freaking bad.

[DAY 5]Saturday, Dec. 1: Because it is championship Saturday, no interviews are conducted. ...

Because, apparently, in the Southeast U.S., the Sabbath is a day of rest AND of football. Who knew?

[DAY 6]Sunday, Dec. 2: The search committee holds its first meeting with Johnson at the Westin Hotel. Neuheisel and Bowden also are interviewed. Edsall tells reporters at the annual team banquet that he will be staying at Connecticut.

Back to efficient, shuttle-them-in-and-out-of-the-conference-room interviews, with arguably the 3 biggest names on the list... less than one week after Gailey's termination.

[DAY 7]Monday, Dec. 3: In Baltimore, Johnson meets with Duke President Richard Broadhead, athletics director Joe Alleva and executive vice president Tallman Trask about the school's opening at head coach.

So, on OUR Day ZERO (i.e. KD's release), a BN favorite is already getting at least his SECOND sit-down with another school.  

[DAY 8]Tuesday, Dec. 4: Strong receives a phone call informing him that anybody being brought back for a second interview at Georgia Tech would have head coaching experience. ... Johnson and Jack Reale, his Atlanta-based agent, fly to Dallas to discuss the SMU opening. After the interview, both men fly to Atlanta.

OK, so it's clear that GA Tech is at least publicly going for prior HC-experience, as we would all hope UCLA will do. In any event, Johnson is by this point on his THIRD interview.  Dude gets around.

[DAY 9]Wednesday, Dec. 5: Johnson meets on campus with Radakovich, Hogan and President Wayne Clough. After the meeting, Johnson flies back to Annapolis knowing that he has three job offers: Georgia Tech, SMU and Duke.

NINE days.  THREE offers.  Meanwhile, the smoke is still clearing in the Morgan Center.

[DAY 10]Thursday, Dec. 6:  ...Late in the morning, [Johnson] meets with Navy athletics director Chet Gladchuk. That meeting ends just before noon... Gladchuk meets with school officials to determine what Navy will be able to do to keep Johnson. ...
[DAY 11] Friday, Dec. 7: Johnson arrives at his office at Ricketts Hall at about 8:15 a.m. At about 9 o'clock, he calls Radakovich and tells him of his intention to come to Georgia Tech. Shortly after that, Johnson gets on the elevator and goes to the basement floor of Ricketts Hall to tell Gladchuk of his decision. ... After meeting with Gladchuk, Johnson goes back to his office, signs the letter of agreement to become Georgia Tech's next coach and faxes it to Radakovich at about 10:30 a.m. ... At 11:45 a.m. Johnson meets with his Navy team and delivers the news. He is going to Georgia Tech and will not be their coach for the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 20. ...

ELEVEN DAYS.  Not even a fortnight, folks.  Eleven days.  

I freely acknowledge that we have different concerns than GA Tech.  We're looking at different names.  We have different standards.  Fine.  

Nevertheless, I hope DG is simply playing things REALLY close to the vest, and that the reason we haven't heard much about bigger names and salary offers is not because of any lack of urgency, or lack of resources, but rather due to a good old-fashioned lack of LEAKS.

Until I hear concrete news otherwise, I will have faith that DG will get us, not a FIRST-TIME head coach, not an ABOUT-TIME head coach, not a MARKING-TIME head coach, but A GOOD HEAD COACH in place by Day 21 of the Post-KD Era.

What a present that would be for the Bruins Nation... just in time for Christmas.

M

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