Will Hewitt Follow Braine Out the Door?

NC State hosts Georgia Tech today in the RBC Center today at noon, but there is a lot more going on in Atlanta than just a game today.

We discussed GT Athletics Director, Dave Braine’s retirement earlier in the week, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Jeff Schultz weighs in with some interesting Hewitt-related thoughts today.

Some excerpts:

Regardless of what you think of Chan Gailey in general or his contract in particular, regardless of how you perceive the seemingly re-circulating disenchantment within the Georgia Tech fan base, there are at least two favorable things that can be said of athletics director Dave Braine: He hired Paul Hewitt and he has kept Paul Hewitt.

Now that Braine has announced what Hewitt has known for “a month, maybe two� — that the Tech athletics director is retiring because of health issues — it’s logical to wonder if the basketball coach will soon follow him out the door.

Understand something: The relationship between a coach and athletics director in today’s college atmosphere might be even more vital than a coach and his superiors in the professional ranks. Academic issues are forever evolving. A university’s priorities are forever changing. Presidents are taking an increasingly active role in athletics. The athletics director can’t just be a cushion and a fundraiser, particularly at a place like Tech. He needs to be fluent in politics — in two languages, academics and athletics.

And understand this: Paul Hewitt has two escape clauses in his current contract, which runs for another 5 1/2 seasons. One is fairly typical — he can leave for an NBA job without being subject to a buyout. One is fairly atypical — he can leave within two years of Braine’s exit. So start the clock.

Now, a coach can have an ironclad, no-escape contract signed in vampire blood and it wouldn’t make a difference. Contracts are broken every day, particularly by college coaches. They demand loyalty from recruits and boosters, then weasel out of rollover contracts and jump across the street for a raise. Go figure. Really, all escape clauses do is make it cheaper for a guy to leave.

…Just guessing here. The question is not whether Hewitt leaves Tech, but when. The timing depends largely on his next boss. A coach doesn’t just put a potential get-me-out-of-Dodge clause in his contract unless it’s a significant concern.

At Georgia Tech, there are always issues, usually revolving around academics. Most recently, Yellow Jackets senior Theodis Tarver was declared ineligible by the school, even though he remained above the NCAA bar. Tarver’s mother died recently. But Tech faculty isn’t big on extenuating circumstances.

If you’re Hewitt, how much do you put up with?

General NCS Basketball

10 Responses to Will Hewitt Follow Braine Out the Door?

  1. class of '74 01/14/2006 at 10:25 AM #

    This would be a huge blow to GT IMO. Hewitt has done a good job and has some good talent lined up for the next couple of years. Turnover is almost always fatal in the short run to any program. Bad for GT but possibly good for Herb. From the LF school of we’ll be better because they’ll be worse line of thinking.

  2. Rick Jernigan 01/14/2006 at 10:37 AM #

    Interesting – working is Tech’s favor is Thaddeus Young and Jarvaris Crittenton. If Young could declare for draft this year, he would be a top five pick. Crittenton is a future NBA level player in the Jack mold. Add these guys to the team coming back and they are looking very strong.

    I love Hewitt. He is the total package. He authored one of my favorite quotes ever from an ACC coach, something like “We’ve not here to just give Duke & Carolina somebody to play”. Tech is a very good bball job but they do have a pretty difficult road in the ACC. Between the ACC & the NBA, someone is likely to come calling. Tech will have to do a great job to keep him.

  3. VaWolf82 01/14/2006 at 11:13 AM #

    Mixed in the pretty much mindless speculation was the interesting point that Hewitt can bail out if he doesn’t like his new boss. Depending on the president’s view of Hewitt, the next AD hire at GT has all sorts of interesting dynamics involved. It’s not often that a prospective manager has to receive the approval of his soon-to-be-employee.

  4. Jeff 01/14/2006 at 2:48 PM #

    “Turnover is almost always fatal in the short run to any program.”

    I’m not being argumentative. I’m just curious as to what statistical evidence on which you base this presumption?

    It sounds real good, and a lot of people just believe it to be true…but, I don’t have any real reason to believe it.

    At NC State, we were immediately better when Herb Sendek took over for Les Robinson. We are also immediately better when Chuck Amato took over for Mike O’Cain.

    At Wake Forest, they were immediately better when Skip Prosser took over for Dave Odom and when Jim Grobe took over for Jim Caldwell.

    At Carolina, they were immediately better when Roy Williams took over for Matt Doherty and when John Bunting took over for Carl Torbush.

    Duke has gotten no worse in football under Carl Franks than before.

    You say that turnover is almost always fatal to programs in the short run… yet every local recent example indicates that the complete opposite is true.

  5. class of '74 01/15/2006 at 11:17 AM #

    ^ I don’t think Herb turned it around overnight as most posters here seem to confirm. As to Roy and Doh, Roy’s first year wasn’t stellar but he certainly has my admiration as a great one and the second year well enough said.

    But to the point, I think whether it is sports or business turnover is not viewed as a positive. You sight some good examples for your contention but what about the many others that I can site suchas: Drisell to Wade; Tacy to Staak; Valvano to Robinson: Jones to Gillen; Barnes to Shyack; Waters to McGheay; Kennedy to Robinson. These are just a few in the ACC I can recall. I’m sure if I pondered longer I could come up with another 100 or so examples.

  6. Jeff 01/15/2006 at 11:32 AM #

    ^Even if every example in the world did not “turn it around over night”…and just maintained the status quo (which we know was unsuccessful or the program wouldn’t have been making a move)…then they would be significantly outperforming the characterstic of “fatal in the short term”.

  7. class of '74 01/15/2006 at 11:34 AM #

    ^Should’ve been Barnes to Shayatt

  8. class of '74 01/15/2006 at 11:40 AM #

    ^I’d take issue with turnover without improvement isn’t fatal. The costs for that program become unsustainable.

  9. Mr. O 01/16/2006 at 9:09 AM #

    Turnover doesn’t always mean you are going to improve. Doherty didn’t do so hot. Steve Robinson did worse than Pat Kennedy. Coaches at Clemson don’t usually make much of a difference. Gillen’s tenure wasn’t an improvement over Jeff Jones. Jeff Jones wasn’t an improvement over Terry Holland.

    Sometimes turnover works in your favor. Sometimes it doesn’t. The determining factor is always who you hire.

    Would Wake turning over Prosser be a good thing for their program?

  10. class of '74 01/16/2006 at 9:43 AM #

    ^The answer is who you get as the replacement, exactly.

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