Bobby Cremins to Retire as Tech Basketball Coach

Cremins’ Statement Comments from Around the ACC What the Fans Are Saying

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The Cremins Ledger

ATLANTA – (Feb. 18) Longtime Georgia Tech head basketball coach Bobby Cremins announced his retirement from college coaching Friday afternoon, signaling an end to the most successful era in Georgia Tech basketball history.

Cremins, in his 19th season at Tech and his 25th as a head coach, will step down at the end of the 1999-2000 season, in which the Jackets currently have a record of 11-13 overall and 3-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Georgia Tech Athletic Association decided Wednesday to buy out the remaining three years of Cremins’ contract, which would have carried through the 2002-2003 season.

Cremins thrust Georgia Tech into the national basketball picture with a long line of great players, beginning with Mark Price and John Salley in the early 1980’s, and continued with Duane Ferrell, Tom Hammonds, Dennis Scott, Brian Oliver, Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury and Matt Harpring.

Along the way, the 52-year-old native of the Bronx, N.Y., became the Rambling Wreck’s all-time winningest coach during the 1995-96 season. His record at Georgia Tech currently is 352-233 (.602), and he moved into third place among all ACC coaches in victories earlier this season when the Yellow Jackets defeated Florida State on Jan. 19. His overall mark is 452-303 (.599) in 24-plus seasons as a head coach.

“Bobby Cremins is synonymous with Georgia Tech basketball,” said Tech director of athletics Dave Braine. “If it weren’t for the success of our basketball program from the mid 1980’s through the early 1990’s, it would have been hard to keep our athletics program afloat.

“But Bobby has made this decision and feels it is time to make this change.

“We’re very appreciative of Bobby’s 19 years of service and dedication to Georgia Tech. People across the country are going to miss seeing the famous man with the silver hair moving about our sideline during basketball season, as will we. Everybody knows Bobby Cremins. Nobody will ever truly take his place.”

Tech president Dr. G. Wayne Clough has appointed a search committee to find a new head basketball coach, and the search will begin immediately, Braine said, “but we will have no other announcement until a new head coach has been hired.”

Said Clough, “Bobby Cremins has been the embodiment of Georgia Tech basketball to fans and followers across the nation. When he accepted the job from then-AD Homer Rice in 1983, he took on the challenge of leading a lowly Georgia Tech basketball program into the nation’s top basketball conference. Nobody expected much, but he showed we could win, win big and win with class.

“He will go down in Tech history as one of the greatest coaches ever to jump up and down on the sidelines of the Coliseum. He will also go down in ACC history, along with Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, and Frank McGuire. That’s pretty impressive company.”

Cremins has guided Tech to 14 winning seasons and 14 postseason berths in his 19 years. Among the many miracles he has helped to bring about are three ACC tournament titles, one ACC regular-season title and a share of another, a Final Four appearance, and four recent victories over teams ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Not the least of his accomplishments is the mere fact that the Rambling Wreck came to be regarded, year in and year out, as one of the nation’s elite and most well-known collegiate basketball programs after taking over a squad in 1981-82 which went 4-23 the year before.

In the Institute’s entire history, only 11 of its teams have been invited to the NCAA Tournament. Cremins coached 10 of them, five of them into the Sweet 16.

In 14 of the last 17 seasons under Cremins, the Jackets found themselves in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, and Tech actually received an additional NIT invitation in 1995 but declined. He has coached seven of the 10 Tech teams that have won 20 or more games.

Cremins’ three ACC championships are surpassed by only four coaches in ACC history and only by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski among current head coaches. Tech’s string of nine consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances was the nation’s fourth-longest active streak when it ended in 1994.

Under Cremins, Tech had six all-Americas, 23 all-ACC players and eight ACC “Rookie of the Year” honorees. In 1990-91, point guard Kenny Anderson became only the second consensus first-team all-America in Tech history along with Roger Kaiser in 1961.

Twenty of Cremins’ former players have gone onto play in the National Basketball Association. Dion Glover’s selection as the 20th pick in the 1999 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks marked the 11th of Cremins’ players to be drafted in the first round since 1986. Other first-round picks include Brook Steppe (by Kansas City in 1983), Salley (by Detroit in 1986), Hammonds (by Washington in 1989, now with Minnesota), Dennis Scott (by Orlando in 1990, now with New York), Anderson (by New Jersey in 1991, now with Boston), Jon Barry (by Boston in 1992, now with Sacramento), Malcolm Mackey (by Phoenix in 1993), Travis Best (by Indiana in 1994), Marbury (Milwaukee in 1996, now with New Jersey) and Harpring (by Orlando in 1998).

Cremins’ success and reputation extended beyond the borders of the United States. His assignment in 1996 as an assistant to Atlanta Hawks’ coach Lenny Wilkens on the coaching staff for the USA team in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Games was his third tour of duty for USA Basketball. In 1986 he assisted Arizona’s Lute Olsen in coaching the U.S. World University Games team to its first-ever gold medal. And, during the summer of 1989, he coached a U.S. squad to qualification for the 1990 World Championships.

He was always regarded as one of the nation’s best recruiters, cemented by the fact that he has signed three players tabbed by recruiting services at No. 1 in their respective classes in Dennis Scott (1987), Kenny Anderson (1989) and Stephon Marbury (1995).

Cremins assumed the head coaching position at Georgia Tech on April 14, 1981, with Tech coming off a disastrous 4-23 season, winless in the ACC, and amidst the prevailing belief that the Rambling Wreck could never compete on an equal footing with its ACC brethren.

But it took Cremins less than 48 months to guide Tech to the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference and a berth in the Final Eight in the 1985 NCAA Tournament.

The white-haired Cremins accomplished far more than just creating a winning basketball program from one that had become moribund. He turned on the city of Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the entire region to college basketball and particularly to his Rambling Wreck club.

He first burst onto the national scene in 1985, when Tech captured its first ACC Tournament championship and a share of first place in the regular season while recording the most wins (27-8) in school history. Tech advanced to the “Elite Eight” of the NCAA Tournament and Cremins earned his second ACC “Coach of the Year” honor.

His first came in 1983, his second season at Tech, when the Jackets finished 13-15 and won their first ACC Tournament game.

Tech’s 1989-90 team solidified Cremins’ reputation as one of America’s best coaches as the Jackets compiled a 28-7 record, the most wins in school history, en route to their first NCAA Final Four. For his efforts that season, Cremins was named as the national “Coach of the Year” by the Naismith Awards program. It marked the second time in his career that Cremins won national coaching honors.

Cremins’ third ACC championship in 1993 was an improbable victory as the Yellow Jackets, led by sophomores James Forrest and Travis Best and freshman Drew Barry, became just the fourth No. 6 seed in league history to capture the ACC Tournament title.

In 1995-96, after a two-year absence from the NCAA Tournament, Cremins guided an extremely young team back to the promised land of the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 while playing the toughest schedule in the nation according to the RPI rankings. That team was led by the stellar freshman Marbury, who moved to the NBA after one season.

In doing so, Cremins was named Atlantic Coast Conference “Coach of the Year” for the third time in his career as Tech posted a 24-12 record. The Jackets captured the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title with a school-record 13-3 ACC mark and came within a whisker of Tech’s fourth ACC Tournament championship.

After graduating from South Carolina in 1970, Cremins spent one year playing professional basketball in Ecuador before beginning his collegiate coaching career at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1971. He returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach to Frank McGuire in 1972.

After a two-year stint at USC, Cremins, born on July 4, 1947, was chosen to build the Appalachian State program-becoming the youngest Division I head coach in the NCAA at age 27. After a first year mark of 13-14, the Mountaineers posted a five-year record of 87-56, a 60-percent winning mark, while capturing three Southern Conference titles. His 1978-79 team registered a 23-6 mark and an NCAA bid while his 1980-81 squad was 20-9.

Cremins graduated from South Carolina in 1970 with a B.S. degree in Marketing. He received the M.S. degree in Guidance and Counseling in 1972, also from USC. He was a three-year starter at point guard, leading the Gamecocks to some of their most successful seasons and a 61-17 record in three seasons.

He and his wife Carolyn have three children: Liz, Suzie, and Bobby, III.

The Cremins Ledger

Naismith National Coach of the Year, 1990
ACC Coach of the Year, 1983, 1985, 1996

 Year School Record Conf. Post-Season 1975-76 Appalachian State 13-14 6-6/5th 1976-77 Appalachian State 17-12 8-4/3rd 1977-78 Appalachian State 15-13 9-3/1st 1978-79 Appalachian State 23-6 11-3/1st SC Champs, NCAA 1979-80 Appalachian State 12-16 6-10/T6th 1980-81 Appalachian State 20-9 11-5/T1st 1981-82 Georgia Tech 10-16 3-11/8th 1982-83 Georgia Tech 13-15 4-10/6th 1983-84 Georgia Tech 18-11 6-8/T5th NIT 1984-85 Georgia Tech 27-8 9-5/T1st ACC Champs; NCAA Final 8 1985-86 Georgia Tech 27-7 11-3/2nd NCAA Sweet 16 1986-87 Georgia Tech 16-13 7-7/5th NCAA 1987-88 Georgia Tech 22-10 8-6/4th NCAA Final 32 1988-89 Georgia Tech 20-12 8-6/5th NCAA 1989-90 Georgia Tech 28-7 8-6/T3rd ACC Champs; NCAA Final Four 1990-91 Georgia Tech 17-13 6-8/T5th NCAA Final 32 1991-92 Georgia Tech 23-12 8-8/T4th NCAA Sweet 16 1992-93 Georgia Tech 19-11 8-8/6th ACC Champion; NCAA 1993-94 Georgia Tech 16-13 7-9/6th NIT 1994-95 Georgia Tech 18-12 8-8/5th 1995-96 Georgia Tech 24-12 13-3/1st NCAA Sweet 16 1996-97 Georgia Tech 9-18 3-13/9th - 1997-98 Georgia Tech 19-14 6-10/6th NIT Quarterfinals 1998-99 Georgia Tech 15-16 6-10/T-5th NIT 

OverallRecord: 441-290 (.604), 24 years
Record at Tech: 341-220 (.608), 18 years

THE CREMINS FILE
Full Name:
Robert Joseph Cremins, Jr.
Born: July 4, 1947 in the Bronx, N.Y.
Education: All Hallows High School, Bronx, N.Y.; University of South Carolina (B.S. Marketing, 1970; M.S. Guidance and Counseling, 1972)

Playing Experience: Three-time starter at point guard at South Carolina (1968-70). One year of professional basketball in Ecuador (1970-71)

College Coaching: Point Park College, Pittsburgh, Pa., Assistant Coach, one year (1971-72); South Carolina, Assistant Coach, two years (1972-74); Appalachian State, Head Coach, six years (1975-81); Georgia Tech, Head Coach, 18 years (1981-Present)

Joined Tech Staff: April 14, 1981
Family: Wife Carolyn; children Liz, Suzie and Bobby, III


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